Which ways can you go?
was her first question. She put my answers each on a sheet of paper. These were for me:
- “start own business”,
- “take a similar job with another organisation”, and
- “go contracting”
She put the paper on the floor and made me stand on one of my choosing.
Now comes the tricky bit. Step forward. Close your eyes. Your are 1 months into your chosen direction. How does it feel? [That is the important question: How does it feel!] Now here are my answers for “Go Contracting” [another note, your partner needs to take those notes or use your smartphone to record your ramblings]
- butterﬂies in my tummy
- a different environment
- and I’m not part of it
- and I will not become part of it
- people treat me the same
- although it feels different
Step forward again and this time 2 steps. Your are 1 year into your chosen direction. Same question, how does it feel? here are my answers again for “Go contracting”:
- new project – new organisation
- the process is the same, what I do is putting things into place and not seeing what it will deliver long term
- it is a different feeling than being in full time employment
- I used to develop an attachment to the people I’m working with, I care for the team and the outcomes. I fear this becomes just a job.
- I’m still dedicated to deliver and to make things work.
Now you see, this is a journey in your head. I need to be honest with myself – no kidding allowed. The process is about trust and fear and feelings.
Step forward again. This time 3 steps and you are 3 years in the future. Answer again to “How does it feel?”
- things have changed
- contract working feels like driving different cars for different people but still driving
- need to plan for breaks, I can get consumed in work and there is still the fear a long break makes it harder to get back into it
- it is different when full time employed you have your leave entitlements and your role to go back to.
- becoming respected in the field – it’s like an “extended” team I often work with people I met before
- it is going alright
- things changed
Now, repeat the process with each of the directions you imagined at the start. Review what felt best or right, “yes I want this!” or “No, too uncertain”. Sleep on it. Discuss again. Discuss with others.
Decide and Act. Remember, if it doesn’t work out – stop and start again 😉
We played this little game 2 weeks ago. On Friday I got a phone call asking me if I’m interested in a contracting role. It’s a 3-4 months commitment. Not quite what I imagined but close.