I’ve been thinking about our motivation for doing “stuff”, how long we can keep interested in doing “stuff” for, and how we deal with “stuff” when we can’t do it any longer.
I could go on for hours about this, but you want me to keep this blog interesting right! So here’s just a few lines about four stages you might want to think about when you need to make decisions about “stuff” to do with your life.
You see something advertised, or you are made aware of something you fancy and might like to get involved in. What is it that helps you to think: “Hey! I think I’ll give that a go.”? It might be a job advert, or further education, someone you like, or a community group that sounds good! At this point you’re inquisitive and if the feelings are strong enough you decide to give it a go.
This stage is so, so important. It’s the short space of time after you decided to embark on the journey, and for the first couple of months or so after you’ve joined. As the song goes: “Should I stay or should I go now?” It’s the time when you make a decision about whether what you saw when you first saw the advert is what this thing is like in reality. Maybe what happens in those first few weeks is even better than you thought it would be like. Or on the other hand…alas, not as good as you would hope. And sometimes you have to be strong enough to say…Hey! this isn’t for me.
Next phase. So you decide you really like what you see and can make a go of this. It’s building your own confidence and your self-esteem. You show passion, enthusiasm, are inspired and motivated to carry on with this thing. That’s just great! I see this all the time, for example at performances by Yew Tree Youth Theatre. And more generally in people’s range of attitudes towards their jobs and career aspirations. As time goes on you build up skills and capabilities, and you just want to keep going and going and going! The problem is that this phase can go on for a long, long time. We all have to work hard to keep engaged, keep interested. When you start work that experience might have to last the best part of 5 decades….a long, long time. Will you stay motivated all that time? Will boredom set in? Will you become disinterested? Find ways to get inspired and stay there….
Is this the end? The exit door. Well it doesn’t have to be. If things happen and the interest goes, then you have to decide whether to call it quits at some stage. You might have to weigh up whether you finish this stuff now, or maybe later (now is not a great time to give up a job, you might not find another quickly). There are also situations in which you have to leave. Perhaps the organisation you are in only lets you stay until a certain age. So you have to exit then – but think about what you can continue with to carry on the good work and continue to be inspired.
I’ll finish on a real positive. Opportunities are out there for you. Transition from one job is not always about leaving, it can also mean you get promoted to higher ranks. Brilliant! And I guess closer to home for some of you – If at some point you are no longer in the age range for a particular group you’ve been a member of, remember you can always keep an association with the group, help, nurture and mentor other students. And always remember what you have learned over your time with that group, how your confidence has grown, and what a fantastic foundation your experiences have given you to be able to move onwards and upwards.