Becoming a 31 year old BABE!

Over the weekend we had an epic road trip from Birmingham to Edinburgh and back!  I’ll write about the trip in more detail because it was so much fun, we love our adventures.

We went to Edinburgh because over the past year I’ve been doing a distant learning degree and it was my graduation.  31 years old and last weekend I graduated, my official qualification is Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Business and Enterprise, I’m a BABE! I had to go to Edinburgh twice per module so I think I went 6 times in total, I missed a couple because I’d only just had Ted! 

As part of my final portfolio I had to write an personal introduction explaining my reasons for taking the course and it’s quite an interesting story so rather than re-wording it I’ll just copy and paste that section… it’s over 1000 words long so here it is, how I became a BABE…



This section is an insight into the author of this portfolio, providing reasons and motivation for completing this degree along with personal anecdotes of my work history and a little information about my personal life. This will be revisited and explored further in section 9, the Final Comments.

Back in 2004, I like many A Level students left sixth form with the intention of studying further at university. I had been accepted into the University of Wolverhampton to study a joint BA in Dance and English. My ambition was to be a secondary school teacher and knowing that dance wasn’t a widely available course at GSCE and A Level, I chose to study English too to allow me to get into teaching more easily. I had achieved an A in GCSE English and B at A Level so it was a strong subject of mine but I was very passionate about dancing and at the time I was taking 5 dance classes per week.

I had another ambition, to be a bar maid! I very much wanted to work in a bar part time to financially support my studies. On A Level results day we went out celebrating (I’m born and bred in Birmingham) to Broad Street, Birmingham’s nightlife hub at the time.

Being slightly intoxicated, I marched up to the bar at my favourite bar and asked if they had any jobs, I was handed an application form which I eagerly filled in and then to my surprise the General Manager approached me for an interview. I was lively and excitable and he really took a liking to me and told me to start on Monday. I was working 3 nights per week and shortly afterwards I started my studies at Wolverhampton. By the following January just a few months in, I found myself hooked on bar work and not really too bothered about my studies. I would often choose work over uni and cover shifts at the drop of a hat knowing I would be tired or late in my lectures the next day.

I worked in an 80s bar, this is Edinburgh’s 80s bar so thought it would be a good photo op! (Yes ollie is too big but he was knackered and Ted is lighter haha!)

By the time the first academic year was over (which I did surprisingly well in – I got top marks on one of my modules!) I was beginning to question if I wanted to go back. My boss at the bar offered me a full time team leader position and I consulted with a colleague who advised me to take it and I always remember what she said, “You can always go back to uni when you’re 30, you might not get this chance again!” So I quit uni and became a full time nightclub supervisor. I was made for that job, a true vocation in my life. Less than two years later, at the age I would have graduated, I was promoted to Assistant Manager and transferred to our sister nightclub a few doors up. I was on a higher salary than the average graduate salary at the time.

Being a knob with the hood. Ollie found me funny anyway.

Just two years later, at the tender age of 23, I was transferred across town to another branch of the club and promoted to General Manager where I was the youngest female manager in the company. I enjoyed seven great years running that nightclub where I won several awards and made the local papers.

Sadly, my club was a leasehold site and in March 2016, the lease expired and the company took the decision not to renew it. The love of my life was no more and I was left wondering what to do next at the age of… 30! So I thought it was the perfect time to go back to uni however at this point I had a mortgage and a little boy so the student life was not for me but the BABE distant learning programme was perfect.

I was engaged at the time of closure and married my soulmate a month later in April 2016, after honeymooning in New York and Las Vegas it was time to focus on my career again.

It did not take me long to find another job, with 12 years in the industry I had built up a lot a contacts and an ex colleague put me in touch with his boss who offered me a General Manager Designate (GMD) position. I was taken as GMD as opposed to GM because my 12 year career was all in nightclubs which means I was l a ‘wet’ manager and had no ‘dry’ experience and so I was taken on as an almost trainee manager to enable me to learn the kitchen management and chef aspects of the industry.

I started this position almost exactly the same time as starting BABE and also, unbeknown to me at the time, at the same time as getting pregnant. Within a month I had a new job, new studies and a new baby on the way!

I spent a couple of months training as a chef and kitchen manager and doing relief management in other pubs before being appointed as General Manager of a suburban local pub a short drive from my home in south Birmingham.

I had the opportunity to live at the pub which I declined due to having a two year old and baby on the way, I didn’t particularly want them living in a pub so young so I allowed my assistant manager to move into the flat and continued to reside locally with my husband and two little boys.

I was appointed in September 2016 and worked until December 2016, leaving work at 39 weeks pregnant and taking a short maternity leave and I returned to work in February 2017 – I was not entitled to company maternity pay or statutory maternity pay due to my short service.

So within the past 12 months I have got married, had a baby boy, started a new job and been promoted and I’m hoping to graduate too. I have a nickname/ alter ego which is ‘Momma Boss’. I am an example of a modern day feminist juggling to have it all!

#MommaBossin at life

I also like to write a blog in my spare time which is entitled ‘Momma Boss’ and it explores my journey of motherhood and management combined. My self taught blogging knowledge has enabled me to be recognised as ‘Social Media Champ’ on our district where I am the ‘go-to’ person for queries relating to the management of our individual pub social media accounts.

This concludes the personal introduction to the author which I hope has provided an insight into my motivations and ambitions as the reader proceeds through this portfolio. The subsequent section will look into the details of the WBL project.

I’ve decided to link this up with Brilliant Bog Posts as this is one of my defining Momma Boss moments!

Brilliant blog posts on

  • Bob Sangwell

    I think you’re amazing, Jo! Congratulations once again, but how come you’re BABE whilst I became a DipEd? When someone shouts BABE at you it must be better than hearing people call you Diphead… x