Second Career: Day 0

Tomorrow is the first day of my second career. Perhaps I’ll write about why I left the music industry another time. Right now my focus is on the incredible opportunities I will have over the next year as an On Purpose Associate.

What is On Purpose?

On Purpose is an organisation that seeks out top professionals early in their careers and helps them transition into the social enterprise sector. It aims to create a cadre of top-quality managers who can help the sector make the most of its potential to create sustainable good using commercial principles. Associates join “a one-year, full time, leadership programme that combines paid work placements with weekly training and regular one-to-one coaching and mentoring” in London, Berlin and Paris. As part of the April 2016 London cohort, I’m one of a group of 17 who have come from backgrounds in finance, consulting, law, civil service, nonprofits and, er, the independent music industry. We’ve come to learn through doing as well as training: 4.5 days a week will be spent in our work placements.

What Will You Be Doing?

My first placement is RBS Community Finance & Social Enterprise, which runs a charity that lends money to community-based businesses that have been denied finance by high-street lenders. They also sponsor the SE100, an index which tracks social enterprises’ performances as a sector, as the FTSE does for the largest publicly traded companies.

A High Street Bank? So Much For Ethics

A friend of mine challenged me last night. He couldn’t believe my so-called ethical career choice had taken me into the City of London. His objections came down to three key questions:

  1. Are big companies really committed to social enterprise, or is it a marketing gimmick, a kind of CSR initiative to improve their reputations?

2. How can any social enterprise really focus on a triple bottom line of profits, people and the environment?

3. It’s easy to claim a positive impact, but how can impact be measured and verified?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but they look like a good place to start.

Read about the Associate Programme and apply for the October 2016 Programme here: