Job fulfillment varies for different individuals; some measure success through their payslip, others their job title and others through the difference they make in people’s lives. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your role, now is always the perfect time to take a leap of faith and move into social good. Below John Ramsay, CEO of Shift8, the company bringing Tovertafel to the UK, describes his own experiences in this mission.
Experiencing my father’s journey with dementia was tremendously hard. He was diagnosed with early on set dementia at the age of 52 and died 10 years later, when I was only 22. It was incredibly distressing to grow up as a teenager and cope with my father’s condition. This made me realise that life is short, and you never know what is going to come around the corner.
I was an Associate at a Magic Circle law firm for nearly six years and I loved the people and the spirit of the firm. However, I wanted to do something more personal to my heart; law is fascinating and different every day, but it wasn’t stimulating me the right way. The experience with Dad was painful, but I knew that I wanted some good to come out of it and wanted to help others in a similar position to myself and my family. Meeting Hester de Le Riche, the founder of Tovertafel, was a eureka moment. I knew that this was the opportunity that I was yearning for to make a difference for those on their dementia journey and for their families.
When you’re not happy in your role it can be difficult to move on, but there are some things that you can consider before making this brave decision.
Listen and learn
When contemplating leaving your role, it can be hard to take advice from within your company, and even your industry, for many reasons. You can become too involved in your work and it’s hard to see your goals and what you want to change. Taking advice from friends, family and possibly mentors that have done the same thing from a variety of industries, will give you a better idea of the impact of moving from a corporate career into a position that can make a social difference.
It’s important to know that you’re not alone; there are communities formed specifically for social enterprises. Take advantage of the array of forums, apps and websites that are created for giving advice to people who are looking to jump the gun and leave the corporate world.
Don’t leave your experience behind
Some turn to a career in social good to leave the corporate way of life behind, but that doesn’t mean you must also abandon your expertise Skills come from all parts of life: personal life, education and work experience; ensuring that you can bring a unique touch to a company.
Combining my experience with my father’s dementia, my degree and work experience at various corporate firms I realised that I could use the best parts of each and help other people improve their lives.
When working for a social enterprise, passion about the cause and the company is key. Working for a corporate firm, it’s easy to get lost in the large numbers of staff and feel very isolated, feeling like a very small fish in the ocean. On the other hand, in many social enterprises, the teams are usually much more intimate. This can give you a louder voice and a much stronger sense of purpose – providing space for creativity. Nevertheless, it’s good to be aware that you may take home a lower salary. If you are passionate about the company and the cause, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Ultimately, making the decision to leave the corporate world and transfer your skills to a social enterprise is an incredibly courageous move. Make sure you have a clear mind, that you completely understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, that you take advice from everyone you know and take advantage of online communities. Once you have made the jump for the right reasons – like I did in 2015 – you will never look back. Measuring success by witnessing all the people you have helped, rather than personal gain, makes it all worth it.