Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Laws of Serendipity

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;"

When hubby and I were on holiday a couple of years back we were walking along a beach on the Arbroath coast and saw an entrance to what looked like a cave.

We got to the entrance and stared into the pitch blackness in front of us. It could have been infinite. We had only the faint flash on hubby's phone to guide us through and had no idea of the terrain we would face under-foot or if it even led anywhere. We shuffled into the entrance, me squeezing his hand so hard as if letting go of it would see me somehow plunged into the murky depths of hell. Onward we shuffled, upwards, further into the darkness until we began to bear left, tracing the wall as we went. On a sharp bend in the wall suddenly it was there, right in front of us as if it always had been - light!

The S-shape of the cave meant that light couldn't pass around the corners and resulted in the pitch-blackness we entered into. In fact, the cave was very short and joined on to another secret beach at the other side which was like a little private oasis. What originally seemed like such a frightening prospect (I'm petrified of the dark) turned out to be short-lived and unworthy of such fear.

As my head begins to fill up with thoughts about studying business and how to go about it, I sort of feel like I'm at the mouth of the cave again. It's pitch black. I've no idea what the terrain is like. I've even less idea what's on the other side of it, but if I stay where I am I'll always be where I've always been.

And so I'm taking this leap of faith and stepping into an unknown world. Having experienced what can be on the other side of the cave, I freely admit to feeling a bit excited at where this might lead, but I'm also fearful that with no glimmer of light to guide me, I might just lose my footing.

Monday, 25 August 2014

... Of Mice And Men

"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!"

My life never ceases to astound me.

In the last eighteen months it has become an unrecognisable beast barely resembling its former self. I just had to roll with the punches as they were blown at me, ducking for cover when needed and grappling to adapt to the new arena I found myself fighting in.

I didn't finish my Masters degree at Durham uni. I had to withdraw from my second degree at the OU. I don't work for the building firm I'd spent nine years at and I'm now a married woman.

A lot can change in eighteen months. I found that out during what turned out to be the most dichotomous time of my life. I won't go into detail because it's neither necessary nor interesting. Suffice to say my life is somewhat different now, some in a positive way and some in a negative way. But even the negatives aren't necessarily bad.

In February 2013 I got made redundant. The firm I'd been at for just shy of nine years no longer had a place for me and so I was given eight weeks to find a new job. After five weeks I started a new job as an analyst for a private medico-legal firm and as of this month I find myself a newly appointed deputy team manager looking after a team of thirty on the path to becoming a team manager.

Where did that come from? How did I find myself suddenly involved in the world of business? One minute I'm studying with the hope of becoming a social science researcher and then I find myself doing daily MI reports and worrying about SLAs and talking about my team in terms of FTEs. How did my career take such a big turnaround, and most importantly, how do I feel about it?

The truth is, I'm annoyed. I'm annoyed that I'm enjoying this job far more than any I've had before. I'm annoyed that I'm looking forward to what the coming months have in store for me. I'm annoyed because I'd never considered business as a potential career option before and I'm actually really enjoying it.

I remember my schoolmates taking Business Studies as a GCSE option and me sniggering at them behind their backs because it sounded so boring. Twenty years later they're having the last laugh because now my thoughts are turning toward resuming my efforts at an education but - to coin the American phrase - switching majors to Business.

A great and inspirational friend of mine has an MBA - the ultimate accolade for an aspiring business student. She works for The Open University and so was able to gain the qualification at no cost - one of the many perks of working for such a brilliant institution. Unfortunately for me, an MBA would come at a very high price, somewhere in the region of £15,000 (which I simply cannot afford). So for now, a self-funded MBA is out of the question.

So. If I want to continue my educational journey and delve deeper into the world of business what are my alternatives?