I've only just started back as a student (again) but I am already thinking ahead to the end... It feels like a long way away, five years from now. I'm doing a PhD, looking at the history and development of television cooking shows in Britain. I'm doing it part-time while I continue with my consultancy work too. It'll be a juggle, but with some planning I know I can manage.
This week though my mind has been set on the thesis that I will submit all those years ahead. Not so much what I will ay, or how I will say it, more about how I will reference the articles, archives and associated information I gather along the way. First time round at University I never gave it a second thought. Zoom forward 30 years, things are very different.
When I did my Masters a couple of years ago, I kept a note of my references and added them all manually at the end of my work. I liked to check it over and make sure they were all there. It was a system that worked for me, during the three months of my dissertation. This time though I face having five years worth of notes. Do I trust myself to be THAT organised?
During an induction meeting with the Librarian, she asked me which software I'd be using to collate my references? It hadn't been something I'd even considered, not something I even knew existed. When I was first at University we did all our searches on Microfiche and I scribbled things down on scraps of paper. Everything has changed.
So, I signed up for a training session to help me get my head round the software, the 'new' (to me) system and to help plan the background work to my research over the next five years. It's hard learning to do things differently. It's hard thinking about things in new ways. However I am hopeful that in five years time I will look back with relief that I did. If you need some help to think differently, or to plan strategically, maybe I can help...
Volunteering. Many of us give our time freely where, and when, we can - whether it be formal or informal. However it seems that people can be a little bit shy in discussing it. Well, on social media at least. Is it #Humblebragging or is it an important part of our society, our make-up and our lives that we really should be talking about more?
Volunteering has always been a part of my working life. When I graduated (first time around) from University, I spent a year in two different full-time volunteer roles working , and living, with adults living with disabilities in and around London. This led me into a career in health and social care, and, I think, gave me a solid set of core values which has held me in great stead ever since.
I still volunteer today. I'm an active Board member for a growing Asthma Music charity, No Strings Attached Scotland, and also for Volunteer Scotland. It was at the Volunteer Scotland Board session last week, which was also the AGM, that I was involved in a discussion about sharing stories of volunteering through social media. We heard from a variety fo European partners that people were less keen to post about their volunteering activity, for fear that it seemed 'self-serving'.
The European partnership found that before starting to volunteer, people felt volunteering was about being altruistic, helping others and making a difference. Indeed it can be all of those things. Afterwards, people reflected that they gained more personal benefits from volunteering, new skills, social connections, meeting new people and simply having fun.
Volunteering for me is about all the things. I want to participate. I'm passionate about inclusion. I value my own well-being. I want to be connected to my community, and communities. I want to be involved. I want to talk about it. I want to hear what other people do in terms of volunteering. I think it's important to encourage more, where we can. Do you volunteer? Or do you work with volunteers? If you want to talk about it, or you think I can help in anyway, please do get in touch.
A Year. Twelve months. Three hundred and sixty-five days. We all say that 'time flies' when you are having fun, but really this past year has whizzed by. It's been a year of change for me, a year of doing things differently, a year of working differently. A year ago I started my own consultancy business, leaving almost thirty years of full-time employment.
It's been quite an adventure. From my very first clients, who entrusted me to work with them to plot out better futures to the many inspiring people and dazzling organisations I have met along the way, who have all helped, I am so grateful.
It's not all been plain sailing. I've spent the year wisely. Figuring out what kinds of opportunities I really want to explore. Some I've been able to. Others have passed my by, this time. They've all been valuable. They've all been important. They've all been worthwhile, for me and for the clients too. I hope.
One of the mean reasons I took the plunge and decided to start my own consultancy was the prospect of being able to work more flexibly, both for my own health and wellbeing, and also to allow me to follow other interests. Over the year I've been busy continuing my academic research, and applying for opportunities to support it. This week, I start my PhD. I am thrilled, and slightly apprehensive all at the same time. I'll be researching part-time for the next five years or so, and continuing my consultancy alongside. My plans have become reality this year, but I know the real trick is to keep things going...
Planning. Reviewing. Developing. Being Strategic. These are all the skills that I bring to my work, whether it's consultancy or research. These are the things that I've helped other organisations to achieve over this first year. These are the things I've used to help myself over this first year. These are the things I will continue to help more organisations with over the coming years. Will it be you? If you think I can help you, please do get in touch.
HI, I'm Kevin and Third Quarter is my Consultancy. Follow my adventures here...