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Work is Responsive
Episode 611th April 2022 • Working Hours • Western Studios, Leeds Ltd
00:00:00 01:09:12

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Luke Aylward recorded 19/01/2022

Luke Aylward is the Communications and Network Officer and Autism Information Officer for The Advonet Group, a Leeds-based advocacy charity. He has worked with them for over five-and-a-half years. He is autistic and has, like many others, spent the majority of the pandemic working from home.

Luke produced resources to help people manage during the pandemic. In the past year or two, Luke has put together self-advocacy tools and planners to help people have their voice heard and their rights upheld, as well as setting out a new routine to adjust to the 'new normal'.

We discuss the autism employment gap (only one in six autistic adults are in full-time paid roles), the challenges of being a Comms lead for a third sector group and keeping abreast of changes in lockdown rules as well as getting used to a different commute as lockdown eased.

For more information go to https://advonet.org.uk/

Follow Leeds Autism AIM

https://www.facebook.com/leedsautismaim

https://twitter.com/leedsautismAIM

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxksiG8FvQNRkbbcB4_IrkA

Transcripts

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[00:00:02] Working Hours: What is happening?

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[00:00:05] Working Hours: A show about a place called Leeds, a time called now and an activity called work.

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[00:00:25] Working Hours: My name is Simon and this is all my fault.

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[00:00:32] Luke: So at first I wanted to be an architect, um, because I was really interested in how buildings looked and how they were laid out, but I realized that I couldn't draw. So, I looked at other things and realized I quite enjoyed writing and watching the news as a kid.

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[00:01:15] Working Hours: So yeah. So did the journalism degree help then, in the end?

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[00:01:39] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:01:46] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:01:52] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:01:54] Working Hours: You're listening to series three, episode six and my guest, Luke Aylward.

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[00:02:00] Working Hours: Recorded on the 19th of January, 2022.

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[00:02:06] Working Hours: Luke Aylward is the Communications and Network Officer and Autism Information Officer for the Advonet Group a Leeds based advocacy charity. He has worked with them for over five and a half years. He is autistic and has like many others spent the majority of the pandemic working from home.

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[00:02:28] Working Hours: So what is it that you're, you're doing now then?

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[00:02:41] Working Hours: Mhm,

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[00:02:45] Luke: I'm also the Information Officer for their Leeds Autism AIM service, and for a little bit of the week, I'm also Information Officer for their new, Yorkshire Autism AIM project, which is similar, but, uh, does a few different things.

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[00:03:08] Working Hours: Yeah. So all in one week. So, uh, how, how did you get into that? Like, um, I mean, which, which role did you take on first?

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[00:03:35] Luke: I was interested in volunteering because you know, I wasn't feeling too fulfilled in my role, you know, was looking at, I was thinking about quitting every other day,

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[00:03:43] Luke: Thought maybe volunteering would help, you know, make my life a bit better. And, you know, being able to help others who are less fortunate than myself.

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[00:04:13] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:04:29] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:04:39] Luke: So, um, you know, just as AIM was starting to get noticed, um, sort of around the, Autumn of 2015, I decided to quit my job with the digital marketing agency because I was, I wasn't, like I said before, I was unhappy and fancied giving, uh, freelance content work ago.

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[00:05:02] Luke: In freelancing I had more time to focus on the volunteering side. At the time had also become Vice Chair of a charity called Leeds Asperger Adults, um, you know, which, which is led by autistic adults.

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[00:05:22] Luke: And I was also a given, you know, a bit of um, you know, some sessional, sessional work with a, you know, to do things like newsletters and posters and what have you, and run their Facebook page.

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[00:05:36] Luke: And even set up a Twitter account. And I think that's what led to me, um, being offered a part-time role with AIM, which I gladly accepted because it was regular income.

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[00:05:49] Luke: So, um, you know, as well as doing sessional work for AIM, you know, uh, they really liked it. And, uh, when a vacancy came up, you know, because I think a bit more funding was in place for the service, um, they offered me the role of Information Officer, which was initially for eight hours a week and, you know, ‘cause it was regular income and it was a chance to do what I like for a living. Doing something good. I accepted it

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[00:06:17] Luke: Um, from there it snowballs into 15 hours when, uh, one of my colleagues left, um, for another role, um, which meant I was able to do more things like help run groups and...

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[00:06:27] Luke: And um, our, uh, drop-in club and, you know, you know, create more resources, um, you know, I thought, you know, I'm happy with this.

