Anyway Father Gary was reflecting on the challenges of Mission vs Managerialism in the CofE. Now on that I can't comment. I'm a Quaker our entire 'church' runs on volunteer input and no managerial presence. But it did get me thinking because it's something I've been rallying against in my own professional world.
I love, love, love being an antenatal teacher with the NCT. For almost ten years it's been my passion and my purpose. Facilitating groups of expectant parents as they navigate pregnancy, birth and early days parenting is a challenge and a joy. Taking groups of strangers and turning them into self sustaining, supportive groups of friends is what NCT practitioners do best.
I think I'm good at it. I get good feedback. I'm a highly reflective practitioner and whilst I'm nowhere near perfect, my recognition of conscious incompetence inspires my continuous development.
The NCT has superb career development opportunities. I could become an Excellent Practitioner, a Mentor, Supervisor or a Tutor. I could apply for Head Office jobs when they become available. There are opportunities to continue studying - BA, MA and even a PhD - although I already have an Msc and I've been actively avoiding doing a PhD for a number of years (never say never).
Did I mention how much I love being an antenatal teacher?
Once upon a time I was a Research Manager within the NHS and I remember well the number of managers who had been excellent clinicians but were awful managers. They were promoted and promoted until their clinical roles were a tiny fraction of their working week and they were stressed, anxious and unhappy. If only they'd stayed where they were excellent - what would the NHS look like today?
For the past couple of years I've been wrestling (in a non aggressive, peaceful way) with the question of what next? If not 'promotion', not mentoring nor supervising or studying - then what?
I'm taking this question to the Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth conference at Findhorn in a couple of weeks time. I ended up as an antenatal teacher because of a trip to Findhorn twelve years ago so I'm optimistic that I'll find similar inspiration this time.