Friday 2 February 2018

#432 A scheduled departure

I met Sarah four months ago on a dark Friday night in Clapham. Her warmth, positivity and competence gave me faith in her ability to get the best out of the people she worked with. I decided to entrust her with the task of mentoring me in my search for a new direction.

Participating in the initial exploratory exercises that Sarah proposed was both fun and frustrating. Fun because I was dedicating time to figuring out the sorts of things I liked. Frustrating because I already had some idea what those things were and at this stage, I wasn't yet getting any closer to figuring out their commercial utility.

During the course of my sessions with Sarah, life in the outside world moved on like it always does. My housemates at the time had been becoming more noisy for a while and it had reached a point where my lack of sleep was compromising my ability to complete the exercises or do much else for that matter.

I spent November in an exhausted, irritable state and almost every day of that month was dedicated to looking for flat shares, arranging viewings and meeting occupants. In early December, I found a small room in East Dulwich. To make the move fast and simple, I spent a week selling many of my possessions and giving away others.

At the time of the house hunt, I had been getting more concerned about my finances, which were plentiful but diminishing. I therefore decided that once I'd moved, I would pick up some temp work. I'd been volunteering in a marketing team at a small charity for about a month by that point and it occurred to me that it might be possible to do something like that on a paid basis.

Over Christmas, I brought my focus back to the second phase of exercises that Sarah had set. I took some tests and built up a detailed picture of the sixty qualities that I'd personally like to find in my ideal occupation. I represented the qualities in the form of images, each with a narrative, collectively organised into a diagram. I think it might have been sixty-one qualities, actually.

In January, I set out to assess the likelihood of being able to use an agency to find work similar to what I was doing for the charity. I carried out thorough research on the recruitment landscape across the thirty-seven agencies that I'd identified as ones that potentially dealt with the type of job I had in mind, out of a starting list of approximately eighty. I met with some and it became clear that the type of job I wanted did indeed exist but that it was fairly rare and might still take months to secure.

In mid-January, I turned my attention towards other roles, browsing the pages of agencies who already had my CV. I found a job taking university lecture notes for disabled students, which seemed fun. At the end of January, my application for the note-taker job was pretty much there, they were just checking my references. I'd progressed through the first two of Sarah's five phases of exercises and was just starting out on the third.

A part of me would have liked to continue with the exercises, however my intention had been to see Sarah for no longer than three months. It had become four because I'd spent November moving. I felt good about starting the note-taking job and was looking forward to restoring my cash flow while I continued to research other areas of interest.

During our last meeting, I agreed to send Sarah a plan, together with some thoughts on what I could do if I ever felt directionless again. I asked if I could resume the sessions at a later date if I wanted to. She said that would be OK. I wasn't sure what the demand was like for services like hers. From my own search, it seemed like a competitive field.

Then again I'd spoken to two friends who were considering career shifts in the last week alone. There was no shortage of people who were thinking of changing jobs but weren't exactly sure what to do next. I'd enjoyed discovering what areas interested me most and getting used to thinking more systematically about how to get into them. If my friends needed assistance, I'd know where to send them.


Fizzfan said...

I wish I had some of your skills for identifying things you like connected to jobs and work.
I have to list my ‘Goals’ every 6 months at work. I hate it and know it’s an utter waste of not only my time, but the companies as well.
If you multiply the time it takes for me to cobble together a load of words that soothe our managers, which I presume ‘prove’ it’s all worth it, when I know it’s utterly useless in any real sense, by the total number of employees that feel exactly the same way as me (which is practically everyone I’ve ever worked with) that’s a lot of time, and time is money.
I just wish someone could explain to me why I have to explain my goals when I have none other getting through the day as enjoyably as possible given the restraints of my circumstances.
What makes it worse is that all the managers know it’s a load of bollocks (my last managers words) but it just has to be done.
WHY! That’s all I want to know. WHY!!!
Anyway I’ve had a rubbish day at work. All our teams have been split up and ‘reorganised’ and we’re all pissed off.
I have no idea what it’s achieved but I’m assuming it looks good on the managers reports.
Change for changes sake.

More got the note taking job?! Fantastic!!!
Hope it suits you and puts your great writing skills to good use.

Profound Familiarity said...

Skills? Pah! I don't know about that but back at PwC we took a "StrengthsFinder 2.0" test, which you can find online although I think it costs about a tenner. Then of course the career coach helped to sharpen things up.

It sounds like you're being treated like cattle over there. I hope you're stealing plenty of pens Fizz. You're definitely not alone in having to jump through hoops when it comes to things like goal-setting. Are your managers at least pretty accepting of whatever you write or do they ever challenge you about it?

The note taking job... I need to give them some documents as proof of address. I don't actually have any apart from my lodger agreement and a mobile phone bill, neither of which are what they're asking for but hopefully there's a way around it.