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[00:06:42] Working Hours: So when you were doing the freelancing, like how did you do that? Did you have to set yourself up as a sole trader or become a company or something, or you would just, how did you organize it?

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[00:07:18] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:07:26] Luke: So it's, content that uh, you know, that basically just, you know, have links to, um, brands' websites in, you know, using keywords and key phrases. You know, I did all I could to make the, you know, readers authent, you know, read authentically, you know, and, you know, they worked, you know, because I'd, I had quite a bit of experience doing that sort of stuff.

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[00:08:00] Luke: So, uh, the Communications and Network Officer role that was advertised internally in early 2018, this was after, you know, the, the ADVONET group the charity I work for was, um, you know, awarded a new five-year contract to deliver, um, certain advocacy services in Leeds and as part of a new contract, they offered 25 hours a week for a Communications Officer.

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[00:08:47] Luke: And you know, I think I've done all right.

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[00:09:09] Working Hours: How much are you doing the same stuff now, as you were before in the job that you didn't like, are you, is it just that you're, you now feel those skills are more meaningfully applied or are you getting to do different things?

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[00:09:31] Luke: I'd certainly say I have more autonomy because I'm the only person that does communications work, as the main part of their role. And I'm also able to do more things than just write content. I'm looking after the website, I'm looking after, all the social media accounts. Uh, producing some internal communications stuff.

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[00:10:08] Luke: You know, I'm using tools I've never use, never thought I'd use before, like Event Bright and Mail Chimp, you know, and I've gained, you know, even, you know, in the past couple of years I've been editing videos and as well, you know, even, you know, delivering internal training for, you know, how things like, how to use Twitter and more recently how to use WordPress and Mail Chimp. You know, to give more people skills, you know, in case, you know, I... In case, you know, I either leave my job or if I'm off sick, you know?

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[00:10:39] Working Hours: Sounds like you're kind of learning and adding new skills with this role because you need to sort of go into new avenues and cover new areas. So you sort of, are you getting more skills through doing this then than you were previously?

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[00:11:00] Working Hours: Um,

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[00:11:21] Working Hours: What are the things that you enjoy about the role that you're doing now?

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[00:11:32] Luke: So, um, one example of that is updating our, uh, our website. Um, we, uh, recently, uh, you know, um, redesigned it, you know, working with an agency based in Bradford. They've done a really good job with it. Making sure it's more accessible, that it's easier to make a referral to our service. Having, uh, things like news and social media, more visible, making sure all the content on each page, uh, pages for each service reads well, it's, you know, that's, that's been quite good.

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[00:12:36] Luke: And I suppose helping, um, helping some of my colleagues to, you know, build skills themselves, whether it's, you know, if we're using tools or, you know, learning how to, um, use technology like Teams and Zoom.

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[00:13:06] Luke: And that proved to be really useful. Um, so, you know. I'd show up, you know, whenever people had a question, you know, I'd answer it and say, you know, this is how you can set up a, start a chat. This is how you can make a file shareable. This is where the Wiki is, you know, helping people to help themselves.

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[00:13:30] Luke: Oh yeah.

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[00:13:48] Working Hours: Are you, you sort of back to normal or has work been permanently changed?

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[00:14:03] Luke: Um, I mean, fortunately, you know, um, I worked from home before doing freelance, doing my freelance content work. That helped to set me up for when I was asked to work from home.

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[00:14:23] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:14:42] Luke: You know, choose whether or not to have the lights on or the curtains up. you know, I don't have to commute, you know, which is a big plus because the commute, you know, before, the commute, um, you know, when I first started took, you know, when the lock, you know, uh, at the time of the first lockdown would take maybe an hour each way from where I lived in Leeds, uh, to, to our office at the, our office at the Unity Business Centre at the bottom of Roundhay Road. Since, well, middle of last year, I actually moved to, uh, have actually moved to Bradford and the commute, does take a lot longer. Um, the last time I went to the office, which was nearly two months ago, um, it took me three and a half hours there and back.

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[00:15:29] Working Hours: That's a long time.

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[00:15:35] Working Hours: Um,

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[00:15:39] Working Hours: I mean, how do you find, like working from home, how do you find that sort of separation do you find, uh, I mean, do you have a separate space to work in or are you? You're just working, living is all in the same space?

