This wasn’t supposed to happen. My lovely year of abandonment and discovery is now scheduled for truncation on 1 December. That is exactly six months since it began. I have a new job!
Having enjoyed the full benefits and freedom of volunteering since June, I will now be championing and promoting the benefits of volunteering as a paid job. That makes sense doesn’t it?
So here are some thoughts about what I have been enjoying, what I have found difficult and what I am looking forward to:
The really positive things:
- feeling in control of my destiny (or at least having a degree of influence – no illusions of complete control)
- having something completely new and fresh to engage in
- having a genuine interest in all aspects of my work (or perhaps almost all would be more realistic)
- working with calm, caring people who are all on a similar wavelength and with respect for each other
- the privilege of meeting some wonderfully community minded, giving and caring ‘ordinary’ people
- practicing some new skills without feeling the pressure of having to deliver the unattainable
- thoroughly believing in the objectives and activities of the two organisations I have been volunteering for
- being signed up as an advisor for a third charity and finding that there are things that I can do that make a small difference and support the staff there
- getting out and about to different locations and places
- getting some feedback and appreciation now and then on things that have gone well
- finding that I don’t necessarily rub people up the wrong way wherever I go after all!
- not having to get in the car and drive to work and enjoying the outdoor experience of getting to work instead
- realising that having school holidays (especially if you no longer have school children at home) is not the be all and end all – especially if you are enjoying what you are doing
- being allowed to claim ignorance and shrug my shoulders when something goes wrong on the IT front
- realising that there are some things that it is easy to blame on your employment that are actually part of your own problem and until you resolve them, you carry them around with you from one place to the next.
- building new relationships
- the peculiar status of being unpaid staff in a non permanent role
- keeping right on going through a confidence crisis
- updating a blog site regularly
The second list was a lot harder, and given that I am not actually in an upbeat frame of mind at the moment it seems pretty conclusive that I made the right decision about leaving my job in IT six months ago. I can safely say that I have no regrets. In fact, if anyone says, as they have recently, what a brave step I made, I no longer feel that to be true. It just feels like the obvious thing to have done.
So, I was minding my business and adding some content to a website when alongside my latest post a job opportunity popped up which caught my eye. I did the usual thing of putting off a decision about applying (in order that I could legitimately procrastinate in completing the task) and then spent an arduous Sunday the day before the deadline filling in the application form into the small hours (does everybody do that?) Confident that I ticked all the boxes, I was at first delighted to receive a call up for interview a few days later but horrified when I read the conditions to be met at interview. The need to take examples of work meant that I had to trawl through my six months of experience to try to determine where my input had actually made a difference. It took a few friends and tears to convince me that this was worth pursuing. Expecting the worst, I actually found this to be a huge confidence building exercise which prepared me well for interview. As the first six months internship comes to a close, I find myself on a different path than intended but with much to look forward to:
- working for a registered charity in a support organisation which has links with some of the organisations and charities I have already been getting to know
- I know I have only just met them but….lovely people!
- building on the experience I have just gained
- a salary which more than matches the one I left
- no excuses for not rejoining the gym and working off those extra pounds that seem to have accumulated
- an easy bike ride, or walk to work each day
- a four-day week – perfect for keeping a little time back to input into caring elsewhere
- being near the town centre – I may even take the odd lunch hour and meet up with friends for lunch – that would be novel
I am not sure yet that this blogging thing has fulfilled its purpose. Time will reveal where I go with it next, but thank you for journeying with me as I have been looking beyond life as a Network manager and deliberating about how to find fulfilling work.
So far, so good.