Most people don’t like change. And I’m no different to most people. Getting used to the idea of being made redundant has been the hardest personal and professional challenge I’ve ever had. The last few months have been a trial not just for me but for my family too. I lost sight – if I ever had it – of the huge part, good and ill, that my career played in the lives of all my family. It determined where we lived, where my kids went to school, even how much time I was able to spend with them all.
We have got used to living together under its shelter. But of course a shelter also casts a shadow. Often time for family stuff got squeezed out to allow me to go to that important meeting, this vital training course or attend some other crucial event where my attendance would give me … what? Looking back I’m not now entirely sure.
I’ve been sorting through some boxes of ‘stuff’ that came from my old office which is now closed. I’ve put it off for a while but the unexpected arrival of an old friend for a couple of nights compelled me to face up to the task. So I found myself facing down some intimidating cardboard boxes. Sitting squat on the kitchen table like canopic jars. The last resting places of the guts of my splendid career.
There was the minute of a working group that I had wrangled my way on to. Considering a policy initiative that ended before it had really begun. And here’s a note of a meeting with an external organisation where we tried to find a better and more joined up way of working together. Both organisations now getting the chop or extensive pruning. Look here’s my thoughts on a potential new policy direction for our business. Sadly, defunct.
Hours or, more likely, days of life evidenced by reams of paper. Not much of a monument. When I was a child I remember my mother pointing out to me an L-shaped stand of beech trees on the edge of a farm as we trundled past on a bus. She had planted the trees as a windbreak around a tied cottage she and her young family had had to move into. The cottage was now gone but the trees were still there. My monument, sadly, took real trees to create. If only I could recycle the papers backwards into trees.
But fate, as they say, is inexorable. So I was intrigued to have a book recommended to me to help me get through the enforced changes that are ahead. It’s a little parable about cheese. I’m sure a lot of you will already know it but I’ve put the details on the resource page if you want a copy. I’d recommend it and I’m a sceptic about ‘business management’ books. The thrust of the book though is that success (the cheese) can not be taken for granted. It needs constant changes in thinking and behaviour to secure it.
So I am gearing up for a hunt for new cheese having dumped all the all paper in which mouse-like I had built a comfortable career nest. New cheese here I come …