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[00:16:07] Luke: Um, I don't have any problems separating work from home. You know, I know when I'm meant to start, I know when I'm meant to finish,

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[00:16:21] Luke: It depends on how much I've got to do, um.

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[00:16:23] Luke: It's not too busy, you know, I'll work my normal hours, but sometimes, you know, it's just I want to get stuff done I might work a little over my normal hours. Or, you know, if I've got a group I'm running, uh, in my AIM work, in my Autism AIM work, I will take those hours.

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[00:16:48] Working Hours: Were you doing a lot more work, was there were a lot less work because everything was cancelled or was it loads of work, cancelling everything? Like how, how did it go? And has it evened out now, or is it, you know, sort of more or less work now than it was before?

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[00:17:15] Luke: And, quite a few big pieces of work were, you know, started around, you know, not long after, you know, lock down began. Uh, one of which was to create a, a toolkit of resources for, for, for our Leeds Autism AIM service. And these are like self-advocacy tools, you know, things that people could use to plan. You know, plan routines and, you know, communicate their needs and all sorts of things like that.

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[00:18:18] Working Hours: Yeah. I suppose, you know, initially because the information, well, I mean the information is always changing all the time, but you know, writing and rewriting advice, so that probably would have been a lot of work initially.

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[00:19:02] Working Hours: Should we go a little bit into autism then, and sort of like how it affects you, how it affects your role, how it plays into what you're doing and, and how it would affect other people and what you're doing to kind of help alleviate any of those detrimental effects?

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[00:19:24] Luke: And, you know, I do experience things like sensory overload and information overload. So if um, I can feel a bit, you know, stressed or anxious if I get a glut of emails from, from colleagues, you know, in the space of like 10, 15 minutes.

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[00:19:54] Luke: Um, uh, what else? I mean, um, you know, and there are times, you know, when, um, you know, I want to be left alone to do, left to my own devices to, you know, get on with the job and when I'm getting, you know, a message on Teams or an email or something like that, you know, that can be quite distracting.

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[00:20:36] Luke: I have an ability to think, an ability to think creatively and, you know, for example, when I'm, you know, working on thinking of, you know, new resources, we can use to help clients. So, you know, I think back to the start off the pandemic, you know, the, uh, weekly planner I did for AIM, you know, the daily planner as well.

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[00:21:01] Luke: I like to think of myself as fairly organized, so when I'm in work anyway, and that's helped me to, you know, do things like set out, you know, um, what sort of tasks I need to do every week, you know, I do a weekly checklist, um, you know, every Sunday of things I'm meant to do.

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[00:21:36] Working Hours: Let's talk first about how it's affected your work in terms of, did you, did you have a diagnosis of being autistic before you started work or while you were in work?

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[00:21:47] Working Hours: Right. So before you started work?

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[00:22:07] Working Hours: Um

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[00:22:13] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:22:37] Working Hours: One in six is incredibly low

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[00:23:02] Luke: Yeah, it's easier for them to work. If you're in work, you know, trying to get reasonable adjustments, isn't, isn't the easiest thing in the world. Uh, whether it's trying to access, get funding for access, to work, to, you know, fund things like, uh, online tools and, you know, ergonomic equipment, noise-cancelling headphones.

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[00:23:21] Luke: In my old job with the dig, the digital agency, you know, um, I asked uh, if I could maybe work one day a week from home because I found working in an open plan office space really overloading.

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[00:23:35] Luke: The phones would go off constantly. You know, quite a few of my colleagues were, were, well they still are, quite loud.

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[00:23:43] Luke: You know, when people talk, a load of the people talking at once and, you know, phones are going off, people walking behind me constantly.

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[00:23:50] Luke: I just really struggled to cope with that. So, you know, I asked if I could work a day a week, a day a week at home. That was politely turned down. And you know, there weren't many, uh, quiet spaces to work in, in that office? Um...

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[00:24:03] Luke: You know; I've had some experience of that myself

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[00:24:22] Working Hours: I mean, do you think that's the major thing that puts off businesses is that they feel that they have to spend extra on the employee of, you know, making reasonable adjustments? Or?

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[00:24:47] Luke: Um, other reasons. Um, let's think, I mean, um,

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[00:25:12] Luke: They just need to make adjustments to ensure that, you know, if you know, the autistic person that wants to work for them or has applied for that job or applied for any of their vacancies, you know, and is able to do that job. Make those adjustments. You know, ask the person, you know, ask the person, you know, what adjustments they'd like. You know, if possible help out with, you know, access, getting access to work funding or, you know, maybe setting up a quiet space.

