The challenges and rewards of moving sector

I have worked in the not for profit (NFP) and public sectors for most of my career, all stemming from a rather self-conscious teenage desire to ‘do good’. Both of my parents were passionate and committed biology teachers and the difference they made is clear when we meet former students who are now healthcare professionals or teachers themselves. So when I considered my future career, I wanted to make an impact too.

That was then…
In most of my roles I’ve had the opportunity to work with fantastic organisations, inspiring causes, and amazing people. As well as enjoying some very unique experiences – including shaving the head of a Sydney Swans football player – I’ve met an Archbishop of Canterbury and two Australian Prime Ministers. Oh, and a very lovely Pop Idol winner! 

But there has been a cost to all this. For me, there seems to be a heightened risk of anxiety and stress when working for a cause that I really care about. Particularly when regular contact with people affected by the cause you are working for is part of the job. It’s all too easy to get overly emotionally invested, and I don’t think I am the only one affected by this.

…this is now
An agency is certainly not where I wanted to be as a young woman, when Ab Fab only propagated the myth of PR as a group of airheads obsessed by champagne and appearance. But life circumstances have led me to Transform Communications, a marketing, communications and PR consultancy in beautiful Bradford on Avon. And I love it! 

We work with private, public and NFP organisations, in the case of the latter often on a pro bono basis. I manage a huge variety of projects from developing marketing strategies and thought leadership campaigns to website builds and content generation. I am never bored and after nearly two years I am still engaged, interested and (healthily) invested in what I do.

It’s not what I thought
So why is that? I am lucky enough to be working in a very supportive team with an energetic (and sometimes exhausting!) leader. We do have a coffee machine, communal lunches and a nice office, but the culture is what makes it so special.

 In addition, the organisations and individuals we work with are all innovative, clever and incredibly interesting. Whether it’s entrepreneurs, life coaches, training providers, psychologists that get the best out of people or technology solutions to help people work smarter. What we all have in common is the desire to make lives, and more specifically working lives, better. (And that includes beautiful recycled plastic plant pots that transform offices and homes into greener and healthier places.)

Happy work, happy life
I know from personal experience just how unhappy work can make you. This has a knock-on effect on all other aspects of your life, including your relationships. But working with organisations and individuals who are trying to make lives better is incredibly fulfilling, whatever sector they are in. What do you think and what are your experiences of working and moving across public, private and NFP sectors?

Here I am happily doing some “creative thinking” in the office... Because it’s as important to find time to think inside the box as outside of it!

Here I am happily doing some “creative thinking” in the office... Because it’s as important to find time to think inside the box as outside of it!