Spring has sprung and I have crawled out of my cave after my hibernation, stretched, squinted at the sun, taken a deep breath and decided I am ready to face the world again.
My sabbatical lasted a little longer than planned due to reasons but actually that extra time and the issues that caused it forced some clarity into what I really wanted to do next so it has turned into a bit of a blessing.
So for the foreseeable future I’ve set myself some ‘rules of engagement for engagements’
- One client at a time – carefully selected
- Coaching or interim roles – not day-to-day delivery or bad cop consultancy
- Focus on people, principles and processes
- Four days a week (at the most)
- A proper break at the end of each engagement
What I realised was that it wasn’t the kind of work I was doing that was wrecking me as much as the lack of control over the what and where of it as a consultant. The reality of that game is you are always juggling and you never really have any control. You win what you win and you go where you are most needed (and profitable). It is certainly never boring but the cognitive strain of all the context switching takes a toll – certainly on me.
The work I enjoyed most over the last four years were the interim gigs at the BBC and then Essex so I decided to double down on that.
So my first role in this new phase of my career is going to be with the UK Health Security Agency – formed from the merger of Public Health England and Test and Trace – as their interim Head of Product for a while.
I have been in awe of the work the teams have done over the last couple of years in their various incarnations – in the most difficult of circumstances. I am thrilled to get the opportunity to contribute a bit as the organisation emerges from Covid crisis mode and sets itself up for the future. There are a bunch of people I know, respect and trust dotted around the organisation – from senior roles to delivery posts which gives me confidence in the ambition while having no illusions of the hard yards ahead.
So I’m reminding myself how to use Teams, weaning myself off Netflix, practising swearing less and bringing the Sharpies and Post-Its out of hiding.
Time to get back in the game.