Thursday, May 27, 2004

Some things just won't fit under a hat. 

Back in December, when I was sure that applying to b-school was the route I was going to take, I decided to tell my boss about my plans. I'd started to discuss them with friends and, as I work in a small and rather gossipy field that overlaps quite a bit with my social life, I knew there was a possibility that he'd hear 'down the grapevine'. I didn't want that to happen, plus I'm part of the managment team in a small organisation, which means that my plans can have quite a large impact on other people, and so I decide to tell him before he went off on a three-month sabbatical. We agreed that the deputy Chief Exec (who's a good friend) and the chair of our trustees should also be filled in.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my management colleagues said he'd sensed that something was going on, and asked if I was leaving, so I let him know what I'm attempting. Then last week I had to let the rest of the management team know, because the scope of my job is changing and it all fits in with the b-school possibility and wouldn't make much sense without that context. So, now my senior colleagues know, our trustee board are going to be told(because of the job-scope thing), my friends know, my family know, people at Church know, and I'm realising that if no-one wants me (which is a very real possibility) I'm going to fail very, very publicly. One of my friends says that, in the event of not getting a place anywhere, I shouldn't think of it as failure, but as something that wasn't menat to be. I'm not sure how much solace that will be come January if I've heard nothing but tolling bells.

The job-scope change has been a bit stressful in the developing, but is now pretty exciting. It's been becoming clear to me over the last few months that there are elements of my job, as currently is, that are not best done by a full-time employee and some that would make much more sense if they were located elsewhere in the organisation. This wouldn't be the first time that I've had to consider proposing making myself redundant (one of the joys of being a manger in the nfp sector) but the thought of having to look for another job when I was trying to get into business school, and therefore planning to leave in little more than a year, did not fill my heart with joy. At the same time, my boss had been coming to similar conclusions to me.

After discussing things, we've decided that some of what I currently do is going to be out-sourced, some move elsewhere in the organisation and some stay with me. I'm also going to be addressing marketing issues that having been negleted (and which I identified as a problem as soon as I joined and have been itching to get my hands on ever since). Finally I'm going to be working on a project to review how the organistion works and how we could be doing things better. There are a lot of areas where we know we have problems, and which to some extent have been causing the difficulties with me doing the job I was originally recruited to do, but no-one's had the capacity to address them. I've already done a bit of work in this area, looking at risk management and project management, but the idea is that I'll spend the next year or so reviewing what we do and developing policies, procedures and systems to help us do it better. If I get a place at b-school, that'll fit in nicely, if I don't I'd have been planning to look for a new job anyway. We've also just been offered an intern from a local arts management degree course. If things are suitable, for us and for him, he'll be working with me. The end of result of all this is that I'm going to be able to get to grips with some nice meaty problems, and do some people (or should that be person) managment, which is one of the things I've missed most from my last job. It's going to be an interesting year ahead.


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