It’s all me, me me

I’ve decided that 2011 will be the year of me.

 I was brought up to always put others first and I’ve dutifully followed this credo all my life. As a teacher you’re always at the beck and call of others- the students, the parents, the local authority, the head teacher- and I’ve managed to carry this attitude over into my consultancy work. Of course I can come to your school/ meeting at ridiculous o’clock! And of course I’ll cancel my social life to run a last minute training session for cabinet members who don’t bother turning up! I think this is a particular problem for us gals, we want to please people and make them happy.

 I was once on leave out shopping in the summer when a school phoned me in a panic. They were printing their stationery for the year ahead and needed me to send them a logo that was only at my work computer and could I do it before 3 o’clock please? Did I put back the things I was going to buy at the shop, drive all the way to the office (which was luckily open), fire up my computer, find the logo, send it to the school, shut down my computer and drive home again having ruined my shopping trip? Hell, yeah.

 But no more, I cry. I’m putting myself first and my friends and family are up there too. I started today by not volunteering to train governors tomorrow evening. I shall be slumped in front of the telly in my slanket catching up rubbish programmes from Sky+ instead.

 So here are my new goals.

1)     Network, network, network.

In the public sector we’re a bit lazy at this but I’m learning how to do it. I’m actually pretty shy so this is way out of my comfort zone but I’m doing well so far. I’m not afraid to ask for help or contacts and people so far have been delighted to help.

2)     Just say no, kids.

No to extra work, no to evening work, no to too many meetings, no, non, nein. Unless you’re a school. In which case it’s yes.

3)     Take time to learn new stuff.

The other day I found myself buying lots of helpful tomes on the interwebulator. Not self-help books you understand, just books that can help with my new portfolio career. They arrived yesterday and I’ve already found out lots of useful information.

4)     Make more effort to widen my friendship circle.

That stupid shyness really restricts me but I’m making more of an effort. I’ve already contacted some friends I haven’t seen for a while to make dates to meet. I’m not going to be too tired from work to go out and have fun. Or to network.

5)     Take time to plan.

I need to spend time planning my new career and planning properly. It won’t happen unless I do.

6)     Stop whingeing.

Whingeing has been my default setting since the redundancy notice. I will try hard not to whinge about things I can’t change. But I reserve the right to still whinge about the government.

 So wish me luck on my journey and thank you supporting me via this blog, it’s very much appreciated.

What are your work resolutions for 2011?

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My big fat portfolio career

I’ve decided that given my current employment circumstances I’d quite like a portfolio career. Apparently the phrase was coined in the eighties by management guru Charles Handy but in these straitened times the portfolio career is seeing a revival. And I want one. 

The idea is that instead of the one boring, safe career, the modern business-person has two or three strands of work allowing for greater flexibility and creativity. On better days I think that this could work for me: perhaps some consultancy projects mixed with a bit of teaching and more time for writing stuff (I’ve just started writing and selling magazine articles.)

Up until now I’ve been a steady Eddie. I’ve always had a job with a pay packet attached and someone else to sort out the stuff like tax and insurance and pension. I enjoy the security a steady job brings and I know that being self-employed is sometimes famine or feast. Luckily I’m sufficiently scrooge-like with my money to squirrel it away for a rainy day or for the taxman.

I’ve had a look on the web for a bit of inspiration and found a test that evaluates whether you’re ready for a portfolio career. So am I ready? Well, sort of. The test decrees that I’m not a natural so no surprise there but perhaps more hopefully says that, ‘you could have a portfolio career but you will have think and plan very carefully before making (sic) the plunge.’

It then suggests that I look at where I’ve scored lower than two points. Apparently being a perfectionist is not a good thing for portfolio careerists. It can get you bogged down in minutiae when you should be off searching for that next contract. I need to work on my risk taking, my assertiveness and rather surprisingly, my boredom threshold. For the question ‘I get bored easily,’ I gave myself a 1 (strongly disagree.) Now my mother always taught me that only boring people get bored and I do like to stick at a project be it reading a book, finishing a piece of work or listening to one of Mr. R’s interminable stories.

So I have some personal homework to do before I get the elbow in March. I’d like to write some more about portfolio careers but I’m bored now.

Ooh look it’s lunchtime.

See, I’m learning.

Ps: For the next two days I will be out of the office attending a course called ‘How to become a consultant.’ Portfolio career, here I come.

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