LIFE LESSONS · TWENTY SOMETHINGS

40 Questions with Human Resources Assistant and Harry Potter Obsessive Bethany Freeman


I find myself reluctant to ask the people in my life if I can interrogate them a little on their lives. – Even people I’ve known for years. There’s still a sense of being a little nosy, rude even.

They’re not particularly intrusive questions like “how many people did you date last year?”, they’re more along the lines of “what’s your favourite book?” and “what do you love about your work?”.  

I suppose asking anything to do with a person’s life and the way they choose to live it is rather personal, so I guess it’s normal that I often feel apprehensive before I start my “So you know I have this blog, well I was wondering if I might ask you some questions…” speech.

This weekend my good friend Beth came over to visit.

I’ve known Beth since we were around 14 and didn’t feel quite so nervous asking if I could pick her brains on a few topics.

Because of our surnames we were sat near to each other in all Science and English classes, so we had many opportunities to get to know each other. We even formed a small revision group with other friends and would go to each other’s houses to revise our Biology/Chemistry/Physics. (We took our education very seriously. – Even if on pretty much all occasions we’d end up playing sardines or just sat round eating).

We made up raps and songs to help with our learning- including one “Lord of the Flies” (the novel by William Golding) song.

Beth and I also have a Valentines-Day-Card tradition going back seven years. – Something that makes me smile is that on a day dedicated to couples, we choose to celebrate our everlasting friendship… (and slightly taking the piss out of Valentines Day). 

Beth’s a pretty awesome woman. (We here at The Colourful Kind only interview the most Colourful people so…enter Beth.) 

She studied History at The University of Kent, graduating with a 2:1, then went to Thailand for two months to teach. Now living and working in London as a Human Resources assistant at a law firm, she also has weekly German lessons and tutors an A-Level Student in History as part of The Access Project, a scheme helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds get into university.

1.) How would your friends describe you in three words?

Weird. Early – I’m very punctual as a friend most of the time.
I don’t know you’re my friend how would you describe me?!… A good person..

2.) What does your typical day look like?

I get up at 7:40, and I leave the house at 8:30. Start work at 9:15, then it can vary what I do, have lunch around 1pm, if I leave on time which I haven’t been able to do for a long time I leave at 5:15/530, go home, have dinner watch TV with the housemates. Netflix in bed.

3.) Do you have a morning or evening routine? 

I’m very set with my timings, it annoys me if my housemates don’t abide by the schedule, we have times for bathroom usage.

I won’t have my morning snack until 10:30.

I always come in from work, put my hair up in a scrunchie, take my watch off, I always obey hair wash night, (every other day).

4.) What are some of your day to day tasks?

I write references, I run reports on turn over, sickness, process new joiners, do the inductions, background checks, I have all the HR teams records.

5.) What do you enjoy about your work?

THE TEAM, the people make the job.

6.) What are some of the challenges?

Unrealistic expectations from senior people, mostly lawyers, thee are lots of challenges, people doing stupid things and HR have to deal with it..

7.) What sorts of things do you do in the evenings? 

Well recently impromptu wine celebrations with managers, I seem to always be out having wine with managers…

8.) What do you do at the weekend?

So last weekend I went with a friend to the Sunken Egypt exhibition at the British Museum, which showed entire cities they’d found underground which was really cool.
Markets, pub, cinema, chilling and sometimes going away – I went to the Oktoberfest in Munich which was great.

9.) Who are your biggest inspirations?

Michele Obama, JK Rowling, Mary Berry – (the Queen).

My Mum because she juggled having two kids and a full time job, commuting over 20 hours a week for 18 years of her life and is now big boss lady and is doing really well for herself and I’m really proud of her.

10.) If you could travel to any time or place where and when would it be?

I would go back to the Tudor times but only for a bit as it was horrible.

11.) Biggest pet peeve about other people?

Slow walking

12.) What is your proudest achievement? 

My dissertation I was really proud of, I got a first in my dissertation.

When I went to Thailand I was there for two months and I didn’t know anyone else that was going.

13.) How do you want to be remembered? 

I think I got this from a film but…

“As someone that did more good than bad.” 

14.) What is your dream career?

I like working in HR, I would like to work in a different industry, I’d like to work in TV and film, it’s really hard and it’s a really different environment to where I work now, things are done to a different standard, I think I’d find it really interesting.

