A reflective account of making a place in the world, attempting to serve as a catalyst for a better future. This blog will track my thoughts on my professional journey.
See my landing page jsbaxter.com.au, or see GPlus
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Learning from failure
Heading off the beaten path requires accepting a higher risk of failure. This is just a position on risk, and a bit of guts. Fronting that failure when it happens is a different kettle of fish.
You may be aware of how I uprooted myself from a safe public sector job in Melbourne, to travel interstate and chase work with TACSI in Adelaide. You may be aware this is going a little slower than preferred. I probably won't have told you that my approach has failed.
I have been an Adelaide resident for around a month now. While there has been enthusiasm and appreciation expressed for my dedication, at last notice I was still a month away from having anything meaningful to do - within TACSI at least. In fact, I can't see anything meaningless. Being an 'aspiring volunteer' is pretty shitty, especially with questionable certainty around timelines. I've never tried to get inside somewhere from out in the cold before, so this is all very new, and I don't (yet) know what I'm doing.
I haven't exactly been wallowing. I've been pretty busy getting familiar with my new city and creating a new life. I have been making connections - locally and nationally - and dedicating time to learning, and developing my own ideas. But all this stuff should be secondary. Not because it is unimportant, but because it is simply 'off the critical path', in project management terms. It can wait!
So things have been slow, they haven't gone to plan. But on reflection, I'm not at a bad starting point. I now have more useful connections, a life a little more settled so I can concentrate, a better sense of how things work at TACSI, and of my own direction and the value I can bring. It has taken a few days but I've realised that 'failure' might mean going AWOL from the plan, but as long as I can reset my path along a new plan things won't be too bad after all. And I'm learning about how (not) to rock up somewhere and offer to get involved.
So I have a new approach to try, a slightly new tack. It's nothing fancy - just being proactive, and going out on a limb in terms of identifying ways that I can be of value. 'Selling myself' (for free!). The idea is basically to offer to be a 'resident [way of thinking]', lining up a general area of need for TACSI with my own skills. Something like strategist, conceiver, analyst... one of the things I have proven I can do quite well in all sorts of contexts, but don't really know how to describe as a skill.
I don't know whether it will work - I know it won't go as intended. But I'm much more positive about how I'll be able to learn from this, no matter how it goes. It will be difficult, but I have a feeling it will be fun. I'll let you know!