It has been over a month and as announced I have now left the UK for the Republic of Ireland. I don’t think I have made many changes in such a short time in a long while: I have left what always was my dream job. And I have emigrated from the country in which I always wanted to live to try something new. Change does not come much bigger than this.
Taking back control
I am in the unusual position in my life where I can take the time to contemplate my options. I know, it sounds precarious to rethink my life if in the middle of a pandemic. Or maybe now is the right time to do so. I’m fairly uncertainty avoidant, and moving to another country without a firm job offer may feel daunting. But it doesn’t. I think it has to do do with the fact that my new circumstances are almost entirely of my choosing. Four years of Brexit related anxiety have been pushed aside. Now I feel – for the first time since the dreaded referendum – like I am taking control again.
Mission to Mars
It felt a bit like planning a Mars mission. Two humans and a cat (all bearing EU passports), on a two-day road trip through a pandemic-stricken wilderness. We were also moving to a house that we never had a chance to visit before. I am pretty sure some will find that uncomfortably daring. But it has paid off. I am now working from a house in a lovely location on the EU side of the Irish border. We are surrounded by mountains and , normally once per day, our neighbour’s horses visit our garden. Maybe I have become less uncertainty avoidant after all. The idyllic setting surely helps manage any anxiety about the future. I haven’t landed on Mars, but some lush and green class M planet from Star Trek.
My new normal
In terms of how I structure my day, little has changed. I get up early, I lift weights, and then I work from home. Very much like when I had a job in the UK. The work I do is much more varied now. I am embarking on a portfolio career based on what I experience as professionally rewarding. I work as an enterprise adviser at an academy school in the UK, I create content, I mentor and advise start-ups (mostly in the education space), and I work on those collaborations with peers I’ve never had time or opportunity to. I’m also looking for part-time, temporary, or interim roles where I can put my expertise in educational service design or leadership to good use. If any of this chimes with you, hit me up and let’s talk.
Our new normal
The pandemic has shown that many knowledge workers can work from anywhere. And that employers often have to catch up with the flexibility their employees both demand and deliver. This is where I see my new mission: to explore and help shape our collective new normal. I think the old order was broken, and its inadequacies became apparent in the Covid crisis. But we may end up having to defend the gains we made against the wish to just restore our previous ‘normality’. I wish to share the benefits of being able to work from anywhere. Let’s work asynchronously and better adapted to our needs, and to commute and consume less. I recognise that breaking the old order has wreaked havoc on many lives. Yet, I attribute this more to the old order being socially and economically unjust. So, we need to establish our new normal on more flexible and sustainable terms.
To boldly go
This is what I intend to pursue with this blog in the future. I am going to move from a retrospective on what I have learnt recently to how I envision our new normal to look like. Many of my predictions will end up being wrong, so I hope for robust debate as we explore this together.
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