15.) What are you doing to work towards this dream?

I’m always on the look out for different opportunities. It’s very niche, it’s rare to find these opportunities.

16.) Any advice for people going into HR? 

You’ve got to be open minded, you’ve got to be friendly and you’ve also got to be very disciplined. You don’t need to know a lot about it at the start but as long as you ask the right questions then you’ll keep learning and you’ll get there.

17.) What’s something you tell yourself to stay positive?

Just breathe, because commuting is one of the most stressful things you ever have to do, people walking slowly, people not having their ticket ready before the barrier when there are like 1000 people behind you, it makes me so angry.

18.) Advice you’d give to your 15 year old self? 

Things are never as bad as you think they are, when you’re a teenager you think everything’s so much worse than it is.

19.) When are you happiest?

That’s tricky because I like being by myself in bed watching TV or snuggled up but I also like a chilled setting like with friends in a bar. I’m not one for a big party…

Maia’s jokes make me happy!

20.) One of the happiest days of your life?

On my 21st birthday me, my Mum, Dad, Laura, Jake and Ems went to Chessington World of Adventures. It was pissing it down with rain, it was miserable but we just had such a good day, then we went to TGI Fridays, it was a great day.

21.) What are three things you took from your University experience? 

I know a lot more about Elizabeth I than when I first started!

I can navigate around Rutherford which is impossible if you’ve never been to Kent, it was designed by someone who used to design prisons..well that was the rumour.

All my lovely History gals, we still meet up.

22.) The three best things about living in London?

Dogs in unusual places like dogs on the tube or in a pub. Seeing a dog makes my day. I was on my way to work one morning after having breakfast out, and we passed these two sausage dogs and I was really happy, so I must have said something loud and the owner looked round to laugh at me, and then I saw he had a French bulldog in his bag..

The public transport most of the time is pretty good.

The history, I like the history of London.

23.) Any bad habits you’re currently working on?

I’m trying not to bite my nails.

24.) What is one thing you’ve learnt from your parents that you’ll carry with you all your life?

I think what my Dad inherited from my Nan was just to be a nice person. My Nan was always such a nice person she’d find something good in everyone she met, she was a beautiful woman and she had such a hard life. My Dad is just so mellow and a pacifist, there’s not a mean bone in his body, I don’t think I’m like that but I’d like to be like that.

25.) What is your perfect day?

I need a lie in for a start, I like the sleep, I need to be somewhere warm so some Caribbean island would be great, I need a pool I need a lot of factor 50, I’d just read by the pool in the sun with some cocktails, maybe some friends if they were there that’d be alright, go out for dinner.. and just chill.

26.) What are three things you couldn’t live without? 

My phone, lipstick and Harry Potter.

27.) People you’d most like to meet?

JK Rowling, Mary Berry, someone historical

28.) What are three things you’d change about the world?

Ignorance, being stupid, stupid people make me angry.

I want Donald trump to have a fatal accident.

Can I undo Brexit.

29.) Favourite books?

Harry Potter all the way, all of them.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

30.) How many times have you read all the Harry Potter books?
Oh countless.

31.) Favourite Holiday? 

Mexico

32.) Favourite TV shows and films?

I’m excited about the Crown, I watch QI to fall asleep.

Jurassic park is up there, Titanic, Apollo 13, normally I just watch a shitty rom-com or Disney films.

33.) If you had £1,000,000 what would you do with it?

House, holiday, pay off my parents mortgages.

34.) Three things you’d like to say you did before you die?

Get married!

I would like to travel more, I want to go to Australia.

Something food related… eat in a Michelin star restaurant.

35.) What is your favourite school memory? 

Science raps about cell mutations and lord of the flies with my good friend Angela Garwood!!

36.) What is your fondest memory of childhood?

We used to play restaurants a lot and made our own menus on Microsoft Word.

We’d have remote control cars and set up these little roads out of videos and have them going through the lounge and the hallway.. you’d have to navigate without knocking the videos down. My dad would work from home and have to try and get to the kitchen without knocking roads down..

37.) What did you learn yesterday?

That some people are too stupid to go through a McDonalds drive through…

38.) What did you want to be when you were little? 

A Popstar before I realised I couldn’t sing.

39.) What is one thing you love about yourself? 

I think I’m good at getting on with people, I try hard.

40.) What is happiness? 

When you’re content and with people you love.

 

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