After considering a career move for some time and exploring new opportunities, at last, you're invited to an interview. You’ve faced your fears and carefully prepared, and after an excruciating wait, discover you’ve nailed your dream job. You feel on top of the world!
Temporarily. There’s just one small thing left to tackle… leaving your current one.
For this month’s guest post, Nicola is exploring why resigning can feel painful, how to do it gracefully and avoid making a spectacle of yourself at your leaving do.
There’s a quote I like by an unnamed author; “You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one” which aligns nicely with this month’s topic. It’s a natural stage in our professional growth to want to move on; to experience a different culture, sector, city (or country) or to build a portfolio career. It’s also not uncommon to feel deep sadness and a fear of the unknown when resigning.
Why is it so hard to leave?
After conducting a quick straw poll, I discovered that people feel a range of emotions when resigning, regardless of whether they’d been in post for 12 weeks or 12 years. “Absolutely sick to my stomach”, “terrified”, “disloyal” and “guilty” were just some of the responses I had.
Many people feel a deep sense of commitment to their job and employer, even if they’re stagnant or deeply unhappy there. If you’ve been personally invested in - via training, a paid qualification, a coach or mentor, supported through a difficult life issue or have formed close relationships with your colleagues, it can be difficult to choose between devotion for your company and the best career move for you.
When work-family boundaries become blurred, you can show disproportionate levels of commitment and fidelity - and neglect your own interests. Even the best organisations can’t choose employee loyalty over what’s best for business. As Allison Green, founder of career advice blog Ask a Manager says, “There’s nothing wrong with loving your work, enjoying your company and having good will toward your co-workers… But it’s still O.K., and even good, to put yourself first in the long-run.”
Every role has an expiry date and so when it’s time to move on, move on.
I’ve made up my mind... where do I start?
Always finalise the details with your new employer before taking action with your current one. Get the offer in writing and carefully review the contract, be clear on the package offered and if you want to negotiate terms, do so before accepting. Once that’s clear, it’s time to, gulp, resign.
Consider giving your manager a heads up in advance - and prior to your formal resignation. A good manager will know your long term plans and have actively supported them - but it might still come as a shock if you hit them with a letter out of the blue. As Alex Dawson, Director of Technique Training and Development notes, "If you’ve got the kind of line manager who is invested in your career, knows where you want to get to, gives you the support and challenge you need to get there AND makes sure the organisation gets what it needs from you, then leaving feels likes a very natural step".
When you’re ready, ask your manager for a private meeting and always ensure they’re the first to know. Hold this face to face if you work in the same location, or consider an initial call / Skype if you don’t. Only send an email if there are unusual or unavoidable circumstances.
Keep your resignation letter brief but professional with a warm tone, but don’t over do it. A separate card for your manager is a good way to express your gratitude and appreciation.
Inevitably, it’ll be daunting but it’ll be over before you know it. In a previous role, I’d emailed my manager to ask for a catch up (to resign) and we booked it in for later that morning. I’d just printed off the maternity policy for another meeting and as she handed it to me off of the printer, she shot me a expectant look and a grin. It was NOT AWKWARD AT ALL when I had to deliver my actual news.
What shouldn't I do?
You may be familiar with the scene from 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary when Bridget, utterly fed up with her sleazy boss Daniel Cleaver, leaves on the spot for a job ‘in television’. When he tries to enforce her notice period, she responds in the open plan office, "If staying here means working within ten yards of you, frankly I'd rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein’s a**e.” before spinning on her heels to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”.
We’ve all dreamt of a similar (and brilliant) departure but in real life, storming out is not recommended. It’s also not the same as resigning, as ACAS notes in their useful article. Instead, put your resignation in writing and always work your full notice unless you mutually agree otherwise or there are extenuating circumstances. It shows commitment, avoids leaving your colleagues in the lurch and allows sufficient time to find a replacement.
I’ve resigned... But need to change my mind!
Generally, once a resignation has been given it can't be withdrawn; unless the employer gives their express permission or if it was given in the heat of the moment, and then promptly retracted. Although most resignations are straight forward, sometimes… well, life gets in the way.
A friend of mine had resigned, then discovered she was pregnant on December 23rd. She needed to ask her employer to take her back; a rather nerve-racking prospect by anyone’s standards. The office was closed until the New Year and so, after agonising over Christmas, at 8.30 am on January 2nd she went immediately to her department director. They had built an excellent relationship based on mutual trust and respect, and she told them honestly the reason for retraction. That they were expecting and that their plans to move cities - the original reason for resignation - had changed. With a deep breath, she asked if she could stay. The director congratulated her, smiled at what my friend describes as her "crazy, messy life", accepted immediately and consulted with HR to get things sorted. A masterclass in managing a potentially tricky situation, brilliantly.
I’d like to thank...
When your last day finally comes around, don’t let others dictate your ceremony; do it your way. If it’s the done thing in your company and there’s an expectation you’ll say a few words, have a speech prepared with genuine thank yous. When I left Breast Cancer Care the first time in 2007 to work in Australia, I stood in front of my lovely manager, team and colleagues, who I’d worked with for four years and who had given me so much, and sobbed uncontrollably. It was very ‘Gwyneth Oscar Acceptance 1999’, but with not a single word spoken at all. I still regret it to this day. I atoned the second time around by planning my leaving speech properly.
