When I signed the dotted line in March to confirm I would be taking redundancy from my role as a Coach Education Advisor, I was invariably upset to be leaving an organisation where I had grown over the previous 12 years. Leaving colleagues who you consider genuine friends is always going to be tough. But the time was right and I was ready to move on. The elusive 'dream job' is still elusive but I couldn't have asked for my redundancy to come at a better time in my life.
Often we are forced into situations where we leave one job to go into another because we need the income. Thankfully a healthy pot of savings (which is now not so healthy!) meant I was given the gift of time. Time to think about what is right for me. Time to have an extended break with my sister and brand new niece in Australia. And time to volunteer, primarily as a coach at my local rowing club.
As I approach five months of being 'unemployed' (I'm not really a fan of the word given how much I am actually working, albeit for free), I find myself sounding like a retired person. 'I just don't know how I ever found the time to work'. Every moment is taken up with something, be it coaching, assessing, club development work or applying for jobs (which is almost a full time job in itself). Remaining focussed can sometimes be challenging but I certainly haven't spent the past few months bingeing in Netflix and having lazy days. I have just returned from five weeks away coaching, including working with two scullers as part of the GB Rowing Team. It all adds to my coaching experience but probably wouldn't have been possible had I been in paid work.
Having time to do things for 'me' is something I definitely never had when I was working. And it has been a real opportunity to learn new skills, network with new people and assess which road is the right one for me in the future. So what have I done? Well, as you would inevitably expect from someone who is an expert in learning design, I have spent a lot of time learning how to develop new resources using modern technology. While my new website is a selling tool for me to show potential employers, the process of learning how to put it all together has been a great learning experience. It has given me new ideas for future projects which I have got lined up.
Even the process of interviews has been a learning experience. My first few interviews were conducted via Skype while I was still in Australia. I have never been a huge fan of online conversations as the message often gets lost in poor connectivity and lack of face to face interactions. So I took the opportunity to put together 'showreels' of my work for potential employers to view prior to us 'meeting' online. It was an opportunity for them to see my presentation style and also see the quality of work I can produce using simple apps on my phone.
I'm still wary of the official website launch. A website about me? Isn't that a bit self indulgent?
Well, why not? It's a chance to provide a snapshot of 'me' for potential employers. And as always, it's an opportunity to learn a new skill while I have some time!
With Jane, who I worked with to achieve a bronze and silver medal at the 2017 Coupe de la Jeunesse in Belgium.