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[00:25:45] Luke: And, uh, there is actually a quiet room where, you know, where, you know, there's dimmable lighting and blinds like that, you know, shut so, you know, it doesn't let any, you know, it doesn't let any natural light in it. You know, autistic staff can work in. That's the area of the office I've been working in, you know, since, you know, I started going back into the office, um, last summer.

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[00:26:31] Luke: I don't think they've decided yet. I mean, there's been this week, we've actually been talking about, you know, um, you know, when it's safe to go into the office. You know, something's going to be emailed to all staff next week I believe. It's actually interesting you brought that question up because, um, uh, the Chief Executive Philip, he rang me this, this afternoon asking, you know, how comfortable I was with going into the office?

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[00:26:54] Luke: I said, you know, it might, you know, infection rates go down and, you know, it might be that I'm feel more comfortable in going, but you know, I'm going to give it maybe till the end of the next month. See, what's, see what's what, and if it's safe, you know, I'll go maybe go in once a week.

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[00:27:15] Working Hours: Are you running any face to vent, face events... I'll say that again. Are you running any face-to-face events at the moment?

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[00:27:48] Luke: That's difficult to do that if, um, you know, if you've got COVID.

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[00:27:53] Luke: I haven't done any face to face, uh, work personally since the start of the pandemic, um, that's because a lot of my work can be done remotely. In fact, all my work can.

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[00:28:07] Luke: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. It's riskier for me to go into the office than it is for most of, most of my colleagues.

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[00:28:32] Luke: Um, yeah, it hasn't affected my role too much, but it has affected, um, some of the people we work with. Quite a few of our clients who access our community advocacy service, which is, um, you know, single issue thing, a single issue subjects like, uh, accessing services, benefits, housing, um, making complaints.

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[00:29:30] Luke: And, you know, also the issue of, issue of, um, you know, their rights, you know, their rights to, you know, live and work in the country and, you know, make a life here. Have they changed? And...

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[00:29:59] Working Hours: But like you, you, don't. Obviously it's a situation where things are changing a lot, which can be like a sensory overload of like, I don't know what to think. What's, what's happening minute to minute. I mean, that's going to be a difficult thing to kind of communicate out to an au,, you know, to an autistic audience of, who want the information, but don't want to be overwhelmed. Have I said that in an okay way?

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[00:30:26] Luke: I think so. Um, yeah, so, um, yeah, in terms of like, you know, presenting information, um, so it was making sure it's in a, in an accessible format helps. Um, so on the ADVONET group website, we've got a translation tool that translates into, you know, a number of community languages, you know, including some of those I've mentioned, you know, Czech Slovak, uh, Romanian, French, Italian and Hungarian.

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[00:31:24] Luke: For autistic people, we try to use clear, concise language. You know, there were some principles for, you know, all, all audiences are trying to follow. Um, so for example, on a website, you know, if I'm writing a blog post, I'd make sure not to use more than four lines per paragraph and no more than 20 line, 20 words per sentence.

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[00:31:59] Working Hours: Okay, so let's go on to climate change. So in terms of, um, climate change, what, what are the, what can you do in your work and what is your work already doing to sort of tackle it or reduce your impact or to do something else?

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[00:32:34] Luke: Um, because you know, we're doing most of our stuff online, you know, it's just, you know, creating PDF online versions instead. I know that uses electricity, but it doesn't use paper and ink as well. So, you know, that's one thing we're doing. Um, I suppose in work, you know, because most people working from home, they're not using, you know, the lights or, you know, any other sort of electric, any sort of electrical outlets to charge the laptops up as much.

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[00:33:03] Luke: I think other things we've looked at doing include, you know, maybe encouraging car shares and, you know, um, maybe... I don't think there's much else we've done, but, um. You know, it's something, you know, that, um, something that we're looking at. And

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[00:33:20] Luke: I think quite a few, quite a few of my colleagues are keen for us to do more and, you know,

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[00:33:25] Luke: Reduce printing, you know, recycle more, which we, we, we do, we do have a green bin in the office

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[00:33:31] Luke: You know, for all recyclables. So paper, card, uh, you know, uh, pop cans, you know, empty cans of pop.

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[00:33:54] Luke: Um, I haven't done any press releases about, around, around climate change yet.