Enjoy your leaving do, but go easy, too. You may not be returning to the office on Monday, but your colleagues are potential future contacts. In my early twenties when leaving one of my first jobs in HR, I began my leaving celebrations at 4pm in the local pub and accepted the generosity of my colleagues in buying me drinks. The leaving do ended abruptly with me literally falling out of a nightclub at midnight and incurring a black eye which required treatment by a St John’s Ambulance first aider and my arm in a sling for good measure. When I started my new job on the Monday, I was armed with an elaborate story about a gardening injury. Thankfully, social media did not exist then and fortunately for me, I’ve grown up quite a lot.
Departure - Final call
Some further suggestions on executing a graceful departure are below:
► Plan your exit story and tell the same narrative to all. Keep it positive so you don’t burn any bridges.
► If an exit interview is not on offer, suggest one - the company will benefit from feedback on your time there. Be constructive and genuine, stick to facts and suggest ideas for improvement based on personal experience if you can. Polite and positive critique keeps everyone’s dignity intact.
► Deliver an excellent handover - verbal and written if you can manage it. Add to it daily, rather than scribbling a panicked, fragmentary list on the last day. Be thorough and review your task lists, diary and projects to avoid any nasty surprises when you’re gone.
► Build your networks in your final month by arranging lunches and attending internal events (balanced with getting your head down and delivering an excellent handover of course!). This creates some lovely memories, but it’s likely your paths will cross again - potential mentor, future hire/hirer or business partner - so make strong connections now.
► Take your personal items home gradually during your notice period, rather than necessitating the hire of a removal van for your shoes, personal memorabilia and plants on your final day or leaving your colleagues to arrange a courier.
You’ve approached your manager in the right way with a professional letter, your desk is spotless and you’ve totally aced your handover. You’re leaving with great memories and even better connections, with the backing of your manager and colleagues behind you as you go forth into the unknown. You did it! As Liz Carroll, Chief Executive of The Haemophilia Society wisely says "it's not about how you leave, but how you are throughout your time. Be fair, supportive and honest and it will be positive in leaving".
Congratulate yourself on a job well done and take a breather before your exciting new challenge begins. It’s going to be great!
Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer
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Is it possible to combine your personal interests with working in the charity sector? How can you nail that job application and, when you’ve bagged the role, stay innovative and ahead of the game? You'll find answers to these and much more in the latest Charity Careers, our series in which Nicola Greenbrook talks to key influencers in the charity sector, inviting them to share their career story and how they navigate the professional world. We discover what they've learned along the way, what motivates them to get up in the morning and even what their dream breakfast might look like when they do... This month, Nicola was thrilled to chat to James Harris, Associate Director of Communications, Marketing and Membership for Rethink Mental Illness about his fascinating career to date. She discovers how communications and social media plays a vital role in mobilising support for the charity, the invaluable advice he has for graduates and why he’s on a one-person evangelical mission to convert non-supporters to his beloved football team… Hi James. Please tell us a little bit more about Rethink Mental Illness and what its cause and mission is. One of the things that defines us as a charity is that we were formed nearly 50 years ago by carers. We work to improve the lives of people severely affected by mental illness. This might be through our local groups and services, the expert information and training we offer or our successful campaigning. In a nutshell, what are you responsible for in your role? I lead the communications team. My focus is on maximising the impact of our communications channels to mobilise support for our work and campaigns. This includes media, social media and digital - plus the delivery of marketing assets and internal communications. We’re very excited about the imminent launch of our new website! I also support Time to Change’s digital, social marketing and children and young people teams. Time to Change, run in partnership with the charity Mind, leads the charge on challenging mental health stigma and discrimination. Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week: why is it so important for the charity and how did you spend it? Awareness is important full stop and Time to Talk day in February, Mental Health Awareness Week in May and World Mental Health Day in October are all helpful ways of maintaining momentum. We’ve a come a long way in a relatively short space of time in changing attitudes to mental health. Yet, there are still too many people who don’t receive the right support and care when they need it. For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, Rethink Mental Illness focused on turning increased awareness into action. We’ve been setting out all the ways people can support us to help bring about change that makes a difference to people’s lives. How did you start your career? Any key roles along the way? Politics was my first love, but we fell out and now hardly talk to each other. In my twenties I worked in several political roles - for an MP, a think tank and a trade-union campaign to (successfully) maintain political funds. In my thirties I moved into the third sector – joining Dignity in Dying then the Mental Health Foundation. A decade later I moved to Rethink Mental Illness. Although there’s been a degree of serendipity to my career, with hindsight all the roles I’ve worked in have increased my skills and knowledge and shaped my management and leadership style. In other words, they all led me to where I am today. Why charity? Was this your goal from the outset? We may not have the rewards and recognitions of other sectors, but it’s a privilege to have a job where you get to bring about change on