Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Putting myself out there

As you probably already know, I have been dealt a series of severe professional blows since July this year. The consequence of this could very well be the demise of my business (barring a miracle, that is). As a consequence, I have been applying for 'proper' jobs in order to keep paying the bills, while - hopefully - being able to continue doing the job I love (although I am quite open to considering alternatives). This has been a very interesting exercise.

I have made full use of automated searches to track down potential jobs, and - to be fair - there have been several likely candidates every day. What has been disappointing is the realisation that the first line screeners on the other end are totally ill-equipped for the job. Of course, they probably know nothing about my field, and so they are utterly unable to say "Ah! She has oodles of experience of X. That maps across perfectly to the advertiser's requirement for Y." To them, X only equals X. As a consequence, I have had 'bong' emails in respect of jobs I could do standing on my head with one hand tied behind my back, jobs that may as well have included my name in the job description... sometimes within minutes of submitting the application.

So the method has its flaws. As a consequence, I thought I'd put the boot on the other foot. It may or may not work. I thought I'd advertise myself as a potential employee, and see whether that works any better.

My CV is online, so I won't bore you with that. Instead, let me tell you what I'd like to do and where I might like to do it:

  • As my pseudonym (learning anorak) implies, I am passionate about learning, and passionate about learners. I am an enabler 'tot in my murg in', as we say in Afrikaans (down to the marrow). I will go to great lengths to help people reach a new place in their journey, whether it be personal or professional. Can there be a better way to end a day than to know you gave someone a leg up to something they couldn't access before? My husband and I head up a ministry in our church that seeks out and gets to know visitors and first timers, invites them over for a meal, and introduces them to people with shared interests. This is not unlike my approach to learning solutions. Find the people. Learn about them: what they do, what they need. Put them in touch with the right people and/or the right information.
  • I can see myself helping an organisation streamline its learning and development provision, un-bottle-necking the L&D team, and embedding learning in the workflow. Taking learning to the point of need so that when Joe Bloggs hits a bump in the road during his day job, he can access the answer, implement it and get on with his life. That would be my dream job!
  • I'd love to work with people/organisations who are venturing out into the realms of using social media, either for corporate/commercial identity purposes, or as learning tools. I would like to help people overcome their fear. For many years, I taught rank beginners how to use computer apps, and found it enormously rewarding. I have a knack for taking the unknown and relating it back to the already known.
  • I have worked with and for global non-profits, collectives, small-to-medium private businesses, public sector organisations, a further education college and FTSE100 blue chips. I have no objection to going back to any of those sectors. I have never actually worked for a university, but, during my Master's degree studies often thought how much I would love to help faculty members move into the spaces their students already occupy (and some that they don't), to harness the learning potential of those.
  • I'd like to work at the Open University. I visited them some years ago, and was struck by how much everyone seems to enjoy working there. I remarked on this to one manager, who agreed, saying "We have our fair share of part-timers, full-timers and never-go-homers." I relish the idea of working in an environment where people get so caught up in what they're doing, that they occasionally forget to go home. Being something of a workafrolic myself (yes, you can 'borrow' that term, I did), I can relate to this.
So there you have it. Any potential recruiters out there looking for a person like me, you know where to find me.

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