Six Pay Days Out – What They Don’t Tell You at ‘Outplacement School’ – The Great Things

June 28, 2016

By Donie Wiley

I left the organisation I joined from school after 35 years in December 2015.  It was to some extent a journey into the unknown, one I had prayed for but one I was so frightened of when it did arrive.  I was leaving behind what I had done for nearly 60% of my life (all of my adult life) in an organisation I had a deep connection to professionally and a group of colleagues I was emotionally connected to as friends, confidantes, minders, mentors and the rest.  In simple terms, I wondered how much my job defined me, including the salary I earned, and how deeply vested I was in it and what it stood for.

While I have previously blogged on the negative things that happened to me when I left, I felt it wouldn’t be fair or balanced not to talk about the ‘days in the sun’ or the things I have really enjoyed and didn’t expect, maybe they will inspire or positively provoke you in the time ahead wherever you are in your life’s journey.

I have been impressed for a long time by a quote from Nelson Mandela who said, when alive, he never loses, he ‘only wins or learns’.  This was in the forefront of my mind on that first Winter morning when I didn’t have to leave for work, a journey I had undertaken so many times before, maybe a trip I had grown a little tired off to a place that was also just a little jaded with me.

For the longest time, as part of self-development focus, I had decided I would undertake some voluntary work.  I had a couple of reasons for wishing to do this, the first noble and philanthropic and the second practical and focussed on my own future.  I wanted to help and give but I also needed to see if I could still work in areas I had worked in previously in my career including human resources, learning and development and project delivery.

I was fortunate early on to partner with a fantastically impressive overseas charity and a small but ambitious community based children’s group.  I have learnt so much working with them and for them, not least their absolute and resolute focus on what is right and best for their customers, clients and end users.  Their clarity of purpose is phenomenal and something I believe commercial and public organisations could gain from.  Where I was able to help (I hope), and it continues with one of them, is to support the practical and vital, but often underestimated, delivery of their respective strategies to best effect drawing on and encouraging the many skilled and talented people they have in their own teams.  For me it was about my ‘pursuit of potential agenda’ but with people who were focussed on a compelling greater good and I found that fantastically inspiring.

When I left I was also part way through a programme in UCD’s Innovation Academy around entrepreneurial education – I have recently finished the first section and I have found this programme to be been extremely interesting and challenging, I said recently as part of feedback on the programme that I have am so impressed with ‘the amount of encouragement, stimulation, challenge and acceptance I have encountered to be really important and has given me as really positive and strong base in which to move forward (in terms of my training and teaching practice).”  It had come at a great time for me and the ‘space’ to learn in a considered and deeper way was amongst the best things I have done.

Both of these experiences as well as some other self-reflection, courses and programmes I undertook, have relit my curiosity and thirst for learning and contribution to causes of a higher nature which you sometimes have to forego in a busy role and life.  That relighting for me is in the future having wider and varied opportunity to do different things, with different groups, that make a real difference in places that work to authentic values and in pursuit of a greater good.  For me it is about a third age of promise and intrigue as to how it will develop and shape, I’ll let you know how I get on.

Donie Wiley is Founder and MD of In Pursuit if Potential ( an advisory company focused on individual and team development through a journey of authentic leadership.  

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