With my leaving Herbert Smith LLP at the end of March the most frequent question I hear is “what will you do now?” An honest answer is “I don’t know”. But that’s not completely honest, either.
I certainly know that I do not want another corporate IT management role – Forbes has written that they are the worst job. Another appraisal, another budget, another round of circular decision making I do not need, not at all. Ever. Despite my entire career having been in IT that was always just an expedient mistake. IBM hired me during university. Through an IBM contact I was taken on as an IT manager in Rome for the UN – and an IT manager I’ve been ever since. It was never something I conciously wanted to do. Heck, even my degree choice was a compromise – I’d have chosen History or Philosophy, perhaps. Of the engineering disciplines Systems Design was probably the most eclectic – but it was still hard core. So, can I do something else?
How scary is that?
- I should certainly take on more of the domestic burden – my cooking can only improve. And there are holidays to be organised.
- There’s a real clamour for us to get another dog. There are discussions over breed, age and timing to be had. Should it be a puppy English Setter – or, maybe, a failed Guide Dog? I know I’ll need a schedule and the exercise – and dogs are merciless. I think it will happen, but not before July.
- I could pursue my photography. I’m an ok amateur – just. I’m interested in street photography. Shall I devote more time to this and see if I can improve? I probably will, the question is to what extent?
- A couple of people have suggested my writing a book. Does the market need yet another IT management tome, no matter how jokey? Hmm. If not that, what?
- I could re-apply to Imperial for my MSc. I fancy the qualification – but, looking at the course itself, I can only get enthused for bits of it. And I can already feel myself saying I don’t want to study policy, I want to help set and execute it. I have an interest in what drives so-called climate sceptics – and that could be a topic. But I’m not sure I’d want to treat it as academically as such a course would require. If the MA is a bit hard, I may take some evening classes.
- I’ll need some socialisation (steady on, dear reader), so I will join the Richmond and Twickenham Photographic Society. I can see becoming more active with the local Liberal Democrats (how’s that for being the underdog?) I will do something for Guide Dogs – it could be IT or puppy walking or other activities.
- There are start-ups, so I could consider a real job. I’ve had a couple of sniffs and one very interested – but the commute would probably kill that off.
- I’ve been approached to do a few odd days of consultancy for various people. That has its attractions. I’m about to get off the treadmill – few bits and bobs might help me if I discover all I’m fit for is to stay on the treadmill.
So, for the moment, I’m mentally telling myself that I’m taking the summer off. I’ll do a few days work here and there – but measured in days more than months. There’s Amelia Jackson-Purdy’s wedding in June in Toronto and seeing friends and family. The local street party will want some volunteers. The Olympics is exciting – I’ll want to be around for that. And there’s Ben and Jo’s wedding in Norwich in September. A summer off, pottering about, barbecuing, with some photography. Yeah, maybe that’s what I’ll do.