And now for something completely different

Goose signA lot has happened since I last posted on here – so it’s about time I updated you. I mentioned last time that I’d had a positive meeting that would hopefully lead to something, and was keen to be able to confirm that so I could go on here and write about it. In the end it took a little while to hear back and I had started to get nervous that it wouldn’t happen and I’d end up looking a bit silly for getting excited prematurely. Also, I was getting a little bit impatient for something concrete to sink my teeth into and keen to start the next chapter in my career break.

But, it turns out, just the fact that I am free and open to everything actually seems to mean that things just come up. So when I got a phone call on Saturday asking if I was free on Tuesday to spend the day with a load of French musicians who were coming over to discuss an EU-funded project to promote gigging and touring across Europe… it didn’t take me long to make up my mind and say yes.

After a pretty intense day of bilingual discussions about how the project can best be delivered (with an interpreter on hand, mind – my French is shamefully pants), I am suddenly very much involved. And because there is funding attached, I can even charge for my time! Obviously, because it’s the European Union, you have to submit 17 pieces of evidence hand-delivered in triplicate by specially certified EU carrier pigeons for every 50p you claim, but still. A paid job! And something interesting, with a potential trip to France to look forward to as well.

I also got a definite answer on the other project yesterday. Happily, the answer was yes so I can now confirm that I will be working with a wonderful artists’ collective called Blast Theory. They are based in Portslade (a glorious 15-minute bike ride along the seafront) and do all kinds of amazing stuff involving digital technology and interactive art. Due to holidays etc. I won’t start with them until later on this month, but having another project to sink my teeth into in the mean time means I don’t have to worry so much about ending up on the couch with Jeremy Kyle.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this. And it proves that sometimes all you have to do is open yourself up and let people know you’re up for stuff in order to get opportunities presented to you. Both of these projects have come about through my existing network and without too much effort on my part. Which partly leaves me wondering if I am falling into that trap of ‘drifting’ again – i.e., just letting myself be carried along on the current of life without actively making things happen for myself. That was exactly the thing I regretted about my previous 10 years.

But on the other hand, maybe this is a different type of drifting and an altogether more productive one. And maybe I am doing myself a disservice when I say there wasn’t much effort involved – after all, I am actively working on that network and on profiling myself as a generally capable person who wants to get involved with interesting things. I know there are some exceptional people out there who know exactly what they want and work hard to go out and get it (I know some of those people, and much admire them). But I have come to realise that a lot of life is about chance, and that even if you don’t quite know what you want, it sometimes is enough to just open yourself up to different possibilities. I’m not sure if I am much closer to that light bulb moment where I hit on ‘The Answer’, but I am finding the sheer flexibility and randomness of this journey rather thrilling.


9 thoughts on “And now for something completely different

  1. There are some amazing insights here – and you and your approach are to be admired, too!
    I’m not sure either what I want to do and I lack the network – at least, a live one, where I live; perhaps I have a virtual one though. I’ve been thinking dice I read this last night that I should open myself up as you have done, only through my blog, tapping into that network. What do you think? Do you have any tips? And does your “work with me” tab have an effect?
    Congratulations on your two exciting opportunities!

    • Hey there, thanks for your lovely comment! I realise that I might have made it sound like I am a massive networker, which I don’t really think is the case. I think it’s more a case of making the most of the people you already know, and most importantly, letting them know that you’re there and willing to do stuff. A virtual network can be just as useful as a real one, but it might be slightly harder to figure out ‘who’s for real’ and what kind of things would be suitable. I have had a few enquiries through the Work With Me tab but none that I have chosen to pursue, for one reason or another. One person contacted me to ask if I would like to be featured in a book he is writing about people changing careers and following their dreams, which I agreed to – we had a half-hour interview on Skype and he sent me the proof chapter which was very nice to read 🙂 In terms of actual work, my local network has proved more useful if I’m honest. Sometimes your network is bigger than you think, and I find that as soon as you start interacting with people (either in person, e.g. through going to parties and events and chatting to people, or online e.g. through commenting on people’s blogs – as you are very kindly doing here! – and adding people on Linkedin etc), you never know what might come up. It’s not really an exact science and will probably have mixed results, but sometimes it’s enough to just let people know you are looking for a new challenge. You could also try some volunteering work in your spare time as it’s a great way to meet people and get new connections. That certainly worked for me with Brighton Festival. Not sure if any of this is useful… In any case thanks again and good luck, keep me posted!

      • Thanks – that’s all helpful 🙂 It’s funny, I often think that because I live in a government town and all my contacts are public servants, that I don’t have a network to take me where I want to go. But I forget that, like me, many people do creative things on the side. Thanks again for the thoughts and I will keep you posted!

  2. I think the problem before was not the initial drifting into the job you had, but staying there out of fear that nothing else would ever come up. You are now letting yourself happen upon opportunities, but you are not committing to them for life, and your general attitude is one of discovery and developing yourself. If you keep reflecting on your experiences and evaluating how your new experiences and skills fit with your life and what you ultimately want to do I don’t think you’re in any danger! And also: yay for paid work!

    • Thanks Judith, I think you’re hitting the nail on the head there. It feels like a very productive and constructive experience for me, even if the outcome is still uncertain. My mum quoted Seamus (no, not ‘sea mud’, iPhone) Heaney the other day: “there is no path that goes all the way”. Thanks for all your support xx

  3. How wonderful – I’m so glad these jobs have come your way, they sound so interesting. Sometimes the most incredible opportunities come from the most unexpected places and people, and all we can do is seize them, say thanks and see where they take us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s