The Great Adventure

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An oldie but a goodie … One of my Fave songs from my younger years.  It’s since been a theme in various messages and sermons and it is now honestly where I feel my life is at.

If you didn’t see my post about The End of an Era that explains how I got to the stage of leaving my career in IT with the public sector.

That was in November – time has gone so fast! I started looking for a new role in May and in August will start my new job (more on that later) I have learned an awful lot about myself and done some really cool stuff and I just wanted to reflect a little bit on my career break!

Those regular readers will know my first thing was heading to The Clothes Show with The Friendly Development charity (that wasn’t quite first but I haven’t shared pictures of my new tattoo thinking once I had a six pack I would ???). I love the charity and loved The Clothes Show, it did remind me very much of my materialistic / consumeristic past and how very easy it is to get drawn beck into getting your identity from money or what you wear.

After that in January I visited Tanzania on a week long mission trip, I blogged about my visit to the Compassion project and that isn’t something I will ever forget.  A little update for all of you is that the church out there have broke land and building on their new church will hopefully be nearing completion at the end of this year.

April was a busy month I spent three weeks in London.  Firstly I had the honour to represent The Mariposa Trust at a reception at 10 Downing Street, quite a surreal experience and a privilege to say the least.  The rooms were amazing and I spent ages looking at the chandeliers in each room (I do it in museums as well ha! No idea why!) I used the stair case with all of the prime ministers pictures on I recognised the main ones which I was proud of, I’m not into history or politics at all but it is a once in a lifetime experience I could not get Love Actually out of my head I was desperate to get a video or a pic of me dancing Girls Aloud style down the staircase! Clearly never going to happen! 

After that I spent time volunteering with my church in their London offices.  That was an interesting time.  It hadn’t been very clear in my time off what I wanted to do, I was volunteering two days a week and had ruled out working with children (although my churches toddler group are totally fabulous and I’m going to miss them!) I had studied for an events management diploma and had an interview but realised that the job would likely eat into weeknight and weekend and I do not want to sacrifice my serving at church so was mulling that around in my brain.  London for me, was going to give me direction or even opportunity, I was sure of it.  I had always loved London and could see myself there – anyway it became clear early on that wasn’t really where I was meant to be and I was almost disappointed in advance but enjoyed my time there for what it was, serving, volunteering meeting amazing new people and helping out at Colour conference in Wembley. I learned so much practically about events and church it was a really worthwhile experience and had I not have been there God wouldn’t have spoke so clearly about where I was meant to be!

Since Colour I’ve looked for jobs, searched for jobs, applied, applied and applied some more.  It is very hard to not get disheartened and it has had to be a constant that I remind myself how much of a God thing leaving my job was and how I had determined to not regret the experience whatever the result!  The return from applications, recruiters and sending my CV off was very low.  I was starting to think how to widen my search and what to compromise on when I saw the job that I am due to start.

I feel this job is ideal for me – I widened my search from IT Project Manager to Project Manager and for a few days chuckled at what I got matched with – surveyors and civil engineers and a store manager at All Saints (who knows that wouldn’t go well and I would spend my entire salary on amazing outfits!). Anyway one day I spotted this job Project Manager for Developing Stewardship- that’s a word we use in church circles so I was intrigued and it turned out the role was for the Church of England!  After a reassuring phonecall I started to let myself to get excited.  I had been wary it was a high salary and I was entirely aware of how culturally different it would be for me l, but the prospect of it intrigued me and stirred something up.  Lots of praying went into it I had lots of friends praying and often my daydreams would run to all the things I could do and wondering how things work so I could work best there!

I was elated to hear I got the job what a huge lesson – I feel like I gave up on things, I sacrificed my job and my salary in a way to try and find something, something different or better or something that God had for me.  Maybe to find myself or maybe to find my purpose.  I was sure I wanted to work for my church or a charity where I can work hard and be productive but in a place it means something.  

In my time off I had wanted to do lots of things – get into routines and habits with my time with God and things – I’ve done that and I love that after being a Christian all my life I now miss if I haven’t read the bible.  I love that when I’m strapped for time or am not on my own I don’t feel guilty and know enough about Jesus to know me chatting in the car or lying before I go to sleep is still ok with him. 

Has my career break served its purpose? Did I do what I wanted? Yes and No.

It has served it’s purpose in clearly showing me I am a career girl and that being a high capacity volunteer along with that is ok.  I have revisited my Myers Briggs profile and my Gallup Strengths Finder and done some leadership development nights with church.   

I know I’m an achiever and that I’m addicted to being busy or productive, I’ve learned that busy and productive are different things.  I’ve learned when I’m not motivated or confident I procrastinate terribly.  I’ve learned despite feeling I’m not very disciplined I work better within discipline / routine.  I’ve been a bridesmaid, I’ve done tough Mudder and tried to keep fit.  I’ve ate out far more than I used to (which was already a lot!) 

I haven’t finished my E-book, written a preach or written any songs.  I haven’t learned guitar or blogged regularly – and as much as there’s been three attempts to sort out my house I haven’t really done that either.

What I have done is more important than those things (I feel) I have built strong relationships, developed friendships.  I have relaxed and learned how to be on my own – I have learned I’m more productive in afternoon / evenings and that I actually don’t mind working on phone or laptop at different times.  I’ve rebuilt my opinion on myself that previous work had damaged.  I’ve had a fun time working on my churches website and some of the things I’ve done in the church office will help directly in my new role.  Toddlers has been my favourite weekly activity seeing my friends, eating fruit toast and cuddling cute babies or playing in a ball pool bouncy castle!  Most of all I’ve realised I need to be in the workforce and using my Myers Briggs and strengths finder profiles I am aware of how to optimise my performance and productivity. 

This morning I’m on a train heading to a conference for my new role.  I’m so excited but incredibly nervous, all of my planning and daydreaming about an unknown thing is biting me in the bum as I go by myself to a conference centre and only see one or two faces that I’ve seen once before.  I’m hoping I haven’t put too much pressure on myself and praying this is the start of something great.

It’s certainly an answer to prayer in an over and above way already, it’s a higher salary than I was on and it’s something where my work skills and church passion meets. 

It’s the start of a two year journey where I know I am going to learn so much and experience a lot of things that are very difference but equally it’s a journey where I hope I can impart and influence anyone in my sphere where I want to encourage big thinking and I want to challenge perceptions and transform mindsets.  Bring on the great adventure!

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