issues you care about. That’s the thread that connects my younger self’s interest in politics and my passion for working in the charity sector. Straight out of university I worked in a job that bordered on soul destroying; but I’m glad that I did it. Despite the challenges of working on difficult issues with limited resources, I’m very grateful that I get to do what I do. How do you keep your skills fresh and ensure you’re constantly learning along the way? As your career develops you need to develop a broad knowledge across a range of issues and specialisms – but you rely on your team for in-depth expertise. So, if I need to know something, I ask the team. I also love spotting innovation from other charities, and, when I’ve stopped feeling mildly peeved that they thought of the idea first, thinking through how we can absorb best practice into our work. What advice would you give to, e.g. graduates considering a move into charity or emerging leaders about to make their first leap into management or directorship? I’m conscious of how much more difficult it is now for graduates to get a foothold in the careers they want to pursue. The cost of living is much higher than when I graduated and there is an expectation that someone needs experience to secure a job – which begs the question of where you get the experience from? On leaving university I was offered an internship. Looking it up in the dictionary, I discovered that it meant working for free. So that was out of the window. After the stint in a job I disliked, I got a lucky break. I joined an agency that provided temporary administration support to the civil service. I envisaged being given a data processing role in an obscure government department, but instead secured an administration role in a Bill team putting legislation through Parliament (which for someone interested in politics was like winning the lottery). So, my practical advice is: apply for paid opening roles in the teams of charities that you want to work for. Take time over the application – fewer, better quality, personalised applications are likely to be more effective than a large quantity of applications. Also, a good agency advocating on your behalf can also open doors (as was the case for me). When you bag the job, there’s one guiding principle: be useful. The principle virtues of which are being creative and having an ability to deliver. If you have an idea – let people know. Speak up in meetings or tell colleagues directly. And if you commit to do something – do it. Thereafter, things should (hopefully) fall into place! What would you change about your job if you could, and what's the best bit? A direct train between work and home would be the only thing I'd change, and aside from the job satisfaction, the best thing is our team. The ratio of fundamentally good people working in the third sector is (as you would hope) extraordinarily high. Who do you look up to in the sector, or more generally? Another stroke of luck I’ve had in my career is that I’ve had a succession of line managers who have supported and believed in me. I’m thankful to all of them for their faith in me. Can you talk us through your typical day? Is there such a thing? My alarm goes off at 7am and I'll snooze listening to the news headlines, before I’m dragged out of bed by my kids for the school run. Once I get to work there's no such thing as typical, but we always start the day with a morning huddle to quickly discuss the content plan for the day. What's your dream breakfast - and is it anything like your actual breakfast? Bran flakes, banana, toast and Marmite and coffee. Both my dream and actual breakfast. Life’s too short not to have what you want for breakfast. And when you're not working, how do you spend your spare time? Although I consume a lot of media and social media, my wellbeing tip is to take time to switch off completely. My go to cathartic escape is watching football – which always leaves me at a bit of a loss in the summer. It would be remiss of me here not to crowbar in my love of the academy of football, West Ham United. I’m a season ticket holder and on a one-person evangelical mission to convert non-supporting people to our cause. As my colleagues will tell you this has yet to bear fruit. ---------------------------------------- A huge thanks to James for his time and engaging insight into his career to date and Rethink Mental illness. You can find out more about the charity’s invaluable work here. Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola ► Website Check out more Charity Careers: ► Sara Rees, Head of Fundraising, Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity ► Hannah Sanders, Consumer Brand Partnerships Lead, Save the Children ► Andy Harris, Director of Income Generation for Shelter UK ► Back to the blog homepage
If you’re waiting for the latest on charity sector salaries, we have good news: the 2019 report is preparing to launch! This year's report comes a little later than normal, but for reasons we hope will make it worth the wait. It's not just our most extensive to date, but we’ve partnered with one of the biggest names in the charity sector to cover more than fifteen times the number of charity vacancies, making it a truly definitive guide to charity sector salaries in 2019. Watch this space for the full report coming very soon this week, and meanwhile you can still check out the 2018 edition here. ► Back to the blog homepage
Stress. Burnout. Anxiety. Pervasive but unwelcome players in the modern working game; and seriously damaging to our health and career. To coincide with Stress Awareness Month, Nicola Greenbrook looks at what stress is, how it manifests at work and how you can move from distress to de-stress (but still get the work done). How are you feeling about work right now? Are you under pressure to deliver, but thoroughly enjoying the adrenaline rush? Or is the creaking weight of your to-do list about to collapse, taking you down with it? Stress in the current climate The world is angry and stressed. According to the Gallup Global Emotions Report, a third of 150,000 people interviewed in over 140 countries said they suffered stress. At least one in five experienced sadness or anger. Things aren’t much better closer to home. In the latest Health and Wellbeing at Work report from the CIPD and Simplyhealth, 37% of businesses had seen stress-related absence increase last year. Heavy workloads (62%), management style (43%) and relationships at work (30%) were the main culprits. Refinery 