By October 11, 2012 Read More →

Unusual home working jobs – the Olympic Games Maker

I was a London 2012 Games Maker – by Catherine Raynor

Work from Home Wisdom - the Olympic Games makerBack in early 2005 there was something called the Back the Bid campaign [says Catherine Raynor, the Games Maker shown on the left of the picture]. In it London set out its stall for its Olympic bid. London 2012 would regenerate a part of London many haven’t even heard of, sport would be played against a backdrop of world famous landmarks, Britain would party and Britain would be proud. Sound familiar?

Back the Bid also called for an “army of volunteers”. It promised that 70,000 people would have “one of the most rewarding experiences of your lives”. The campaign needed people to sign up to be a volunteer right then, to prove to the decision-makers that if London won the bid the volunteers would be there. I signed up!

I was never one of the cynical ones who thought the Games would be a waste of money. Ever since I was 11 years old when a very rainy holiday in Cornwall resulted in some prolonged viewing of the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, I have loved watching these events. I knew that if there was any chance of London getting the Games I wanted to be part of it.

Fast forward five years to autumn 2010 and the deadline for filling in the application is fast approaching. It asks how much time you can commit. By now I have resigned from my fulltime job and I am about to embark on freelance life. ‘I will be my own boss’, I think. ‘I will not be bound by holiday allowances.’ I tick the box that says 10+ days, for the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

So, 2012 rolls around. I’ve had my interview and although I don’t yet know whether I have a role as a Games Maker I have to plan my year on the assumption that potentially there will be some twenty days where I will not be earning. It took a bit of juggling of client work and finances and there was a lot of hard work at the start of the year getting the money in to cover the summer, but it’s this sort of flexibility that I love about being self-employed. The opportunity to be opportunistic!

And the planning was worthwhile because in April my shifts were confirmed. I was a Games Maker in the Mixed Zone. The Mixed Zone is where the athletes do their media interviews directly after they have come off the field of play. At the Olympic Games I worked in the Fencing and Taekwondo arena at Excel and for the Paralympic Games I was a Games Maker in the Aquatics Centre.

So, was it one of the experiences of my life? Absolutely! Suddenly I loved the slightly garish uniform that I balked at when I collected it in May. Every day I soaked up the atmosphere and excitement of the thousands of spectators, my spine tingled as I listened to the crowds roar Team GB home and my heart went out to athletes who came into the Mixed Zone in tears because they hadn’t achieved what they hoped.

At the end of our volunteering we were presented with a relay baton and a thank you message from Seb Coe saying that a relay baton is a symbol of teamwork and trust. I think that for every single Games Maker it will be a symbol of much more.

Catherine Raynor is a freelance charity communications consultant who helps charities raise their profile by telling stories that bring their work to life. She is also the inventor of the disappearing home office desk!

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14 Comments on "Unusual home working jobs – the Olympic Games Maker"

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  1. What an incredible summer to be a part of. I loved every minute of the Olympics and Paralymics and the Games Makers were all brilliant and also made London 2012 what it was. Thanks for sharing your experience Catherine from the other side.

  2. Catherine Raynor says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Melanie (the Games and the blog!).

    • Tracey says:

      Hi Catherine, I was also a GamesMaker based as the Excel as part of the Transport Workforce Team – I had just left my job after 23 years and was moving from the south to Cumbria to start a new life. This was my first challenge after leaving work and the experience really set me up for the next phase of my life. It is something I will never do again, but owe so much to what it did for me and so proud to have been part of it. Tracey

  3. Catherine Raynor says:

    That’s so good to hear Tracey! I will be back at Excel in a few weeks as I have tix for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. Thinking of wearing my Games Maker tshirt for old time’s sake!!