This week I learnt that a fellow ‘graduate’ from the School for Social Entrepreneurs East has just handed in her notice with her current employer. It’s the ‘big moment’ for many entrepreneurs – cutting loose from the security of regular paid employment to enter the liberating but uncertain world of self-employment and, in some cases, also becoming an employer. Scary and exciting times ahead!
Having worked in time-limited projects for the past 15 years or so, I’m used to the financial insecurity or being ‘between jobs’ every year or so, and I’m eternally grateful to my (permanently employed) other half for her understanding and support for my chosen career. After all these years, I think she’s accepted I’ll never get a ‘proper job’.
So, having let go of secure employment years ago, this week I had a ‘letting go’ experience of another kind at The Repair Shed, where I feel we’re now officially ‘in business’. We currently have two commissions to make things with two deadlines to meet. The first commission is for a pallet product – a portable, table-top rack for an aspiring social enterprise in Colchester to display their wares at events – the next one being on 28 November! The second commission is for a first item of play equipment we’ve been asked to make for a local playgroup. We’re using reclaimed wood to make a slotted Christmas-like tree for hanging coats, gifts, whatever on. For obvious reasons, this needs to be ready as early in December as possible.
With two products to be made and only three of us in The Repair Shed, the ‘letting go’ for me was getting on with the display rack while my colleagues worked on the design and manufacture of the tree. Overhearing their deliberations, it was all I could do to stop myself interfering and contributing my own views. I think I managed reasonably well, but you’d need to ask them.
The ‘getting on’ element in the title of this blog is what we do next; how we adjust to the changed situation and our ability to look forward, rather than back. Like most parents, I’ll never forget waving off our young daughter to school – going with a friend but, for the first time, without us. What mixed emotions – pride at her self-confidence, apprehension about her safety, but a strange regret about her growing independence. I’ve just about got over it a dozen years later.