This post will be slightly different from my previous ones, because I actually have something to report: I have secured my first job after leaving work! From mid-April I will be coordinating a small army of volunteers at the Brighton Festival, to do all the ‘meet and greets’ for the artists, performers and companies who will be descending on our lovely city. It does mean that I literally have one day off before starting work again, but I am so happy to have something lined up that I don’t mind at all.
When I originally planned my career break to start in the spring, I did have the Festival in mind (which takes place all throughout May), but thought I had probably missed the boat as these events are so long in the planning that by the time I left work there wouldn’t be much more to do. However, a couple of weeks ago I saw on Facebook that there was a volunteer drop-in session that evening, and to be able to be there in time I made a last-minute decision to work from home rather than travel into the office. I still assumed that the only roles available would probably be stewarding and front of house etc., but figured I may as well go along and find out what they were looking for. I am so glad I did – I spent a lovely evening chatting to the Festival team and realised that they did in fact need people who could be there full-time. It was so much better to go and meet the team in person than it would have been if I had just sent in an application form – it really helped me to present myself and explain my situation.
As with all work these days, paid or unpaid, there was a fair bit of competition (particularly for the ‘sexier’ areas such as the contemporary music department – the Finance table, strangely, was a little less busy). I had indicated an outdoor events assistant role as my first choice, simply because it was so hands-on: standing in a field at 5am to get a broken fence fixed, liaising with the council, meeting with producers, etc. The complete antidote to sitting in an office, and a great way to familiarise myself with production management. When I heard they had picked an events management student for the role instead, I was admittedly a little disappointed. But the more I think about it, the more I appreciate that the role I have been given carries a fair bit of responsibility and whilst there will be a lot of sitting in the office with a spreadsheet to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time, I will also be able to go out and meet artists myself. It certainly meets the criterion of being slightly out of my comfort zone: I’ve not had people management responsibilities before and I’ll have to do a lot of thinking on my feet to respond to situations where people haven’t turned up, hotel bookings have mysteriously disappeared, artists demand to have bowls of blue M&Ms in their hotel rooms, etc. Generally, it will be fantastic to be part of the team and build relationships with all the people behind the cultural powerhouse of the Brighton Festival, and hopefully make lots of new connections.
What was also extremely lovely to hear was that there had apparently been ‘a bit of a bun fight’ in the office because a lot of departments wanted to work with me. What an amazing confidence boost!
As my leaving date is now coming VERY close, I can only say how optimistic I feel: it’s spring, the weather’s great (well – on the whole), Brighton is waking up and stretching itself in the sun ready for summer, I’ve got six weeks of voluntary work lined up in what I can only describe as as near an ideal position as I could have hoped for, I’ve helped recruit someone to take over my current job, I’ve had my hair dyed pink, everything feels pretty awesome right now.