to feel completely demoralised about work and ask your advice

(13 Posts)
unmapped Tue 23-Jun-15 09:58:09

I work as a freelance consultant in the public sector. Things have been getting harder and harder for a few years, but I live in London and have always been able to find work. I work with communities and really believe in what I do.

But now all the work has dried up. Today I got news that another piece of funding has been pulled. I feel completely worn down with the effort of it all - I think this work is important, and I want it to happen. And I am also worried about how to pay the rent.

5 years ago, the situation was similar (but not nearly so bad), and I felt energised to carry on doing the same, important work even if times were hard. But the work is linked to government policy and the message has changed so much that the core purpose of my work is being undermined - we are being asked to reframe everything in terms of 'investment' and 'opportunity' (rather than 'support' and 'community'), and I just don't believe in it any more.

5 years ago I didn't have a family to support, either. I'm the main breadwinner (DP is disabled). There is nothing else I have ever wanted to do, and I wouldn't even know where to start with retraining. What do I do? Where can I go for careers advice?

ilovesooty Tue 23-Jun-15 10:01:03

The National Careers Service offers web facilities and free face to face sessions with an adviser.

unmapped Tue 23-Jun-15 10:06:41

oh wow that is actually amazing! thanks

ilovesooty Tue 23-Jun-15 10:08:33

Oh and I suggest looking on Amazon for "What Color is Your Parachute" to get you thinking about where to go from here. Good luck.

LineRunner Tue 23-Jun-15 10:14:34

I'm in an analogous situation to yours, OP, but to the extent of now being 'between jobs'. The fixed term contracts I used to do either in academic or public sector environments no longer seem to exist.

It is worrying - and I am furiously trying to think up Plans B and C.

I'll be having a look at the National Careers Service website, too. Thanks, sooty!

unmapped Tue 23-Jun-15 10:18:44

It's some consolation to know I'm not alone LineRunner! Ironically, despite the community focus of my working practice, the field is very competitive and everyone broadcasts their projects on social media, which is making me feel even worse ...

goldenhen Tue 23-Jun-15 10:18:59

I used to work in the community development sector until 2011, it felt like it was changing a lot then but I imagine it's even worse now and could be a more depressing place. I then moved to an international development charity, then to a research centre in academia and now I'm in an arts charity. I'm fundraising/marketing so I appreciate it's a bit easier for me to move than some people, but if I were you - unless you're dead set on staying freelance - I would consider looking for a salaried position in a non-profit organisation (charity, think-tank, university) where your skills would be of benefit. I guess Third Sector job ads would be a good place to start.

There are some specialist research units looking at similar issues around social exclusion and inequality (e.g. LSE has CASE (Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion) but there will be others!) which might be worth a look? Or places like the RSA, IPPR etc. Maybe do a bit of research about the sorts of organisations you would like to work for and see if they're advertising any jobs or public lectures/networking events where you could meet someone who works there for a chat?

goldenhen Tue 23-Jun-15 10:20:27

Oh and housing, if you've done any work around housing that is going to blow up any minute (depressingly) but your skills may well be needed e.g. in housing associations etc.

ilovesooty Tue 23-Jun-15 10:27:22

I'd also look at different third sector / charities that interest you and sign up for their news letters and job updates as well as updating your CV to reflect your transferable skills when you've decided which area of work you'd like to consider.

DorisLessingsCat Tue 23-Jun-15 10:33:24

Community Development has changed utterly so if you haven't changed with it then you will be stuck. I'm not saying you have to - especially if you were driven by ideals - but the reality is you have to pay the rent.

I would recommend taking a completely cold and dispassionate look at your skills and experience and how they could apply to other jobs / sectors. Project development & management, fundraising, communications...

The book "Who moved my cheese" is useful for people who's whole industry has shifted. But basically don't take it personally, don't get stuck in the past and don't chase familiar but dwindling business. Look at where the market is going / growing and focus your efforts there.

twentyten Tue 23-Jun-15 10:40:01

Really agree with other posters- who moved my cheese is excellent as is what colour is your parachute. You will have to refocus , rebrand and do something else. The cheese has run out. Interim posts? Transferable skills? Charities etc? Housing associations? This will be tough but you have to earn. Good luck.

unmapped Tue 23-Jun-15 10:42:14

Thanks, everyone! Not done any work in housing, goldenhen, but you're right that it is going to blow up soon.

This is all really good, practical advice, thank you. I could definitely look at other third sector organisations. Maybe signing up for their newsletters will reignite my passion and interest in the field.

I wish I had done all this about three months ago, when I wasn't quite so desperate for money though ...

LineRunner Tue 23-Jun-15 11:05:23

It was a major psychological boost for me sitting down and putting the work in to updating my CV. In fact I have five CVs now, each tailored to a different focus, and each already matching me up to the typical person spec and essential criteria of that industry / type of organisation. I feel a bit more in control now!

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