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[00:33:58] Luke: Um, I know um, a lot of my colleagues, you know, me and a lot of my colleagues, you know, we're doing, you know, we're trying to, uh, sort of use as lit, uh, only print, only print when necessary.

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[00:34:12] Luke: Um, you know, maybe look at changing to a greener printer, uh, uh, you know, that uses less, that uses less ink.

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[00:34:45] Luke: Um, I would still work if I got UBI. It depends how much the UBI is for, if it's like able to like cope completely cover the cost of my cost of living, which I'm guessing it wouldn't.

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[00:35:17] Luke: Um, I probably still would work because, you know, I, you know, I want to keep busy you know I want a lot to do and suppose working in the third sector, you know, I'm doing something that's actually useful. Helping some of my colleagues to do useful work, you know, passing information on to their, to their clients and, you know, running online groups to help reduce isolation.

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[00:36:00] Working Hours: Would you try and balance out the amount of time that you give to each a bit more maybe, or do you think that'd change?

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[00:36:17] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:36:26] Working Hours: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, have you had any previous opportunity to kind of experiment with your work day and your work times, like sort of what your optimal working is and how many days and how many days off and have you had much chance with that?

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[00:36:49] Working Hours: With the freelance stuff?

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[00:36:59] Luke: So...

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[00:36:59] Working Hours: Go on, sorry.

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[00:37:17] Working Hours: Mm. But do you think you end up volunteering on something else then and then taking something else on? Or?

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[00:37:25] Luke: Um, I mean, one idea I've had was, is to set up a social group for autistic adults in the Bradford area.

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[00:37:32] Luke: Um, because there's nothing like that that's available for free. And there is, you know, there is service called Specialist Autism Services at Work, you know, in the district to, um, you know, do run groups, but in order to access them, you'd have to, uh, you know, get, uh, funding through your GP.

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[00:37:58] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:38:14] Working Hours: Yeah. Cool. Um, all right, so I'll do the change questions then we'll do social media. Um, so if there were, so if you could change any three things about your work and this can be any, or all of your roles, uh, what three things would you change?

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[00:38:41] Luke: Um, you know, some of my colleagues won't understand, you know, what I've said, you know? And

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[00:38:47] Luke: Plus I really don't like emailing people about, you know, what's going on, you know, all the time.

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[00:38:57] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:39:02] Luke: I don't know what else I'd change maybe, maybe fewer meetings, because in one of the teams I'm in, we have meetings every week, whereas, um, the other, the other, well the other team I'm in, um, you know, it's only like once a month.

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[00:39:32] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:39:42] Luke: Or, you know, um, something else, something else that, um, something else like maybe, you know, maybe preparing for a group.

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[00:39:52] Working Hours: Um, I mean, it's a, is there, is it the kind of role where you have to squeeze everything into the hours that you've go or are there enough hours in the day to do everything?

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[00:40:07] Working Hours: Yeah. Yeah, but that's comms work as well as well isn't it ‘cause you've always got some deadline for a press release or something...

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[00:40:25] Working Hours: Um, so yeah. Do you have to do all your own social media work? Are you doing everything social media for the roles that you're doing or are other people helping, how does it, how does it work?

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[00:41:03] Luke: But, uh, other, other parts of the service, like, uh, LEEP 1, which is a, uh, People First group for adults with learning disabilities and Asking You, which is another sort of work sort of learning disability focus service, they're run by people in those teams.

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[00:41:44] Working Hours: Um, well you need that feedback, don't you? To see what's working and it's kind of all you've got really.

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[00:42:09] Working Hours: How do people find out about all the companies?

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[00:42:13] Working Hours: Yeah, ADVONET group.

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[00:42:33] Luke: Uh, to join you must be an autistic adult, who's in Leeds, who's also LGBTQI plus. Um, and it's delivered by people from that community.

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[00:43:04] Luke: That's led by one of my colleagues. Who's also autistic. Um, uh, there's also a co-production group. That's run every month by myself. Uh it's where we look at resources we've made or a part of Leeds Autism AIM's work and we ask people in the group who are autistic, uh, for suggestions on how it can be made better.

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[00:43:39] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:43:44] Working Hours: So, how do people get in touch then? What are, if you can give us the website links. What are the socials? Is there a newsletter?

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[00:43:51] Working Hours: Or any newsletters?

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[00:44:17] Luke: Um, you can find, uh, search for the, ADVONET group on Facebook, and you'll find us there, uh, we're also the ADVONET group on LinkedIn.

