So I picked up my banjo and walked out of the door for the last time. My time at CRAC came to an end with the gift of a great (but eccentric) leaving present and some kind words (and of course an evening down the pub).
Breaking up is hard to do sang Neil Sedaka and leaving a job is very definitely a kind of breaking up. You spend more time with your work colleagues than you do with your partner so when that comes to an end it is obviously difficult to say goodbye.
I recently wrote about transitions on the Vitae Research Staff blog and it all seems rather sharper now that I’m actually transitioning myself. However, I suppose the point that I was trying to make was that career and life are both processes of constant transition. We are always moving from place to place, time to time and conversation to conversation. We may have moments that mark this off (like starting or ending a job) but the process of transition is always with us.
My relationship with CRAC demonstrates this in a number of ways. I first became aware of CRAC when I tutored on the Insight Plus courses. These were experiential training course focused on employability skills and career and I guess that they got me started in my whole adventure in career development. The course that we ran at Leicester eventually transmogrified itself into the Leicester Award which is still going strong. However, before this I had the opportunity to meet quite a few people from CRAC and discover that somewhere deep in the heart of Cambridge there was an organisation that spent its time thinking up ideas about skills, training and experiential learning. “I wonder what it would be like to work for them?” I thought.
A year or so later I moved jobs within the University of Leicester to run the University’s postgraduate training programme. Pretty soon I got invited to the launch of What do PhDs do? which blew my mind. I thought it was great both because it demonstrated that my own career was more usual than I’d realised (yippee I’m not a freak or a failure) but also because it demonstrated the power of research in the generation of educational resources. I then joined the Midlands Hub, went to numerous UK GRAD events and conferences and tutored on a GRADschool. These were all great learning experiences for me and were all good fun and an opportunity to meet some nice people.
Without planning it I was transitioning myself into working for CRAC. I was building contacts, understanding the organisation and its agenda and developing the knowledge and experience that would ultimately get me the job. Obviously this was only one of many, many possibilities, but it seemed like a good one and so when a job came up I jumped at it.
I then spent 18 happy months working for CRAC. I was developing the Vitae programme, but I also had the opportunity to watch colleagues building the icould website and resources. CRAC was still generating some pretty exciting stuff, and I’m sure it will go on generating lots more stuff at the cutting edge of careers education.
So now I’ve moved on to iCeGS transitioning to something new and exciting. However, I hope that I’ll be able to keep a lot of the contacts and interests that I developed while at CRAC. I wonder if this is one of the features of a professional career – that you take your friends with you, that the network and the knowledge become more important than the employer or the job, that continuity sits next to transition as being a defining characteristic of career.
Could just be that I’m terrible at saying goodbye…