Experts by Experience: Profiles of entrepreneurs at different stages on their journeys, identifying and sharing some universal truths along the way.
When I was growing up near Liverpool, we went to the circus when it was in town and I still sense the smells and excitement. But my lasting memory from the big top is not of the performers and animals (yes – they had animals in those days) but of the person gathering up all the coats that had been dropped, intentionally or otherwise, between the tiered seats onto the grass below. It was always a challenge to re-unite the coats and scarves with their owners.
The challenge for Saffron Fidgett is to match jobseekers – from young apprentice school-leavers and new university graduates, to executives looking for a change in their late 30’s – to a career they’ll love. As Saffron notes “Someone starting their career now probably won’t be able to retire until they’re in their 70s, so they have to be able to enjoy it!”
The enjoyment starts with the coaching that Saffron offers to clients who want to put fun back into their working lives. Making work enjoyable also makes good practical sense as humour engages both sides of the brain – the left logical side and the right creative side – meaning we learn better.
A big clue about the source of this fun is in the name of the coaching business in the spotlight here – Career Circus Ltd. This doesn’t mean staff turn up to work with big red noses and baggy trousers, but they do focus on circus skills that transfer across to business success; team-work, risk-taking and the art of performance, to name three.
“The circus idea arose because I wanted young people to think of their careers as being a fun element in their lives” explains Saffron. “The approach – working one-to-one and in groups – revolves around pro-active coaching, self-reflection, and action planning. We incorporate circus themes into our workshops with ‘Skills Showdown’ where teams have timed tasks – including juggling, speed interviewing and brain teasers – exploring themes such as collaboration, communication, and leadership.”
For Saffron, the key to career success is for clients to find out what they enjoy (which tends to be things they’re good at) and pursue that. Assuming a client isn’t a lone-working Jack and Jill of all trades, collaboration with others becomes essential. Saffron herself has recently expanded her team to free her up to do the things she most enjoys, leaving finance and administration to those who love that kind of work.
By taking her own advice, Saffron has re-ignited the fun in her own career. “I can now concentrate on doing the bits I enjoy and do well – it’s more efficient and enjoyable for everyone.”
I wonder what that coat-gatherer is doing now…
Saffron is in the 2013-14 cohort of learners with the School for Social Entrepreneurs on
the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme at the Eastern Enterprise Hub in