I’m starting a new job in January, dear readers!
It will involve a lot of elements that I’ve skirted around in the past, but if you remember from a post I wrote back in August, where I navel-gazed a little through a high-level look at what matters in the workplace, you’ll know that I had concluded it was time to change.
I’d been looking for new work within the civil service and at a few places without for a few months and I came across quite a few jobs that I liked the look of. As I noted in my post above, the two lowest scores were caused by a poor alignment of my work with my Interests (I) and Values (V).
The interest score from my previous job was so low because the role involved direct dealings with automotive companies. I have no real interest in cars whatsoever – in fact I’m a little antipathetic towards them, but I managed to squeeze out a little interest from the nature of the role (mediating, communicating, building relationships) and the surrounding subject matter (innovation, fuel chemistry and electrification, environment).
The values score was low because I ended up dealing with very rich people who clearly wanted to make more profits and could do so more easily elsewhere. I could see how some companies would threaten disaster and relocation of efforts overseas, in order to try to squeeze money out of the public purse. Fortunately, government is pretty good at resisting these attempts, and justifying how money is spent. (One positive of the media is that it helps regulate such support by calling it out, though it often gets it wrong by seeing a very partial or fragmented picture). That was also a part of my role – but again something I had little interest in. Of course, State Aid is a hot topic issue for Brexit, so it remains to be seen how such things will be regulated in future.
I often thought the job could be better served by someone with at least a passing interest in cars. In fact, perhaps a passing interest would have been perfect – not too enthusiastic but just enough so that they could talk the talk but also defend the public interest (money, breathable air) without reservation.
My new role is a flexible deployment, which should keep my interest level up much higher, and my first posting will be in ‘Energy Security’ – something I think we all care about much more (perhaps without realising we do). Keeping the lights on and fires lit at home in the context of Brexit is becoming a serious concern, and I’ll be very proud to be a part of that.
Being a project management role (I’ll be heading up the PMO for Energy Security) I’ll get to use my hyper organisational skills and have my continuous improvement hat on (it’s a very shiny hat), and I’ll also be a line manager for the first time ever. All new challenges to look forward to.
The civil service has a lot on offer – I’ve spoken to many people about the great range of exciting roles they’ve had over a 15 or 20 year career, so there’s more to explore here if I want to. At least this role is fairly politically neutral (as far as the UK is concerned – Northern Ireland will clearly be a big, sensitive issue) meaning I’ll feel more comfortable dealing with it. There’s lots to learn about how energy markets operate across the UK, Ireland and the EU, and I’m already getting a flavour for that complexity!
As for Brexit, we can only hope that someone (Mrs. May…) presses the reset button on the timer to give us more time – because we’re not there. Personal and political views aside (another civil servant trick), ‘crashing out’ will be ugly and chaotic – and that’s my view from the inside.