In the Summer of 2017, I decided to move on from a full-time role, but without anything to go on to. I wanted to use my six-month notice period to explore what I could be doing next, and take an active control over my own future of work.
In my six months of making new connections, having many conversations, drinking many coffees — I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my desire to take more of an active role in my career — and it isn’t a millennial thing either — people of all ages, shapes, backgrounds and levels of experience are starting to take a look at their own career story, and ask, how can I be more actively in control? More in control over what work I do, how I do it, where and when I do it, who I do it for, how I get remunerated for it, how I develop skills to do it, how I find support and others doing similar.
A leap might be choosing to move into a completely different type of work. It might be resigning without a new job to go to. It might be about taking the move to freelance or setting up your own thing. It might be about retraining or going back to school. It could be moving within your existing organisation or to another country.
The key point is that it’s an active decision — not sitting back and waiting for another job to come along, and choosing from what’s on offer, but rather looking strategically forwards and asking “How do I want the future of work to look for me?”.
The workplace and employment landscape has dramatically changed, and will continue to be disrupted, shift and evolve even more so over the coming years. Digital connectivity, global and civic unrest, two recent major recessions, Brexit, the increased cost of education, the housing market being out of reach for many, organisations being more lean than ever, the rise of the gig economy and secondary income streams, along with a higher importance placed on wellbeing both at work and at home — these macro factors are all playing their part in shaping the future of work for everyone — but we are not at the mercy of these changes, we can, more so now than ever, make more informed, more strategic, more considered choices about what we do next.
Organisations too are recognising that they need to invest in people, and create development pathways and support and nurture their employees, with improved “work-life” balance, more flexible hours and working patterns, openness to networked talent, and react to the changing nature of work.
Leapers acts as a space which welcomes anyone who identifies with this change, this shift, this new active behaviour. It’s a space for people who are considering a leap to discover guidance, tools and techniques for planning; for those in the middle of leaping to find support and others in the same situation; for those who have leapt already to give back and share their stories and journeys.
Right now — we’re a community of about ̶2̶0̶0̶ (edit: 400 as of August 2018) people, from many backgrounds, supporting each other. In time, and it is already happening organically, I hope we’ll use the hive-mind of the community to create tools and techniques which benefit anyone who wants to leap; to collect resources and references which live on beyond a conversation; to create connections and help guide others on their journey.
If nothing else, we’ve found that the simple act of introducing ourselves to each other has helped many just recognise that … you’re not alone in taking this step.