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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 24-Sep-10


Friday 24-September-10

Free! Or what?

Today is my last day in full-time employment. I've been working for the UK government for the past six years. It started out as a contract to develop training for school exams officers when I was last working as an independent consultant. I got offered a full-time position and, partly because of family issues at the time, I accepted the position. I've been an internal consultant, managed a change programme, headed up knowledge management and managed quality on the national school tests. But when they moved to Coventry I did not want to move and so decided to leave.

So it's freedom again. Woohoo! But then freedom is far from free. When you don't know where your next meal ticket is coming from it can be rather worrying. Paradoxically, the price of freedom is freedom. When you have to find your own work (and are not paid for this part of the job) it can be rather stressful as you hunt down the next contract. It is also a challenge to sustain integrity, which is important for me. Desperate people do desperate things. Fortunately, I'm not desperate. Kids grown, house paid off and wife working, we're sufficiently stable. And web and book bring in a helpful supplement. There's thousands of hours of work in here and it's now helping out as intended.

I'm starting up as Changing Works, consulting and coaching in personal and business change, including about persuasion and influence, of course. I've deliberately spent many years getting both qualifications and experience in the strategic, operational and psychological parts of the business and believe I'm pretty unique in this. I've also got a few books in my head that need writing, and of course I'll not let up on Changing Minds.

It's interesting to listen to people who are independent, often extolling the benefits of 'freedom' though you can sometimes see the worry lines deepening. It's a bit like asking parent about the best thing in their lives. They say their children of course, but your kids will typically bring much anguish as well as consuming lots of your time and money. And I've met plenty of people without children who seem perfectly happy. Just like there are plenty who have ordinary jobs and who are reasonably satisfied with their lot.

I've always believed that you make your own happiness. When I was young, an uncle told me that you can't always do what you like, but you can always like what you do, and this wisdom has helped me enjoy many situations where I might otherwise be unhappy. So, I'll be sure to enjoy working with people and organisations when they come my way, and writing in the spaces between.

Your comments

Freedom for me is having a paying job right now in life, but you have a different connotation and perspective, which is good to acknowledge.

Dave replies:
It's easier for me now. I've been made redundant a couple of times before (seems to happen about once every ten years). First time I had a new child, wife not working, new house, new mortgage. It was scary but I managed to get a job back in the same company (HP) by taking on three jobs at once.

You do what you have to do. When you get older, if you've been lucky and are prepared, then you will become better able to weather such shocks.

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