29 reports that 3 in 10 millennials experience 'work-disrupting anxiety' - twice as much as the national average. Anyone else feeling a bit edgy just reading all that? Stressy desk Stress is not a new phenomenon. Our cave-dwelling ancestors used the physical response to stress to prevent danger, such as a run-in with a sabre-toothed tiger. Thankfully we’re no longer fighting off angry felids on the commute, but we are regularly dealing with adverse, demanding circumstances. In the UK, we’re putting in the longest hours in the EU. Technology smashes our work-life boundaries and enables us to work at 2pm or 2am. Via the ping of a smartphone notification we deliver bad news (whether fake, or real) to our desk and become distracted and anxious. Some pressure can be healthy: it sends our bodies into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a cocktail of hormones and chemicals to keep us focused and responsive. It’s when excessive pressure morphs into stress that the bad stuff happens. Brain function minimises leading to a ‘I can’t think straight’ situation. Being in ‘fight’ mode for too long makes us crabby, or worse aggressive, towards our colleagues. Staying in ‘flight’ mode means we avoid tackling a tricky task or situation which then intensifies. Worse still, stress can cause ‘freeze’ mode: effectively, we do nothing and become paralysed by it. Why should we pay attention? Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time. It’s a significant factor in depression and anxiety and has been linked to physical health problems such as heart disease and immune and digestive functioning. In the workplace, stress can cause cognitive issues such as poor judgement and indecision, and emotional issues like irritability and panic, not to mention physical and behavioural ones. Stephanie Denning writing for Forbes, describes stress as the business world’s silent killer and notes the two primary, unnoticed, costs are the financial and productivity ones. How to move from distress to de-stress at work The Stress Management Society use a great bridge analogy; when someone is faced with excessive demands that exceed their personal and social resources it’s like a bridge carrying too much weight. It bows, buckles and creaks - and eventually will collapse. If you’re feeling the strain at work right now, and want to avoid a buckling bridge, here ’s some takeaway tips… ► Work smarter, not longer Writing for Riposte Magazine, Pip Jamieson, Founder & CEO of The Dots, notes that although excessive working hours are often a modern badge of honour, it can be counterintuitive - and doesn’t always equal better output. Over-stretching can cause fatigue, emotive decision making and even sickness. So think carefully about staying late again tonight and be realistic about what your frazzled brain will achieve. Throw in the towel and start again, fresh, tomorrow (and make that yoga class/drink instead). ► Rest It’s often ‘rest’ breaks that take the hit when we’re stressed at work. In their book, Burnout: The Secret to Solving the Stress, sisters Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski cite the need for our body and brains to rest (42% of your time, about 10 hours out of every 24) to avoid burnout. Steer clear of filling every minute at work with activity and take a manageable lunch break. Pay attention to your thirst, and when the kettle is boiling, resist the temptation to check emails on your phone. Forgive me, but do you often hold in a wee at your desk just to finish one.more.thing before dashing off to the loo and hoping you won’t get intercepted along the way. Yes? Don’t. ► Switch off Absence might be at an all-time low according to the CIPD, but the reality is that 83% of us are struggling into work when we’re actually poorly, and 63% of us are using our holidays to work. Learn to prioritise your health, guilt-free. If you’re genuinely ill and unable to function at 100%, dragging yourself to the office could expose your team to germs, result in sub-standard work or increased mistakes and run the risk of taking longer than normal to recover. ► Just say no if you’re rushing from one task to the next, taking on too much or trying to please everyone at work it could be time to work on your assertiveness. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re unhelpful or selfish, it enables you to honour your existing commitments and do them properly. It could allow more inexperienced team members to step up and aid their development, and it’s also healthier in the long run as it prevents you from taking on too much (and a buckling bridge). For managers Dealing with stress in your team can be very difficult, especially if you’re a manager under strain yourself. Here are some areas to consider: ► Stress can manifest differently between individuals. Get to know your team and try to spot the signs as early as possible; such as someone becoming unusually withdrawn or short-tempered, having increased absence or not taking holidays. ► Regularly review workloads, job design and responsibilities and encourage openness and communication. Foster a sense of collaboration; helping each other out so the workload is evenly spread to avoid one person going under. ► Don’t feel you have to deal with it personally. Signpost individuals to the experts (such as via an Employee Assistance Programme, GP or councillor) and ask for training in stress management. ► Lead by example and promote good working habits; take breaks, and try to leave on time as often as possible. -------------------------------- Stress at work can have a damaging and long-lasting impact on our physical and mental health. A stressed workplace can lead to low productivity, poor delivery to clients and service users and high turnover. Adopting some simple methods to minimise stress at work and return to a state of productivity - and good mental health - is not selfish. It’s critical. Get the work done, without undoing yourself in the process. Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola More from Nicola Greenbrook: ► I quit! How to leave a job gracefully ► How to be productive at work ► Charity Careers: meet Andy Harris, director of income generation for Shelter UK ► Back to the blog homepage
