I left my day job last week. It was no small thing to do, but it still feels like the right decision. I spent the last two years working as a Service Manager for an integrated community mental health service. It was a privilege to be able to lead such a great bunch of people, and to work together on things that really matter. So why the change?
Firstly, these kinds of jobs are exhausting. Managing complex services, huge budgets and high risk, high stakes situations demands so much that at the end of the working day there is very little left. I also know myself well enough to understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and to know that the developments I hope we set in motion now would benefit from someone else to come in and complete. Partly this is because I tend to be more focused on ‘big picture’ thinking but find the messy complexities of implementing change at micro level much more challenging. I also possibly lack the toughness to manage well the political infighting and sometimes downright poor behaviour of people who really should know better. Change always turbocharges these kinds of interactions. I am not sure it always brings out the best in me either.
I also decided to step away for other reasons. I was determined to ensure that work did not become a deepening rut that became harder and harder to step out from. It is so easy to get used to the routine and the salary, such that fear prevents any kind of alternative possibility, even when at times we have lost all passion for our task. I have other things I want to do, and these were not possible in the exhausted margins of high level management work.
What next then?
I feel great excitement in that I have been gifted with the opportunity to spend some time doing some creative things;
- My own writing. I am determined to finish a novel, which has been nagging at me for a few years now
- Curation of a new poetry collection, along the lines of ‘Learning to Love’
- Some interactive collaborations with other artists/musicians
- Consideration and development of a poetry network around social justice themes
- Working with Michaela to further develop Seatree as an income stream
Change has to also embrace uncertainty. This is not always comfortable but for now at least it feels good, exciting, hopeful.
I have also decided to continue to use this blog as a semi-transparent journal of some of my journey. This was not a straightforward decision; my writing has in recent times get me into trouble. Also blogging is in many ways rather an out dated concept. However, I reminded myself again of the reasons why I started this rather self obsessed narcissistic activity by looking back at this post.
A couple of new chapters yet to come then…