Friday, 22 March 2013

Career conundrums (again)

Well, I'm stubbornly holding onto this blog, despite the fact I'm not managing to update it regularly. Perhaps one day I'll get back into it again, but for the time being I'll try to maintain a holding pattern with occasional posts about what's been happening.

Right now I'm once again enjoying some time off while between jobs. This time it is an unplanned career break, yet unavoidable. My position, having been first created by my former employer, was then taken away as the result of a -- ahem -- restructure. Although I had an inkling it was coming, I was nonetheless shocked when it happened. And disappointed, because I wasn't quite done with learning from the position. There followed a few very awkward weeks of continuing to show up to work, before I was finally released mid-February -- which was over a month ago. Wow.

Since then I've been reassessing my career options -- again -- which is still difficult. One thing I learnt from this most recent role, is that I'm probably better off finding a specialist role that truly utilises my technical background. I'd really like to find a niche communications role that allows me to work with subject-matter experts to write thought leadership pieces, white papers, case studies and the like... maybe the odd customer publication or two -- and surely there's scope to do some business blogging?

The challenge is to find such a role -- or create demand for one. I'm doing a lot of networking, which isn't as horrible or daunting as I feared, but it's nonetheless a slow and tiring process. One of my challenges is to expand my understanding of those sectors where I might find work. I've spoken to many people who agree there's a very real need for a writer and communicator who can 'talk the talk' with the subject matter experts, and then translate this into comprehensible prose for a variety of audiences. I have a lot of experience doing this -- and I believe I'm quite good at it. But I do find it hard to talk myself up and go for the 'sell'.

If I could have my way I'd just wait for someone to recognise my brilliance and say "we need you -- you're hired!". Wouldn't that just be lovely?

I'm not panicking yet, although there are very few jobs advertised that seem to fit my skills and experience. I have very little chance going for general communications positions, because I have to compete with candidates with all the right pieces of paper. The only area where I can really differentiate is in the technology/engineering/industrial sector. This is why I'm having to work hard to create the opportunities. For this ISTJ (at least, that's what I am today) it's a huge ordeal.

OK, some days I get a little panicky. I shouldn't lie.

On the upside, I am making sure I get plenty of (creative) writing done. Most days I'm spending a few hours on the latest novel, so that at least is being progressed. As usual, from start-date to anticipated end-date, it's taken a lot longer than I intended, but I'm on the home stretch now. For the first draft, that is. There'll still be an enormous amount to do when I come to revise. This first draft version is about the roughest I've ever written anything (intentionally). The novel seems to keep getting bigger in scope and ambition too. I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew, actually. I guess time and toil will tell.

So that's where I'm at right now. Another turning point, sooner than I had hoped. Of course, a whole lot more than that has happened in the past five months, but that's the big one.

Until I next have the urge to drop in here and bare my soul for the world to see... Cheers

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