It's got bats. It's got balls. And it's back. It is of course the legendary London Charity Softball League, and now that spring (like love, pollen and countless other pollutants) is very much in the air, it's time to fire up the 2019 season! Heading into a remarkable 17th year and after a cracking but slightly-condensed-for-park-reasons 2018, everything's now back to full length and full strength, with as many charities competing as the ever-efficient organisers can possibly squeeze in. It all kicks/bats off from April 29th, with London's parks becoming a hotbed of high-octane bat-on-ball action right through to the Hyde Park finals on Thursday 15th August. We’re delighted to be lead sponsors for what’s believed to be our 14th year (one year might even include a few minutes to look that up) along with our fellow returning sponsors Bluestep, RNB Group, Bright Spot Fundraising and first-timers Think Consulting, who are all well worth checking out. Last year’s super-competitive contest saw The Saints (aka St Mungo's) hoisting the Harris Hill Plate, with RNLI brandishing the Bluestep Shield, and Cancer Research UK crowned Harris Hill Cup champions. But who’ll be taking home the trophies (and those virtually-priceless Harris Hill medals) in 2019? We’ll have more news during the summer, but meanwhile if you’re keen to catch up on last year’s finals, the brilliant people behind it, or other recent events in the Harris Hill Charity Series (that'll be February's quiz night and the big November bowl), the links below will oblige. Have a great season! Team HH London Charity Softball League 2018 The Harris Hill Plate: St Mungo's vs Sustrans ► London Charity Softball League 2018 The Harris Hill Cup: Cancer Research UK vs Plan UK ► London Charity Softball League 2018 The Bluestep Shield: RNLI vs MS Society ► London Charity Softball League 2018 Meet the organisers of the London Charity Softball League ► Harris Hill Charity Series: Bowling The lowdown from the throwdown: 2018 bowling scores! ► Harris Hill Charity Series: Quiz Night Close encounters of the third (sector) kind...► ► Back to the blog homepage
“If it wasn’t for the treatment I received at the scene of my accident, and the fast transportation to a hospital, I would not be here today.” text "When the air ambulance arrived I thought it must be serious but I wasn’t aware of the level of expertise and equipment on board. Now I know that’s what made the difference and I wouldn’t be here today otherwise." text "I just can't believe I survived, I’m a very, very lucky man and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved.” The words of just three of the 25,000+ people who have been helped, rescued or owe their life to the Air Ambulance service of Kent, Surrey and Sussex since its inception in 1989. Thirty years on, the organisation’s still going strong and growing too, creating four fantastic new senior opportunities to lead on fundraising and the supporter experience, working from their base at Rochester Airport. Specifically, they're seeking the following: • Director of Individual Giving c.£53,000 • Director of Fundraising and Events c.£53,000 • Head of Supporter Experience £45,000 • Head of Individual Giving £38,000 It’s an inspiring place to work, knowing that everything you do has a direct impact on saving lives, and these are all key roles within the project. We can’t begin to do these opportunities justice here so check out our Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex pages for plenty more details of the organisation and these fantastic roles:
International affairs and advocacy expert Andreea Petre-Goncalves moved to the UK in 1997, attracted by its culture of openness and diversity. But as she tells our policy specialist Harry Marven, recent events have necessitated a major rethink - and relocation - of her family's plans for the future. We’ve barely mentioned the ‘B’ word here at the Harris Hill blog, because we’re too busy recruiting for charities, and with such a colourful range of opinions widely available elsewhere (particularly at the puce end of the market), you probably don't need ours too. We aim to be impartial, so for example it's not for us to question that what people thought three years ago is obviously more important than what they think now. That's just not how we roll. And you'd certainly never catch us querying the wisdom of trashing your biggest trade partnerships and international standing for such undeniable benefits as…… well, we’re sure somebody will think of one eventually. But this week, as our established work in the area of Policy, Advocacy & Campaigns expands to keep up with growing demand (check out our new page here!) in what could yet be our last week in the EU (again), there's no ignoring the giant Brexit in the room. So we're very pleased to bring you an enlightening and thought-provoking read from someone who understands both the bigger picture and the personal consequences only too well... Meet Andreea Petre-Goncalves Over recent years in the UK we’ve heard a lot of statistics about EU citizens and ‘migrants’, but rather less of the real effects on people's everyday lives. To that end we're delighted to introduce international affairs and advocacy expert Andreea Petre-Goncalves, who has kindly shared her story in conversation with our resident policy specialist Harry Marven, eloquently explaining how the 2016 referendum has affected many EU citizens, why she and her family have taken the difficult decision to leave the country that's been home for over 20 years, and why she's establishing a new and potentially highly-influential NGO to step up the fight for global change. Andreea Petre-Goncalves is an international affairs and advocacy expert with two decades of experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors. She has worked in sustainability, food security, international development, public health, gender and human rights among many other topics. She has driven global policy developments, built international partnerships and connected power and knowledge brokers to promote the greater good. She believes people at all levels are driven by the same instincts, fears and desires and that the best in all of us can be harnessed through respectful and purposeful collaboration. She also believes that our future security and prosperity on our planet depend on our ability to see beyond our myriad of individual interests with a sense of common purpose.ee. Harry Marven joined Harris Hill in 2017 and is our specialist for all Policy, Public Affairs, Advocacy and Campaigns vacancies, recruiting both domestically and internationally. He’s lived and worked in both France and Germany (graduating in French and German) and has first-hand experience of the field having previously worked in social media and youth