I hadn’t expected to continue this series on my career so soon; in my last entry, I had become Communications Coordinator for the Caldecott Foundation on eight hours a week, and that was where I intended to stay for a significant amount of time. I had originally planned to become a full-time job after resigning from Caldecott Fostering, but work clearly wasn’t done with me just yet.
I spent the next eleven months in quiet contentment; I moved up to 12 hours a week after a while and started doing some work in Fundraising alongside my communications role – being mentored. of course, as fundraising hadn’t ever been something I’ve done before. I was flattered to be asked, and to be in the same organisation that cared about my career was lovely. It felt good to still be working a few hours – where I could use my brain – and be totally available to Bryan as he adjusted to life back in school after that first lockdown … and the second … and the third …
But then something unexpected happened; I was approached by another fostering agency, who wanted me to go and work for them – part-time, albeit it with more hours than I was currently on. The focus was to be on a particular role that I had done before, along with all of the other administrative functions; because it had been such a busy role, I’d not always been able to give every part of it the attention it necessarily deserved. But here I was, being offered the chance to craft and shape something in an agency that was very local to home. On the other hand, of course, Caldecott has been brilliant to me; they had given me a home after I had resigned from the Fostering team and utterly supported my family ambitions. Whatever I decided to do, it was flattering to be asked, and if I’m honest, I was torn between my loyalty to Caldecott and my interest in this new opportunity – which would also mean I had the chance to work in an office again and be with people on a more frequent basis.
I thought about it a lot; I though about loyalty and dedication and new opportunities and working from home vs working in an office. I spent a long time rattling it around in my head, and sought advice from others as well. In the end, I decided to try it; to move to the new role. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my career; that is no exaggeration, and when I had to call my boss at Caldecott to break the news to him, that was one of the hardest things – professionally – that I had ever had to do; he, and the MD, had been nothing but decent, honourable, and supportive of me, and that was a hard piece of news to deliver. I could have tried to chicken out and send a email or some such, but that would have been disrespectful of our relationship.
He took it well, my boss; he was surprised, and gave me the decency of listening and discussing it with me in great depth – probably more depth than I felt I deserved at the time. He was everything I could have hoped for … and then, four weeks later, I took my leave of Caldecott. I could say “with a heavy heart,” but that might be too trite for words – although it’s certainly true.
So I moved to a fostering agency – the third agency I’d worked for in my career – and set to it; the team was welcoming and friendly, and I was intrigued by the differences as well as the similarities. It was nice to sink my teeth into something new, but …
But … I missed the Foundation and the work I did there in Communications. I missed that role and I missed the people. Had I made a mistake, I wondered? But I wasn’t going to just give up on the new role because of a sadness I felt; my new employer deserved my loyalty and dedication, and I gave it my all. They had every right to expect that of me. But … my heart wasn’t fully there, I suspect. A part of me hankered back to my previous employer, and the loyalty they had shown me; something was calling me back. I didn’t, however, think I would go back.
Eleven weeks after I left, however, I went back. Sounds counter-intuitive, perhaps? It wasn’t born out of any great campaign to push myself back there, but because I had a decent and honourable boss who had wished me well when I had left … and now explained to me how they hadn’t got anyone to fill my role yet (now amended to become Communications and Fundraising Officer); things had been too busy to conduct a proper search. Would I like to come back to where I belonged?
Once again, I was given a lot of decency and respect, which I hope I can repay a hundred-fold over the coming years. I was being offered my old position back – with an added bit on my job title which hadn’t been there before – and now I needed to have another difficult conversation, this time with my new employer. They weren’t expecting, after eleven weeks, for their newest member of staff to suddenly go with a week’s notice, but that’s what happened; I had to have another very difficult conversation, which again the managers dealt with respectfully; thank heavens.
I remain thankful to them for their courteousness, and I remain thankful that my relationship with Caldecott was still strong; I couldn’t imagine ever being so fortunate that I rejoined my old employer, with a decent amount of hours, without so much as a blink of an eye.
When I went into the office on my first week, I saw my boss and the MD there. I knew both of them – had worked with them over the past few years – but was a little nervous about seeing them again. I’d resigned from Caldecott to go elsewhere, and now I’d come back; how would they feel about that? But I should have known better, especially as I’d worked so closely with them for the past few years; it was like I had never left. I was greeted like it had been a day, not three months, since we’d last been together, and I felt settled; I felt at home.
So 2021 has been an interesting year for my career; I’ve had three job titles and two employers, two difficult conversations and wonderful support. These changes have helped me appreciate my work / life balance; when I planned to become a full-time dad back in 2020 for a while, Caldecott’s MD helped me see that there were different ways of managing my life … and I’ve never stopped learning. I am glad to be back where I belong, and I’m glad to have the relationships in work that I have.