Why it’s great to be out of a job

justin rickettsIn this guest post Justin Ricketts argues being out of work is the best way to really assess what it is you want from a job. 

Well, it’s been about three weeks since I finished up at Ensemble and what an amazingly positive experience it has been.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having the time (and, importantly, the head space) to get out into the market and meet with friends, colleagues, competitors and people and businesses that I’ve admired within the industry from afar over the past 10 or so years.

I’m amazed and excited by how much opportunity is out there, and pleasantly surprised that the most interesting opportunities are coming from the most left-field places.

And this is only after three weeks!

I have one key learning that I want to share based on my experience thus far (which I guess could yet still come back to bite me), which is that the old saying that ‘you need to be in a job to get a job’ could not be further from the truth.

Firstly, when you are in a job you simply don’t have the time or the head space to get out and genuinely connect with people. You also have a biased or narrow focus or agenda, given your existing perspective or employment, and most probably the people you are meeting are also very guarded about what they want to discuss and share with you.

Secondly, you need to be out of a job to be able to truly reflect on whether you were actually happy and fulfilled doing what you were doing, and importantly, to really understand what would make you happier and more fulfilled.

Thirdly, I think you need to get out of being comfortable in a job to be able to step back and assess all of the things that are important in your life and potentially re-calibrate your thinking of striking a ‘work-life’ balance instead achieving a ‘life-work’ balance.

Finally, I have found it really beneficial to be able to escape the ‘self-belief and propaganda’ (harsh but potentially fair) of an organisation and be able to out into the industry get a genuine understanding of what is happening in the broader market.

So – for anyone out there who isn’t happy in their current role or is thinking of doing something else at some point in the future, my advice is to take the plunge and get out of what you are doing now. It’s a risk, for sure, but I reckon a risk worth taking.

And for anyone out there who has any interest in my experience and working together in the future – please do get in touch as I’d love to grab a coffee and meet; my diary is pleasantly flexible!

Justin Ricketts is a ‘creative marketer exploring new opportunities’ and former CEO of Ensemble


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