“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” Francis Bacon

What’s the best way to ‘move on’ from The Job? And ‘exactly how’ do you get started?

Well, here’s me – not long retired, and, (like many of you), finding my way in the big wide world, finally out of an organisation that has been part of my life for more than 30 years

I’m lucky enough to have found work – in a Development role in the Overseas Territories – and I am lucky enough to be having a busy time doing it. I am sure you will agree that it’s truly a daunting proposition; to finally face the light at the end of the tunnel, only to find that it’s an express train coming the other way!

If only there was somewhere to find advice and guidance on the transition ….

Towards the end of my pensionable service (and certainly in the last 18 months in my current job), I found myself getting more and more involved in assessment and recruitment. It was a sound experience that ultimately assisted in my own search for work and I continue to learn a great deal from still being involved in the process.

As a result, I have often (happily) been able to point former colleagues to places where they might find guidance and support in finding work after The Job. I’ve also recently been interviewing hopefuls for jobs following retirement, and listening to friends and colleagues despair – in fear of their future when their time is up. Personally, I empathise; I too spent time worrying about my own future, once I was “free”…. It’s not a nice feeling, but help is out there….

Blogging for PiPs – and others – allows me to share my experiences; so, for me, the above quote is a good place to start. I’ll reiterate: making your own opportunities is wiser than hoping they will turn up.

By all means, hope that the phone will ring; hope your mate in HR will give you the nod regarding that civilian role you had your eye on. Hope that the economy will pick up; hope that the morning post will be full of job offers. Hope that you’ll be inundated with anxious employers wanting to offer you work. Keep hoping, because without hope, there is only despair.

But, in the middle of our Bacon sandwich, I offer another pithy observation – the meat in the middle, if you like:

  “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”Francis Bacon

 Amongst the things I have learned since I left is the fact that it’s hard to shake The Job off. It gets under your skin (see my earlier blog on “How You Know You’ve Left The Job”). If you’re used to having a structure to your day, a hierarchy to give direction and (hopefully) protect you when things go a bit wobbly, then, having left, you may find that there’s A Bit Of A Gap In Your World. There’s just YOU – no direction, no instruction and (unless you seek it out), no support.

Colleagues in a similar position have likened it to a flywheel suddenly running free. The power is still there, but it’s not being applied to anything and there’s a sense that it “should” be doing “something”, as it imperceptibly runs down.

Consider, then, that life is not a rehearsal. Working shifts – or doing the old 9-5 – meant that your workdays were pretty much organised. You could usually contribute without thinking about it, but now things are different and that’s why Bacon’s last observation – the final slice of wholemeal – is the most appropriate (and even kind of festive!):  

 “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake…” Francis Bacon

If you want to work, if you have to work, then – trust me – you need to get on with it!

Call PiPs, call somebody. Realise that the competition has already begun. Like you, there’s several tens of thousands of ex-cops out there, many of them sitting watching Jeremy Kyle and marking the passage of their day by the BBC 1 O’clock News (been there, done that!). They’re not all looking for work, but more and more of them are, right now. It’s a saturated market, often serving the first in the queue.

Please, enjoy my “Bacon Sandwich”, but make the changes you need right away; ask yourself, are you ‘making opportunities’ or are you just ‘hoping’ something will change? Are you ‘doing what you want to do’ right now or are you waiting until the weather clears up….?

Happy New Year!

Carl Mason