A question of values

Recently a friend handed in her notice with no job to go to. One of my closest friends did something similar two years ago.  Both had recently been promoted at a new school. A few years ago I was signed off work having had a breakdown and made the decision that I would never work in that school again whether I had secured a job or not. I, too, was set to hand my notice in. At that point we had a mortgage and a toddler and could not have met our commitments as a family without my salary.

Luckily, I found a new job and started a different phase of my life but what makes a person get to that point?

Recently, I attended an excellent workshop run by David McQueen – Success on Your Own Terms. I’m at a bit of a crossroads with some of my creative work outside of school and wanted to refocus.

At one point David asked us to list our top three values, with no filter and without overthinking.

Mine were

  • Integrity
  • Curiosity
  • Love/family
  • Development

Ok so that’s four, but you get the idea.

Then he asked us to list the top three values of the organisations that we work for.  There was some laughter in the room.  A few people struggled because they weren’t too sure what those were. A telling question from the floor was, “Do you mean what we say they are or what they actually are in practice?”

So what makes a person hand in their notice for a job that they have fought hard to get with no immediately obvious means to support themselves and their dependants? Values. It was becoming clear my values did not match the day to day values of my organisation, as evidenced by what I was asked to do and how my manager interacted with me, and it was seriously affecting my health and happiness.

What are your top three values?

Do they match the day-to-day practice of the organisation that you currently work for?

If not, what steps can you take to bridge the gulf?

Illustration copyright of  Robert Price

Copyright of Robert Price

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Is mainstream success a desirable thing?

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to an assembled group of educators, artists and youth workers with a passion for education and effecting change in their communities and wider society.

My talk was around the theme “Is mainstream success a desirable thing?.” It was tailored to the specific audience but had wide ranging themes which speak to any creative person, entrepreneur or passionate person wrestling with what to do to, and who to partner with, to ensure sure that their vision or ideas are seen and adopted by as many people as possible to change the world.

These two tweets probably best sum up what the talk was about.

1

I can’t provide a transcript as it was designed to be something heard, experienced and driven by audience interaction with but it was well received so the 8 sources that I built the talk around are below.

They are in no particular order, as the format of talk was non-linear and inspired by the ‘Choose your own adventure books’ that I read as a kid in the 80s

2

Let the quotes begin. Highlights are the specific parts used in my talk.

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1.0

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2.

3

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3.4

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4.5

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5.6

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6.7

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7.8

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8.9

So, in summary:  Know who you are and why you are motivated to do the work you do or create the art that you create. Then do it. Find the others who passionately believe in that vision/world view and partner with them. Mainstream success – however you choose to interpret it- or recognition may well be a side effect of that but unhappiness and disillusionment lies in having it as the main goal.

Sources/Inspiration (No, I haven’t Harvard ref’d)

  • Start with Why, Simon Sinek  (Chapter 3, The Golden Circle)
  • The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison, The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/magazine/the-radical-vision-of-toni-morrison.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytmag&_r=0

  • Cecile Emeke isn’t worried about Hollywood, The New York Times magazine

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/magazine/cecile-emeke-isnt-worried-about-hollywood.html

  • UK Hip Hop Ed manifesto, Art of Curious blog

http://artofcurious.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/uk-hiphoped-manifesto.html