I forgot to look back at my year to see how things went, and to reflect a bit.
2012 was a tough year. I left a job with no secure other, and was out of work for four months. We obviously had the Olympics which was a major uplift for the whole nation. Personally, though things couldn’t have been tougher. It’s not easy job hunting and being told by the job market you’re not good enough for roles which you have the self belief you can do.
Then towards the end of the year I took a role with Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in their OD function, and found a new lease of life. I was teamed with a group of fellow L&OD pros and we were making waves in a short space of time. Special shout out to Sarah Lee, Evan Flockhart, Marion Cain and Lynda Steer. This lot gave me the freedom to be the best I could be, challenge convention, and help steer a new path. I learned a lot about the NHS in this time, and there’s a blog post brewing about how it’s the most agile and adaptable to change organisation I’ve ever encountered.
An opportunity arose in April of this year I just couldn’t turn down. Within 9 days I had submitted a job application and received an offer of employment in a role suited to exactly the career progression I was yearning for. At One Housing Group I’ve found a confidence in my knowledge of L&OD, and my skills, and I’m buoyed by what the future holds for me. There’s also a post brewing about what the social housing industry looks like and how its very purpose is changing for the future.
My professional activity has seen a series of peaks which have all been very welcome. There were 3 L&D Connect events this year – 2 unconferences and a summer lunch. I attended a number of different L&OD conferences which were all useful and interesting in various ways. I was welcomed back as a blogger for HRD and ACE by the good people at CIPD – that’s always a good thing. By the way, very glad HRD is being rebranded to be ‘L&D Show‘ for 2014. I was also asked to do this at Learning Live by the LPI, and that was lots of good fun too.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed seeing my family grow and learn. My twin boys, A and K (nearly 7), have done really well in adapting to a new school and thriving. My daughter T (nearly 4) has been loving nursery and regularly screams the house down with the songs she’s learning. Some of my more favourite responses I hear from them:
ME: A, it’s time to keep quiet while we eat our dinner.
A: But Daddy, I like talking so much, and I want to tell you and Mummy about so many things that I just have to talk and tell you, even when it’s dinner time.
ME: K, what are you doing awake so early in the morning?
K: I woke up, Daddy, came in your room quietly, brushed my teeth, went to my room, got changed, and been waiting for you to wake up. (Not freaky at all how quietly he did this.)
ME: T, we’re trying to watch a film, don’t do any talking ok?
T: Yes, ok Daddy. Can I talk now though? Because I have something to ask you about the film. Who’s that man, Daddy? What are they doing? I will be quiet soon, Daddy, ok?
What I’m equally surprised by is how often I’m having to back up what I say with full blown explanations to them when they’re so young.
The cinema experience has been good this year. Some films I’ve enjoyed this year: Iron Man 3, Thor: Dark World, Elysium, Gravity, Frozen, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Croods. I seriously loved seeing Derren Brown live in his Infamous show. It was everything I thought it would be, and more. I want to be him when I grow up.
I contributed to an HR e-book top ten best-seller – Humane Resourced. It’s a book of blogs, and the proceeds are going to charity. You should check it out.
I’ve enjoyed connecting with quite a few new bloggers and Twittering types. I find these things tend to come in waves. I can recall people who were big Twitter and blogging types 3 years ago who I don’t hear from or know what’s happened to them. That’s the natrual ebb and flow of life too. People come and people go.
Speaking about the blog, I’ve now been blogging for four years. That’s quite a while to keep a habit going. It continues to be a personal challenge to keep things interesting, and to keep people interested in my writing. I’m always grateful for people who read my stuff. This year has seen things grow in this space, and that’s been very motivational to encourage me to keep going.
And finally there’s my emotional resilience. It’s something I’ve become very mindful of, in particular because of the insights I’ve gained about mental health from people like Jon Bartlett and Charlotte Walker. I never really considered mental health to be something I needed to be aware of or concerned about. And then I realised what a folly this is. If anything, this is something of a surprise considering that I write about Positive Psychology so often.
I’ve always understood that a range of activities is good and useful for personal, physical and mental health. What I’ve become more mindful of is carrying out resilience type exercises which help me to maintain a flow in life. So when I’m having a bad day, I tune into what I need and what I’m missing. This helps me to reflect on what I’m doing and how I’m feeling and what is appropriate for me to be well.
So there it is. Come on, 2014. Let’s dance.