A new chapter

After three years at Swansea School of Management, I’m moving on. It’s been an eventful period of my life, and one with a lot of positive takeways. I’m pleased with the work I’ve done under challenging circumstances, and I’ve learned a great deal from my interactions with a diverse and interesting student body.

However, as I teach my students in my Strategic Management modules, the environment is always changing, and we have to change with it. The skill set that I’ve built up over the years is no longer appropriate to the new direction my role was taking; at the same time, the strategic direction that the organisation has chosen wouldn’t help me achieve my personal or career goals.

Taking the decision to leave wasn’t easy. Contracts for lecturers require a full term’s notice, which at best means around three months. Since I was leaving the Higher Education sector, this was a problem. I interviewed with a few potential employers who were interested – but the three-month wait was a deal-breaker. In the end, I had to jump without a parachute, and hope that something would turn up…

I’m happy to say that something did indeed turn up, and quite quickly. It’s a slight change of direction: I’ll be teaching English rather than business. However, it’s a change that I’ve been considering for some time, and takes me into a growth area – unlike the UK university sector which, I fear, is entering a tumultuous period in which there will be a lot of casualties.

The best part of all is that I will be moving to St Petersburg, the old capital of Russia. I’ve been fascinated by Russia for many years, and this was too good an opportunity to miss. I see this as the first step in a five-year plan, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

There are some important lessons in this. I could have stayed on in a post that’s comfortable and secure, and which I do well. However, if that’s at the cost of giving up on personal goals and values… is it really worth it? Not for the first time in my life, I’ve learned that a leap of faith can be well rewarded. Not only that, of course: fortune may favour the brave – but it also helps to have a plan. Make the effort to develop a portfolio of skills and experience, and you’ll discover that opportunities abound…

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