2014For my first blog post of the New Year, resolutions seemed an appropriate topic. Having given up on the annual process of making and breaking promises to myself I am unable, alas, to share my own with you. Instead, I undertook a small survey of trainees’ (vaguely) work related resolutions and have cobbled together the top six (as said, it was a small survey).
  1. ‘To eat more healthily’ – the reason given was the Friday fish & chips from the canteen downstairs. In its defence, the canteen does serve a variety of hot and cold food, most of which would appear to be healthy. That said, the fish & chips is very good.
  2. ‘To be more proactive and make my resolutions early’ – oh the irony.
  3. ‘To learn my native language of Gujarati’ – now that exams are over for some, there is more spare time to pursue interests other than the ACA qualification. For those with foreign language skills, there are some unexpected opportunities to use your languages; we currently audit the United Nations, so there are numerous exotic locations we audit. For Value for Money (VFM) audit, there is the ‘VFM Language Pool’ which exists as a directory of people with language skills who can be called upon in an ad hoc fashion to help translate documents or draft written pieces in a foreign language. Make sure you sign up if this applies to you!
  4. ‘Not to attempt acrobatics in the office’ – I am aware that this resolution requires some explanation: the office Christmas party has been held for the last two years in the office itself, and to great success. This year the office was transformed back to the 80s, complete with pin ball machines and a ‘Club Tropicana’ bar in the basement. The acrobatics were optional.
  5. ‘To cycle to work’ – I have personal affinity with this resolution as I started cycling to work a couple of months back after two years of making excuses as to why I couldn’t. Problems about changing, washing or storing clothes are not valid as there is a great set of changing rooms with showers and lockers in the basement (not in the Club Tropicana bar). Furthermore the cycle park behind the office is the best I have seen; there is the luxury of a roof to keep two-wheeled vehicles safe and dry. The NAO also offers the Cycle to Work scheme (which allows savings on the cost of a bike) if further encouragement were needed.
  6. ‘To travel more’ – I am not sure if this was intended to be a work related resolution. From my experience, working at the NAO as a trainee can involve a certain amount of travelling although this varies between areas. My most recent trip was to Wiltshire, to an office with direct views over a field of cows. Some people do get sent to less desirous locations, so be careful what you wish for!

Hopefully this rather eclectic mix of promises has given you further insight into life as a trainee at the NAO. Happy 2014!

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