I’m only working 4 days a week and I am enjoying my Fridays.  That may change in a few months and at this time, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about that.[ad#ad-1]

I would definitely miss having an extra day off, especially to take care of business that can’t be done on the weekends. Part-time working has been much more attractive than I expected.  The pay is OK.  It doesn’t leave much for extras, and that may become an issue in the future.  On the other hand, the decrease in stress is welcoming.

I finally had time to read part of a newspaper today; although the paper is from several days ago.  It appears that the government is trying to make businesses offer their full-time positions to job sharers and part-timers.  There’s been criticism that although it is good for working parents to have that flexibility, the recession is not the time to introduce such measures.  There were several points mentioned in the article that I find fault with.

The first one, which irritates me many times when it is mentioned, is the pay differential.  I’m not a true “feminist”, but I don’t think it’s right that men and women are paid differently.  I can understand if the pay appropriately reflects their skills or responsibilities, but studies have shown that is not the case.  Some might argue that women are not put into higher positions and are fighting for more women at the top.  My stance on that is “May the best man/woman win” and I don’t like affirmative action just for equality – that is not true “equal opportunity”.

The second point about the pay differential that irritates me when it is reported, is that the journalist goes for sensationalism and does not make a good comparison.  For example, was it necessary to report on the difference between a part-time working woman with a full-time working man?  Why not compare part-time woman (man) to full-time woman (man), or full-time woman to full-time man?  That would really show the difference in income between working part-time vs. full-time, or between a woman and man working equal hours.

And I will apologise for causing offence, but I do get annoyed when critics bring up the point of pay and promotion.  I don’t know the inside track on every company, but there is a broad generalisation that women are not promoted as quickly as men.  I agree that may be true.  But when critics bring up the point that part-time working women are overlooked for promotions and they want laws to protect these women from discrimination, it does make my blood boil.

If you’re looking to work part-time, isn’t it because you want fewer hours, thus less responsibility?  Perhaps, it’s because you want more family time.  Whatever the case, you’re looking for less stress.  So, why would you want to be promoted to a higher position with more pay and more responsiblity?  If you’re expecting higher payer with higher responsibilities, and you’re willing to put more time into it, then fine.  I know women who work part-time in higher positions, but they don’t work strictly 9-5.  Plus, they are on committees, which meet outside of their work hours.  They may have other occasional duties that require them to be present for a whole week at a time.  All fine and dandy.  But, if you suddenly allow someone to dictate their own hours and still expect promotion and higher pay, you are really throwing a spanner in the works.

Britain was once branded as “a nation of shopkeepers”.  Unfortunately, that image has slowly disintegrated, and very recently, the destruction of the small shop has become so commonplace.[ad#ad-1]

As an American, I do find it convenient to shop for everything in one place. But the quaintness of the small family-owned shops is so essentially British that I hate to see that institution dying.

When we made up our minds to move here, we thought we’d like to support these small shops. Unfortunately, with the recession, it has been difficult.  We live in an out-of-the-way spot, where there are no small shops, so it’s easiest to go to the nearest grocery store for everything.  Also, it’s the big shops that can offer special deals, and when money is tight, it’s the driving force.

But, there are other shops that are closing down due to competition, not from major retail chains, but from charity shops.  And this makes it even sadder.  I have seen four small bookshops close recently in towns nearby.  I love books, but I especially love the old, used ones.  And two of those bookshops sold used books.  Unfortunately, the charity shops have taken business away from these stores, making it harder for them to compete against the big names, like WH Smith or Waterstone’s.

Though I shouldn’t rant on charity shops, I can’t help it.  These charity stores are unlike the thrift stores in the US.  Of course, they do whatever it takes to make money for their charities, but I can’t help wondering how much of their money actually goes to benefit the charity, and how much goes to pay the executives, etc.  In addition, some of their pricing is more like a discount boutique.  They even strive to look like one.

There is a charity bookshop that we shop at.  We support it because the pricing is very good – not inflated like the charity boutiques.  Also, they don’t appear to trash anything.  The boutiques only like to display books that look new.  Then there are charity stores that aim to look like antique stores, so their pricing also reflects that.

So, yes, I bemoan the fate of the family-run bookshops that face competition from two sides.  I have noticed also that some of the clothing shops are ready to go the same route.  It won’t be long before the little baker’s and butcher’s will face that fate (though they can’t blame charity stores for their demise).

We have a timeshare in Orlando that we have been trying to sell for over a year now.  Of course, the recession doesn’t help, but timeshares are notorious for not retaining their value.  More people are trying to sell them than there are buyers.  Makes you wonder, then, how some resorts manage to rope people into their resorts when private sellers can’t get rid of their property fast enough.[ad#ad-1]

I’m sure other Britons have the same issues with timeshares, whether in the UK or internationally.  Timeshares are not “bad”, they’re just not for us.  We have a wonderful 2bed/2bath condo that can accommodate 8, is extremely spacious, overlooks a lake and Disney beyond.  We can see the fireworks display from our balcony.  The kids loved it.  In fact, Buppa doesn’t want to give it up.  But, we didn’t use it last year – partly because we were moving.  And partly because we’d rather not sit around a swimming pool all day, or go out to the beach.

Now, the last time we used it, we went to a wonderful dinner show and horseback riding.  But we’d rather that the resort can offer those things to us for free.  We had to drive into or out of town for these events.  Of course, at that time, the resort was starting up with plans to build a waterpark for the free use of the owners (whereas, guests had to pay an entry fee).

We’ve (the adult portion) learned that we’d rather spend our holiday camping out or doing outdoorsy stuff.  We also didn’t like the heat and humidity – very appealing to some, but not good for me.  Had we been of a different disposition, we might consider holding onto the timeshare.  Everyone in my family has a timeshare somewhere.  But it is just not part of our lifestyle, so we’d like to sell it and get some money back.[ad#ad-1]

I just wish there was an easy way to sell it without getting ripped off and scammed left, right and center.  So, if anyone is interested in a timeshare, please let me know before you accept any deals directly from the resorts.  (Oh, by the way, the week is perfect for holidays whether you’re in the US or UK – August.)