engagement for a national human rights charity. Harry is passionate about the not-for-profit sector using its profile and resources to effect positive social change and effectively represent its grassroots supporters, and understands both the rewards and what it takes to make change happen. As such he’s able to draw on a wide network of both national and internationally-based contacts. ► Harry: So, to jump straight into things: you, with your family, will be leaving the UK this year. Why do you want to leave, and is it definite that you’ll be leaving? ► Andreea: Yes, my family are leaving the UK this year. It’s not been an easy decision. I arrived in the UK in 1997 and my husband in 2002. Our daughter was born here in 2014. We did not doubt this was our forever home until the 2016 Brexit referendum. That particular moment crystallised for us concerns which had been bubbling under the surface for a few years, particularly around nativist trends in the UK and what we saw as a backlash against multiculturalism. For us, this struck at the heart of why we were here in the first place. We didn’t necessarily choose the UK for economic reasons, but for cultural ones. It was precisely the UK’s culture of openness and respect for differences that appealed to us. We loved the idea of growing roots and raising a family in a country where ethnicity, culture and identity were not barriers to belonging, where the rich tapestry of human differences was embraced and cherished. We are ourselves a multicultural family, with heritage in Portugal, Romania and France, and have always seen our journey in the UK as an illustration of the richness of our wonderful, interconnected world. It was and is heart-breaking to see these values rejected so vocally in public discourse. In 2016, we suddenly became EU migrants, a distinct category that 'othered' us. It marked a sharp change of tone and hardening of attitudes towards us as a group – something we had not really seen ourselves as until then. The very word 'migrant' was rarely present in public discourse 10 years ago. Nowadays it is a frequent feature, even replacing 'refugee', alarmingly. For me it has such negative connotations. We are not an invasion, nor an infection. We are friends, colleagues, family - and until the 12th of April, whatever the UK’s final trajectory, we are your equals as fellow EU citizens. You’ve been in the UK for several decades now and have held predominantly internationally-focused jobs. Why did you come to the UK in the first place, and were there any standout factors that made you want to stay? I came to the UK aged 16 with an Open Society Foundation scholarship which shaped who I am and defined my life journey. A few scholarships later, with financial and moral support from my family and dear friends, I obtained my first degree. I embarked on a career that for many years was driven mostly by a loose sense of wanting to do good in the world. This is how I ended up working on sustainability, international development, gender, agriculture and food security. My Brussels stint, about 10 years ago, was career-defining in that it taught me how to navigate politics and the decision-making environment and be effective. Idealism and good intentions are worth so much more if you also understand the real world. Interestingly, this is something that is stubbornly ignored by the non-profit sector in the UK, where we take too much comfort in surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals and work on the assumption that we will be heard purely because we mean well. As for the second part of your question, I touched on this a bit earlier. The UK always felt like home culturally, and for me that includes a working culture that is earnest and professional. The only aspects where I felt Europe compared favourably career-wise are work-life balance and the employer-employee dynamic, where in Europe we have a more equal, revolutionary tradition, whereas in the UK the relationship often feels more deferent and feudal. I hope for everyone’s sake that this dynamic will not be further affected by any loss of worker protections as a result of Brexit. Why did you choose to work in the charity sector, given your experience in the EU Parliament? It would have been very easy to walk straight into a well-remunerated corporate lobbying job after my stint in EU politics. That is a common-sense career path for many former political staffers and civil servants. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but I always knew that for me it wouldn’t be enough. I grew up in a family where politics and the good society were talked about passionately around the dinner table. My parents dedicated their entire careers to public service. I worked in the non-profit sector both before and after Brussels for the simple reason that it felt like a place where doing right by people and planet was the top priority. So, after all that time, you’re now leaving the UK to pastures new. Given that you have decided to leave, rather than having it as just an option, would you say Brexit has, in an ironic way, given you the motivation and freedom to flexibly look for a new position, wherever you settle? To play devil’s advocate: has Brexit potentially been beneficial to you and your family? Well, there’s the famous adage that every cloud has a silver lining. I don’t really think that’s true. Some things are plain stupid, pointless and thoroughly negative. There’s no bright side to climate change, war or hunger, except for the truly cynical. All we can do is learn from every hurdle, hiccup or failure. For my family, the learning in Brexit is that we are free, that our sense of belonging doesn’t come from a place but from how we feel. That’s a phrase made for Private Eye’s Pseud’s Corner right there, but it’s true. We feel like citizens of the world, which means we are at home everywhere, irrespectively of mean-spirited high-level statements to the contrary (ahem). We will always love Britain, and no one can legislate against that. Two questions in one: what advice would you give to EU nationals living in the UK who are facing similar problems to the ones you have faced; and what advice would you give to UK nationals to assure EU nationals that the UK is still OK to live and work in? (although I appreciate the irony of the latter point!) Well, I don’t have a piece of advice for all EU folk in the UK, we are all different and our own individual realities shape the decisions we make. For me, the idea of becoming a sort of 