The big news this week is that I have accepted a new – permanent – job. Well it is conditional on my security clearance being approved but that shouldn’t be a problem other than the time it takes.
This job hunt has been an interesting and somewhat chastising experience for me. The way the UKHSA contract ended had a bigger effect on me than I realised and without noticing it I initially abandoned many of the things I spent much of the last nine months deciding were healthier for my next role to avoid any future damage to my mental health.
Instead I found myself chasing either money or seniority (or both) in a lot of my applications and conversations despite only a few months ago being determined to let neither drive my decision. I am weak.
The interview I totally effed up was for a role that would have – without question – broken me. I’d love to say my terrible performance was due to my subconscious stepping in but I just think a combination of jetlag, rustiness and too much adrenaline was to blame there. Still it was a lucky escape.
Other roles I was offered were less extreme examples of being outside the healthy, sweet spot I had mentally designed for myself. A couple of them were really great – one was even outside of the public service space – but when I was honest with myself they were not the long term ‘home’ I was looking for.
The job I have accepted leaves a LOT of money on the table – I suspect I could have doubled the salary contracting…easily. It is however exactly the shape of role I would have described as being what I was looking for back in February when I started planning my return to work. It has the focus I was looking for, the kind of size of organisation I like, the level of seniority I prefer, I really liked the people who interviewed me and the work that has already been done in the team I’m joining there is stuff I admire and respect.
The big thing for me though was when I asked about the ambitions for the role/team I was told – “..we want this to be the best place to be – and learn to be – a product manager in the civil service” – I mean not sure that could be more aligned to my ambitions for my work.
I suspect a lot of people will think it is a counter-intuitive time to return to the Civil Service. The current Government clearly has an agenda that is less than supportive of the CS and job cuts are incoming. I’ve been through that before though and feel like with all the scar tissue I’ve established over the years that is the sort of thing I can help people through – the pastoral side of leadership in organisations is something I feel like I am decent at and enjoy.
The lead time for SC clearance is long at the moment so I have time to take my InterRail trip, enjoy my summer and to do a bunch of reading to get my product brain sharpened up. I am always thinking of heading to London to meet up with some folk in the run-in.