Monday, 6 June 2016

Does Anyone have a Plan?

1 year plan. 3 year plan. 10 year plan. Do you have a plan that stretches much beyond the next week?

I've been thinking that sorting out some kind of plan for the upcoming years might not be such a bad idea. 40 is beckoning. I have no career to speak of but I am now at an age where I know that I do not want to be in business support (posh term for admin) for the rest of my working life. I am lucky in that the work I do does give me a sense of contributing to peoples lives but I am unlucky in that I work for the public sector and every couple of years there is another round of job cuts. In twelve months I could be unemployed so now seems like a better time to be considering what else I might like to do than April next year.

I'm a person who would rather have many strings to her bow than all her eggs in one basket. And lots of idioms to call on. If I were a real grown-up I would speak of cultivating different revenue streams. My ideal working life would be composed of more than one thing. I enjoy teaching people how to do things so I'm considering looking into the option of becoming a trainer. I'd also like to get more professional and focused about earning money from things I can make. Some office based work is probably always going to be on the cards as I can't see me ever being able to leave that entirely behind, and I love the connection and camaraderie that comes with working in a team. The ultimate dream of my deepest heart would be to make some pennies from my writing.

Your Life Plan, Erica Sosna, was recommended to me by my sister as a good place to start in pulling together a coherent plan but I have not been able to get on with it. It's very much a 'you are the hero of your life!' type book where making a plan is like mapping your own quest story. I love reading fiction but for some reason this comparison has been a turn off and when I realised I was skimming more of the book than I was reading I knew it was not the book for me.

What I have been finding far more helpful is Leverage Your Time, Balance Your Life by John Ingram Walker. I picked it up from the sale shelf at my local library a while ago thinking it was specifically about time management but it's a lot more than that. Don't be put off by the cover either - it looks like it's all about your corporate life but it isn't. The post-its have come into play with this book, lots of virulently coloured tongues poking out from the pages. This book doesn't talk about setting a 3 year plan or similar but I feel it's giving me a lot of the tools that will help me pull one together. I want a holistic plan, not just one that's bound to work, and this book covers a whole range of topics from positive living, fitness, fun and healing.

My short-term goals at the moment are to give serious time and thought to establishing  what my skills and strengths are within a work setting and how I could build on them. I've put my name down for a mentoring programme and know that if I need advice on possible next steps I work with some very supportive managers whose opinions I respect. A number of women in my immediate family have taken a step away from the office and now run their own creative businesses, and are inspiring to me because of this. I feel I've drifted along for the majority of my life - while I'm not looking for iron control now it would be good to feel I had some direction in mind.

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