'tolerated', lesser citizen with permission rather than the right to live here was more than I could accept. I know so many others like me, who have built lives and careers in the UK and find the prospect of asking for permission to continue living here profoundly offensive. However, I also understand those friends who do not feel it fair to throw away the lives they have built for themselves. They have no choice but to jump through the hoops, albeit reluctantly. As for all of our UK friends, I am sure of one thing. Our friendship and love for each other will endure whatever history throws at us. British wisdom, decency and fairness will prevail and if they don’t, you will always be welcome in our homes on the old continent. Thanks for sharing yours with us. Finally, what’s next for you? I feel grateful that for us this otherwise strange time is the beginning of a new adventure, rather than just a painful rupture. We are relocating to Brussels, feeling more European than we have ever done, funnily enough. We’re clearly not immune from Brexit tribalism! Together with a brilliant friend and skilled political expert, I am setting up a new organisation to broker and catalyse powerful, impactful dialogue on the burning issues at the top of the global agenda: climate change, food system reform, protecting democracy and strengthening the rules-based international system, among others. With decades of experience at the highest levels of power and a lot of influential contacts, we are better placed than most to bring together those who can make change happen, from all sectors and walks of life. We will help key actors create solutions so that we can all enjoy the safe and sustainable future we want. The time has come for powerful action – and our new organisation will focus on doing just this. None of us can really afford to stand by and watch our existing systems fail when so many grave dangers threaten our world. We would very much like to be a voice and advocate for our UK friends in Europe and beyond, to ensure Brexit does not diminish your input when urgent global challenges require it most. Look out for Flare in the coming weeks and please reach out to us and remain connected to those who, like you, are fighting for a better world, on whichever side of the Channel we might find ourselves. Andreea Petre-Goncalves Connect with Andreea on LinkedIn We certainly will: our sincere thanks to Andreea for sharing her story with us, and we wish her the very best of luck! Look out for more insight and experience from our network in this field coming soon; meanwhile if you'd like to know more about our work and opportunities in political campaigning, advocacy, human rights and more, visit our Policy, Advocacy & Campaigns page or contact Harry Marven via email or on 020 7820 7324. More billboards from Led By Donkeys @ByDonkeys More from the Harris Hill blog text ► Don't go! Tackling talent retention in the charity sector Hiring great people is one thing, but holding on to them can be quite another amid tough competition for talent. Charity Finance Group recently asked our specialists about talent retention among charities and charity finance professionals in particular: what drives them to stay put or move on, and what kind of retention methods are working for charities? Originally published in CFG's Finance Focus magazine, here's what they had to say. Read more... ► Charity Careers: meet Andy Harris, director of income generation for Shelter UK How do you become a fundraising director? Why work for a charity and what's the toughest job in fundraising? Answers to these and much more in the latest Charity Careers, in which Nicola Greenbrook talks to key influencers in the charity sector, inviting them to share their career story and how they navigate the professional world. This month, Shelter UK's Andy Harris explains how his team contributes towards the charity’s invaluable work, why every donation bag tells a story, and what to do when it all gets a bit too cosy. Read more... ► Harris Hill blog homepage
For this month’s article, Nicola Greenbrook is exploring why it hurts so much to be rejected and suggesting ways to convert this into something transformative. ‘I regret to inform you that on this occasion you have not been successful'. I’ve been both the author and recipient of that terrible sentence on many occasions during my career. Even checking the definition of ‘to reject’ evoked memories of some painful brush-offs of my own. ‘To dismiss as inadequate, unacceptable or faulty’. Ouch! Rejection knows no bounds and spans our professional, social and personal worlds. From missing out on your dream job, losing out to a competitor or being passed up for promotion, it’s a common - but agonising - feature of our working lives. Yet, it might not always be a bad thing… Firstly, why does it hurt so bad? Being rebuffed really does sting. Psychologist Guy Winch notes that rejection can cause pain because our brains are wired to respond in this way. He describes an experiment where scientists asked participants to think of a rejection while they were hooked up to MRI machines. They discovered that when we experience rejection, the same areas of our brain become activated as when we experience physical pain. Essentially, being rejected can ‘elicit literal (albeit, emotional) pain’. “I AM COMPLETELY USELESS” Often it’s our self-esteem that takes the brunt of it when we’re told no. Rebecca Weef-Smith, Editor of Goldie Magazine recalls vividly the low self-worth she felt over ten years ago after consistent knock-backs. She had submitted over 100 job applications and 3 PhD proposals without a single interview to show for it. Despite considerable qualifications, including an MA and MSc, she believed she wasn’t good enough. ‘Yet again I didn't come up to scratch or meet the standards required’ she said. ‘It wasn't a momentary failing at life. I was a permanent failure’. Being rejected can heighten our own personal insecurities, make us doubt our decisions and choices. As Guy Winch says, ‘…just when our self-esteem is hurting most, we go and damage it even further’. Patience you must have… According to science journal Inorganic Chemistry, there are five stages of rejection - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. So how do you pick yourself up again when you’re firmly stuck in the early stages? What if you’ve been unsuccessful for something deep down you know isn’t even right for you? Fiona Cowan, Senior HR Business Partner