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[00:44:31] Working Hours: Uh, so what I will do, uh, are you okay to keep going?

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[00:44:39] Working Hours: Okay, cool. Um, so want to kind of do a bit more, um, sort of bring out more of what you're doing on a day-to-day basis. So the kind of things that you do and the kind of, um, yeah, I mean, what, what is your day-to-day like basically I would imagine that it changes from day to day, or maybe you've got a program of like Mondays is videos, Tuesdays is whatever.

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[00:45:13] Luke: Um, it depends on what hours I'm working, what projects I'm working on that day. But, um, tasks I do, I will, I will do every day is, um, check our socials um, first thing in the morning, see if we've had any, you know, if we've been retweeted or if there's something we've been tagged in, or if there's something worth tweeting or, you know, posting on any of our, any other of our socials, you know, like I would also share something, you know, about what we're doing.

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[00:45:59] Luke: Um, other things I would do is, uh, login to the website and, you know, check, um, how many people viewed it, in the previous 24 hours, if there's any sort of updates need making to it.

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[00:46:10] Luke: Um, you know, some days I would also look, you know, for information to put into our COVID-19 Wiki, you know, through, um, you know, websites like The Government's COVID website,

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[00:46:20] Luke: Anything from Leeds City Council or some of the, uh, third sector networks like Forum Central or Voluntary Action Leeds, you know, is there anything there that might be useful?

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[00:46:46] Luke: There are some days where I can just focus on one task, like make, editing a video, but there are often days where, you know, I get, you know, a few last minute requests from, um, you know, service managers or, you know, the chief executive or my line manager, who's part of a senior management team, to work on a resource or, um,

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[00:47:19] Luke: Um, I would like at least some structure, you know, I'd like to know what I'm meant to be do, what I'm supposed, I like to know what I'm doing, you know, in advance. But...

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[00:47:26] Luke: I generally set aside some time for sort of any sort of ad hoc stuff that needs doing. Um, but you know, if I've got anything, you know, that needs, needs to be done, like, you know, delivering training to, to colleagues or working on a new leaflet or amending, amending bits on the website, you know. I pla, I try and, I try my best to plan that in advance.

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[00:47:50] Luke: So, you know, somewhere in between

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[00:48:06] Luke: It depends on what I'm working on, but if it's a specific service, like, I don't know, health complaints advocacy, I would, um, you know, ask the health complaints, advocacy manager or someone else in that team, you know, what they'd like me to do and...

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[00:48:18] Luke: You know, the guidance. And I'd produce something, send it back to them by email for feedback, and if they've got any changes they can make them or suggest that I make them and I'll make those send it back to them if it's alright it gets, it gets published.

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[00:48:33] Working Hours: Cool. Um, what else do I want to kind of cover?

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[00:49:03] Luke: Um, I do interact with services users sometimes. It's more, more so in, in my AIM role, when I'm running groups, um, or responding to queries about how to join groups or, you know, about things like self-advocacy resources. Um, in the comms role, I only tend to interact with clients if we've got a focus group meeting coming up, sometimes I'm in that, you know, wearing my comms hat, you know, say if it's a resource that, you know, we're looking for feedback on like, you know, the website or a service leaflet or, or a poster.

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[00:49:55] Working Hours: Yeah. Well, otherwise you've just no idea.

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[00:50:12] Working Hours: I would also like to get you to talk about, cause last time we spoke, um, I was listening back in.

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[00:50:30] Luke: Well,

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[00:50:31] Luke: My diagnosis is still Asperger’s. It's not,

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[00:50:35] Luke: Um, at the time, uh, you know, if you're, you know, if you are seen as "high-functioning", which, you know, is a, quite an offensive label. Cause you know, there are always times when you're functioning and when you're not functioning.

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[00:50:59] Working Hours: So is it, what, it's all come in to one sort of umbrella?

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[00:51:06] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:51:08] Working Hours: So is, so is that more that they've just said that this is on a spectrum rather than, I mean, what have they changed there, did they have a discrete separate, kind of, this is Asperger's and this is autism?

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[00:51:26] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:51:41] Luke: Um, but, um, that was something called the Diagnostic Services Manual. Um, uh, they decided to do away with the Asperger's, to get rid of the Asperger's, eventually get rid of the Asperger's label.

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[00:52:06] Luke: No, actually I think it was a bit longer than that.

