Back in August this year, I was looking for part-time permanent jobs in the HR space (and don’t even start me on how much of an uphill battle that was). I interviewed with a large consulting firm who LOVED me and dispatched me off to do those infernal aptitude tests—verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning.
About a week later, the recruiter from the firm called me. I was in hospital for appendicitis at the time, recovering from having my guts spilled out of my body (momentarily of course, before they popped them back in). She told me I had scored “off the charts” for verbal and numerical, but had (and I’m putting words into her mouth here) failed my abstract reasoning test with flying colours. I knew I’d done badly at the time, but stupidly thought my lack of ability to predict the next block in a series of patterns (which I dislike and have never been good at) may be overlooked because I rocked at, well, everything else.
She told me the partners of the firm had decided not to proceed with my recruitment as they “couldn’t position me for success” or some other cock and bull & condescending HR rhetoric.
They couldn’t have done me any bigger a favour.
When I look back at 2013, I think of that experience and how I simply would not have been happy as a remuneration consultant for a large firm. I probably wouldn’t have hated it, but in a way, that icky in-between like-but-not-like state of career ennui is worse. At least if you know you hate something, you can change it.
The lack of part-time jobs (ergo lack of any job that was vaguely challenging or didn’t have solving stupid pattern puzzles as a requirement for it) also forced me to think entirely out of the box. I got creative and started down a path I probably should have embarked on 20 years ago—writing and editing. It’s not as lucrative as working in corporate HR and I am freelancing which is a little scary, but it’s what I’m instinctively born to do. DUH. Only took me 20 years to work that shit out.
I have just finished a stint curating and editing UXmas, the User Experience community’s geeky advent calendar. Apart from having to manage some diva types, it was amazing—I felt truly HAPPY, like I’d returned home after doing corporate HR for 12 years. My HR experience wasn’t wasted, in fact it helped me do all the author management finagling.
I love being able to work when it suits me, in my PJs if I want to, with one hand on the laptop and one hand on the coffee machine. I am working with WORDS every day, manipulating them, making them sound lyrical whilst retaining the author’s voice. It’s not for everyone, working for yourself, and no doubt there will be peaks and troughs, but it’s for ME.
2013 was my year of revelation.
I lost an appendix and found a career.