at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) knows this all too well. For over a year, she balanced the insecurity of a contract role with job hunting. Conservation and animal welfare is hugely important to Fiona but as roles in this area are scarce, she had to widen her search and compromise. ‘It was a difficult year’ she admitted. ‘You put all your effort, passion and time into research and the presentation. There’s the anticipation and then… you get the dreaded rejection. It doesn’t make it easier when you’re told you were a strong candidate and came a very close second.' It’s hard to dust yourself off (and for those stuck in the ‘Anger’ stage, I apologise for writing these words) but hang on in there. Life is full of twists and turns and depending on your perspective, change - or no change - can be a good thing. Not getting something you want is an opportunity for something completely different - the right something - to come your way. ‘I always live by the mantra “everything happens for a reason”, I just didn’t know what the reason was yet.’ Fiona shared. After surviving a year of on-off job hunting with the stamina of a triathlete, the universe put her dream job at ZSL up for grabs. ‘I had an excitement I hadn’t felt for the other roles I’d gone for; I knew this job was for me!’. A winning combination of effort, authentic passion and the right skills, experience and talent landed Fiona the role she'd been waiting for. A masterclass in hard work, determination and believing - no matter how gut-wrenching it can be at the time - that things will eventually work out. When should rejection become reinvention? Eleanor Ross for Refinery 29 makes an interesting case for whether stubborn, blind self-belief can do more damage than good. She considers if there’s a right time to listen to rejection. ‘While pushing and being resilient is important, rejection can also teach us that maybe we’re not suited to doing something after all’ she writes. Rebecca Weef-Smith could have crawled under the duvet and stayed there, but realised the only way forward was to carve out a new role for herself, rather than fit an existing one. She used personal rejection to create the role of Editor of Goldie Magazine, the over-40s magazine with masses of style, fashion and more. It restored her faith in her own abilities, widened her friendship circle and made her ‘determined to support others who need a prompt in picking themselves up and going again’. Turn that rejection upside down Here are some other ways to make rejection a bit more manageable: Reframe it - Annie Ridout, author, freelance journalist and editor of The Early Hour set up a folder in her email account to file away rejections. She’s renamed it ‘got to keep’, because I like the idea that one day I'll look back at all the rejections I've received and be able to laugh about it' she says. In her book The Freelance Mum Annie also talks about a ‘special’ folder she keeps for encouraging, supportive emails. It’s this folder - rather than the other - she spends the most time looking at to give her a boost. Get some feedback - Ask the client/company for some insight on how you can do better next time. You might learn something new about yourself, prove you’re willing to develop and show them how good you are. Talk it through with someone - If you can, speak to friends, family or a mentor at work. Ruth Moragas, Founder of Happy Heads which promotes positive mental health recovery, believes in the power of helping others going through the crushing experience of rejection. ‘Rejection is something we all go through. It may sting but you get over it by including others. So they don’t feel as you did’. Rejection can cause physical pain, damage your self-esteem and take you through a whirlwind of stages before you come out the other side. Yet, it can also provide the chance to try out something new, and could clear the way for the right opportunity. Being snubbed is awful, but it can help you think creatively about your career path and provide the fuel that powers your growth and purpose. Been rejected? Go out there and really show ‘em what you’re made of. Like Annie, you’ll be laughing about it one day as you happily move the email into your ‘got to keep’ folder. Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist & Freelance Writer Contact Nicola
...by which we're not talking personality (though it's unlikely to be a bad thing), but whether you'd thrive in one of the outstanding leadership roles we're thrilled to be handling for the innovative Plymouth-based charity of the same name. Effervescent is a fresh and truly unique organisation, a charity strongly committed to improving the lives of vulnerable young people, but doing so as a creative agency, bringing their formidable creative and campaigning skills to collaborations with the likes of socially-motivated brands, charities and universities, and most importantly of all, children and young people themselves. They've worked with organisations like Barnardo's, Exeter University and Plymouth City Council to create campaigns on foster care, mental health, child sexual exploitation, asylum and other issues directly affecting the children and young people who have played a key role in each project. It's all about social alchemy ...which isn't (as we confess to first thinking) a GCSE we could have opted for if we'd dropped one of the humanities, but about inspiring, engineering and facilitating these unique collaborations between potentially disparate groups - bringing remarkable people together, as a certain charity recruiter might say - and creating something beautiful and powerful as a result; something that can genuinely make a difference in young people's lives. Effervescent's work to date has been so successful that they've recently received investment to grow, and as part of their ambitious plans to do so, we're delighted to be helping them find the right individuals for three brand new leadership roles that will be central to the organisation's future, namely a Director of Marketing and Sales, Director of Operations, and Head of Enterprise and Product Development. These are truly fantastic opportunities but enough from us; far better to hear more about the organisation, their values and the roles in question from their inspirational founder, CEO, creative director (and TED-talker!) Eloise Malone, by clicking the Welcome button below: A six-page guide to the charity and available roles ► More opportunities from Harris Hill Executive Search ► Back to the blog homepage