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[00:52:13] Luke: I, I just go, but I don't use the label Asperger's I, or, you know, the colloquial, uh, version, Aspy. I just, just say I'm autistic, you know, it's simpler and...

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[00:52:26] Luke: I know, you know, If I'd have been diagnosed today, it would be autism, you know?

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[00:52:41] Working Hours: So, I saw, saw a thing, whether it was basically there was a woman in the UK that they picked, who had done a lot of work, basically around her son and, and had got more autistic people together and said, this diagnosis of autism it's wrong.

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[00:53:14] Luke: I didn't know about that story to, to be honest

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[00:53:30] Luke: Um, you know, some of us, you know, find that we're per, perfectly fine with communicating um, in the normal way, others are nonverbal, you know, because, uh, you know, for a variety of reasons. Some are okay and like, masking which is where, you know, pretending to be, you're trying to hide the fact that you're autistic and others find masking incredibly difficult.

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[00:53:58] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:54:04] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:54:14] Working Hours: No, that's fine. Um,

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[00:54:27] Working Hours: I'm going to fill in some blanks later. Um, what am I trying to say here now? I'm not sure I've got anything else. I mean, is there anything that you want to talk about in any kind of specific area? Anything that we've not covered?

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[00:54:52] Working Hours: Mhm. I mean, like, as well maybe, maybe if you covered your, your early experiences and then sort of it be quite nice for you to talk about how you interacted with AIM and how, I mean, did you... if I'm remembering this right, you, you came into contact with other autistic groups in Leeds, through your contacts with AIM and AIM being set up?

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[00:55:23] Luke: Uh, yeah. Well, it's actually through uh, the group I was chair of...

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[00:55:27] Luke: Leeds

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[00:55:27] Luke: Asperger's Adults.

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[00:55:34] Working Hours: So did you set that? Did you set up that group up?

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[00:55:46] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:55:50] Luke: It was back then, back when I first started going, it was kind of, you know, it was like there was very little autistic input into how it was led, how it was run and hosted.

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[00:56:10] Luke: Um, but when I got involved with it again, you know, the people that founded it left and, um, you know, it became a bit more autistic led and through that, you know, I was able to meet other autistic people, you know, and

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[00:56:25] Luke: I felt less isolated that way. And you know,

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[00:56:34] Luke: With other autistic people?

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[00:56:36] Luke: Um, no I'd had interactions in other ways, you know, I'd go, I'd go to things like, uh, you know, go to, uh, events like, uh, you know, book fairs, and

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[00:56:46] Luke: ...activities, um, you know? I met people through that and also met through forums or in Facebook groups.

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[00:57:14] Working Hours: Yeah.

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[00:57:19] Luke: And, you know, over time, you know, I'd make friends, you know, digital, you know, sort of online and, you know, meet some of them in person. And some of the friends that I've met that way through like autistic people's, autistic forums and groups, you know, I'm still in contact with them today.

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[00:57:39] Working Hours: So yeah, so you didn't meet through the groups but sort of coming into that. Uh, coming back into the groups like the, the Asperger's group. Um, that, I mean, it sounds like that was kind of, well, I mean, obviously it was key because of your involvement in that you've then got these other roles, but that seems like it was a key part.

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[00:58:11] Luke: Um, to some extent, but there were a group of us involved in setting it up, so

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[00:58:16] Luke: Wendy, uh, Cork, who is my line manager and currently the ADVONET group's Director of Inclusion Projects, um, she actually approached me, uh, at an event I went to called Autscape in 2013 and told me about this service that would become AIM. I'd met her again, I'd meet her again like the following year, um, at an event in Manchester called the Autism Show and there's like, loads of stalls and talks and what have you. Um, she got in touch with me by email and told me about this, uh, sort of planning meeting for AIM.

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[00:59:06] Working Hours: Mhm.

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[00:59:32] Luke: So, you know, we've been friends for ages, you know?

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[00:59:35] Luke: Um, he might be a good person to interview for your podcast.

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[00:59:40] Luke: He works for the British Library and he's been there for years.

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[00:59:51] Working Hours: So I have some news. I'm going to start using these outros to reflect on work and to give you some background on the project, I'm still going to be verbose and make Uriel on here because that's how I am, but I want this podcast to be and feel.

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[01:00:23] Working Hours: But I know that what I say on the show could be taken by some as a reflection or comments on my guests.

