We’re delighted to introduce a guest blog from Lily Dwek. Lily was one of the first charityworks high fliers, and is now a charityworks trustee. She is also a member of the Third Sector Women Network
Interest. Passion. Fun. Progress. I’m thinking about what motivates me in my career. It’s all of these things, of course. Oh, and probably (if I’m honest) money too.
I’m also thinking about the jobs that I have done in the past and the job I’m about to start next week.
I’m thirty-something, a single girl about town. I own my own flat and a car that makes a horrible grinding noise in cold weather. And when dinner-party guests ask me what I do, I say: ‘I’m in marketing, I work for a charity.’
Usually, with no experience of working in the Third Sector and therefore not sure how to reply, people say, rather warily: ‘Oh that must be interesting’ in the same way they would describe an abstract painting that they don’t understand.
What I really want them to say is: ‘Wow, you must feel really passionate about what you do,’ or ‘Gosh, that must be fun’. After all, I’m a marketing manager, working in the Third Sector. That’s something special, isn’t it?
Working in the Third Sector offers opportunities that people in the commercial world seldom enjoy. There’s more openness and cross-sector communication than you might find in, say, the competitive world of advertising, where I worked previously.
I’ve recently completed a year-long programme called Charityworks, It’s a management training programme run by Vanilla, and is the first of its kind in the Third Sector. With ample opportunities for peer-to-peer networking, workshops and lectures giving a 360-degree view of the charity world, it has given me a push in defining my future career.
Through a wide range of sessions and written assignments, it has given the dozen-or-so participants professional recognition, with Institute of Leadership Management accreditation. I’ve gained knowledge in subjects I would not normally come across in my day-to-day role, such as the responsibilities we hold over volunteers (a session run by Volunteering UK) or charity compliance (a seminar led by the Charity Commission).
It’s all about the bigger picture and how you can shape your future and the course has given me the confidence and tools to expand my career – first of all by leaving a secure job in one organisation to take on a temporary maternity cover in order to learn new skills yet with no guarantee of it becoming permanent and, more recently, by joining Comic Relief to set up a new department and team.
My new role offers interest, passion, fun and progress – and that’s what I’m looking for.
I’m going to ask a few other people, mostly those I have met through peer-to-peer networking on the Charityworks programme, what they feel about working in the Third Sector and how they see their careers. It’s great that we’ve been able to stay in touch and offer each other work-related advice through informal Action Learning sessions, something that we organise ourselves as a way of sticking together. You’ll be able to read their blogs in the coming weeks.
If you haven’t heard of Charityworks, shame on you. I would explain more, but it’s time to catch the tube to work. In the meantime, have a look at: www.charity-works.co.uk