Its Friday the 13th, and the morning after a General Election. I’m writing this paragraph a few days earlier and I wonder what kind of government we are awaking to? One thing that isn’t changed though is the quality of the Advent Blogs series, which continues to amaze me.
At home, today is the EPIC Xmas Lunch. Of course, its just the two of us, my wife and I, and we are going to a nearby country pub for a three course meal. Running your own business is something we both enjoy doing, but taking time out of it to spend with each other, at what is a difficult time for our family, is much needed.
Today’s post is from Craig Kaye, who you can find on Twitter as @ThatCraigKaye. My interactions with Craig have been, again, almost entirely on social media and I feel I know him well from these. Craig works as an L&D Advisor at Mitie, and describes himself as an experienced Learning Professional who has led cultural change activities, staff engagement, national programmes, leadership development, reflective practice sessions, coaching pathways, creating evaluative structures and a variety of professional developmental workshops. That said, its obvious from his writing and social media output that these impressive experiences come a distant second to being a husband to his wife Jenny and a father to their son Oscar, as indeed they should.
Over to Craig:
Having read some of the blogs which Gary has brilliantly curated and authors passionately written I thought to myself how I can complete a blog which pays justice to the series title whilst adding my own spin on things.
I don’t know?
I guess I’ll wild write, a concept introduced to myself by the inspiring Julie Drybrough, I’ll write the first things which come into my head, without edit and share with you.
I’m stumped – simply by the word ‘prepared.’ Don’t get me wrong I get it, it’s just when I reflect on difficult times in my life, I have been very unprepared. The moments of loss, challenge and struggle have all been very reactive on my part. Playing with the cards I’m dealt with rather than shuffling the deck. There have been hands I’ve played I’m proud of such as being the best father I can be to our little Oscar Bear and the best husband I can be to my beautiful wife Jenny. However, there have been times when the hand I played wasn’t my finest such as how I responded to our miscarriage, when I internalised all my thoughts and emotions or earlier in my career when I put work before everything else in the attempt to get ‘that’ promotion. – becoming a father changed all that.
Would I sooner gain ‘that’ promotion or see Oscar getting excited about another family trip to Disneyland Paris? – Oscar 100%. Would I sooner get ‘that’ great feedback from the meeting I chaired or share a Chinese Takeaway with my Wife? Load up the Just Eat App.
Are these choices binary? – No. In fact when I reflect the end of my binary, presenteeism type thinking was when I became a much stronger, person centred learning professional.
What changes have I prepared for? Two professional ones spring to mind.
I prepared to leave the role of a Service Manager of a Charity in supporting Vulnerable Adults and their families to purpose a new national role in Learning and Development. I hadn’t even considered this however my former manager (the brilliant @Jo_Coaches) had a brief chat with me to consider whether I would apply for a new facilitator type role. I was flattered, but it wasn’t the right time. I just wrote a new Volunteer Programme and wanted to see the impact it would have. I didn’t apply.
Yet the thought was there, and I had missed my opportunity. I kept checking the internal online vacancies – no joy. When the chance had gone I started appreciating L&D a lot more, actively taking more opportunities to discuss progression with my team.
I started delivering more training and workshops and started trying to make my service manager role one which contained a lot of learning and development. Fortunately another role later came up in Jos team – I applied. I was successful.
I was in the role for 3 happy years, but then I wanted to see how these skills I obtain would take in a new field. An opportunity came up to work with a multimillion-pound business as a Learning and Development Advisor. I loved working in the charity sector, but I decided that I needed to make this move for me, to progress more and experience new challenges. I presented to a panel my ways of working, ways important to me professionally and personally and what I would bring. This style was direct, yet positive – creative yet progressive and was full of feedback received from many colleagues over many years. I was offered the role I said yes.
Where am I now?
Well I’ve recently been promoted to the role of a Team Leader in a brilliant Behavioural Skills Team, Oscar is still wanting to go back to Disneyland and I’m currently on a train down to London next to a group of tourists who just like getting trains to places they’ve never been before. I’m tilting my screen away as I write this line as they can see.
Sorry I digress.
I come back to the term preparedness. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the most prepared but what I do know is that I reflect from my life experiences whether they be professionally or personally and try and take what I can from them.
I suppose in a strange way …… saying goodbye to my anxious presenteeism is the moment I prepared for.
I hope you enjoyed my wild writing and please follow my new Twitter Handle @ThatCraigKaye
Craig’s stab at wild writing is an interesting one, and the technique has some distinct advantages. Here it has enabled him to explore a variety of different topics all within the same theme, and it is good to see him reflect on the choices he has made, all of which have prepared him for where he is now, whether planned consciously in advance or not.
Till next time…