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[01:00:45] Working Hours: And I don't take that lightly. My guests should feel as free as possible to say whatever they know and feel about their own work experience and be able to be honest and open with me. I know there are limits to that and some of those I respect and I think are reasonable. While others, like the mass proliferation of NDAs just shows the weakness of individuals needing income and the disproportionate power of businesses to take over parts of our lives and take our decisions for us.

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[01:01:21] Working Hours: No wonder it's so hard to find guests for the show. So that brings me onto the third point. Professionalism what's professionalism precious?

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[01:01:40] Working Hours: Swearing is a great example, I don't like workplaces where you can't swear, especially if you are doing something stressful, obviously not in front of customers, but even there, some would think nothing of doing that.

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[01:02:08] Working Hours: I want to give my listeners a sense of what's happening day to day and Leeds in 2022.

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[01:02:21] Working Hours: Are we doing what is necessary? Are we using our calories and time on the right things? Are we helping? Are we doing harm?

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[01:02:36] Working Hours: Sorry.

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[01:02:39] Working Hours: So Working Hours is a whole thing and each episode is only a part of the whole picture. It's conceived to be a thousand interviews. These intros weren't even supposed to exist. They weren't planned. Uh, originally I just wanted to drop the listener into a conversation and then give them basically nothing else to work with.

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[01:03:05] Working Hours: Forces, my cowardice, I suppose, being first among them compelled the projects in another direction, but it is its own thing and I need to respect it.

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[01:03:26] Working Hours: The workplace, and this is my workplace, is for discipline, toil, innovation, gossip, and a whole load of other things.

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[01:03:54] Working Hours: And I really like that. And I know there are some people who will also like that. And I just have to have the faith that I can find those people, however, small in number they are.

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[01:04:09] Working Hours: I'm still at work.

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[01:04:25] Working Hours: Conclusion, I will try to operate on the keep it brief side.

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[01:04:35] Working Hours: If you want to know more about that, then come and join me on the Patreon.

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[01:04:50] Working Hours: They might just become really basic, but it's all about the interview. That's the show. The interview. It's Leeds. It's you? You're the show.

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[01:05:12] Working Hours: Email me right now. Right now. Quick, get a pen.

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[01:05:20] Working Hours: Let's arrange some time for us to record your Working Hours interview. If you fancy being my guest, put Guest in the subject of your email and add a short bio and some suggestions of your availability.

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[01:05:49] Working Hours: Cleaner or owner, what is your experience?

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[01:05:52] Working Hours: What do you like and not like?

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[01:05:57] Working Hours: Be a part of local history. Have your voice heard. Share your wisdom. Give us the inside skinny.

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[01:06:03] Working Hours: It's all about what you make of yourself. Do you know what you're doing?

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[01:06:12] Working Hours: Email me right now, get that pen! Working Hours pod at Western hyphen studios.com.

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[01:06:27] Working Hours: What good are you doing the rest of us? Are you socially useful? Am I? Is this?

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[01:06:41] Working Hours: What is happening Leeds.

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[01:06:55] Working Hours: Um, I'm also on Facebook, but I hate it there.

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[01:07:12] Working Hours: If you want to make a podcast in Leeds, whether it's for a, cause a publicity campaign, a product promotion, and or your passion projects, then get in touch with Western Studios for support, advice, and guidance on anything podcasts. At Western Studios, you can work with a real Loiner who is actually in Leeds that you can actually work with on making podcast content.

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[01:07:39] Working Hours: Western Studios can take on your podcasts' admin, recording, editing, transcription, whatever.

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[01:07:45] Working Hours: I really want to hear from other failed screen writers, such as myself to look at making your material as audio content.

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[01:08:03] Working Hours: Got an inkling that you'd like a podcast, but you don't know where to start. Then hit me up at make my podcast at western hyphen studios.com and we'll start making your podcast. The first hour of consultation and preproduction will be free for you. So get in touch and let's have a chat.

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[01:08:25] Working Hours: Once again, please let Working Hours get big and strong by joining its Patreon. Support Working Hours by becoming a Champion on Patreon for a pound a month.

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[01:08:39] Working Hours: Go to Patreon .com forward slash Working Hours pod right now and sign up.

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[01:08:48] Working Hours: Tell your Gran, tell your housekeeper, tell your gardener, tell your parole officer, tell your boss.

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[01:08:55] Working Hours: And I'll see thee next time

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[01:09:04] Working Hours: The music was The Bees from Chopin's Etudes, which is in the public domain and was taken from museopen.org