Moving Forward –>

When I first started out writing this blog it was all about trying to help others that were leaving the Military by documenting my resettlement journey. Being in the AGC(SPS) (Military HR Admin & Finance) there were things that I probably knew that others didn’t…The feedback that I have had from the blog is that people found it very interesting & extremely helpful especially the posts around job searching. The number of visitors and views it’s had would also indicate that it was well received, that and the invitations to write columns and articles for a number of magazines and organisations! Unfortunately I had to turn these amazing offers down as at the time as I just didn’t have the capacity given the enormity of the change I was going through. I am very proud of the blog and would go as far to say it’s one of my greatest achievements.
The thing is, I’ve been out of the military for around 3.5 years now and feel as though I’m relatively well settled in Civvy Street and my ‘new’ life in general. I can’t just keep writing about the Army and all the highs and pitfalls that come with that as that’s all in the past now – no new material will ever come of it. Yes there is a lot to share about my life whilst in the Army and the crazy experiences that it gave me so I’ve decided to try and put that down in an autobiography which I will hopefully publish on Amazon by the end of the year. 
Anyway, enough of that for now. So much has happened to me in the 3.5 years since I left the Army…I have had a promotion and change of role within my Company (Cummins Turbo Technologies), I’m now in a different, much better relationship and I am a mother. I know it’s not Forces related anymore but I don’t want the blog to stop as I just enjoy writing it so bloody much! So I’ve been thinking about the way to progress the blog and rather than keeping looking back I would like to just use it to record the life and times of a thirty something HR professional mother, wife, daughter and friend. I’m not trying to be another ‘Unmumsy Mum’ or anything like that although there will no doubt be shades of that at times but I want it to focus on me as a motivated, ambitious woman who is also a mother and wife in the hope that it can help or inspire other people out there (both male and female) that you can have kids and try and kick on in a career. I hope to cover things from things of interest I do at work, any personal or professional development and my professional journey wherever that may take me…I can’t promise that it will be exciting or as niche as before but it will be written as openly and articulately as I can manage with hopefully some humour thrown in.
Thanks again for reading and for your messages of support, Lucy ūüôā

Facilitation Course, 10 – 12 June 2013

So there I was nearly at the end of my terminal leave and edging rapidly closer to my Discharge date and I heard about the APMG International’s Facilitation Course via the company Explosive Learning Solutions on Twitter – There were some last minute places going on the course and was I interested? My first thought was – 3 day course, decent price and another qualification to add to the CV…I was sold!

Then a few days later whilst I was tootling down the M1 to Oxford I started to actually think about what I was going to be doing? What was a Facilitator? What exactly was I going to be learning? I thought about what Facilitation meant to me…To facilitate meant to enable something, to aid where possible and support something to happen. Mmmmm, I worked in a customer facing role, I did that all the time right?!?!

Monday morning came and I arrived at ELS HQ. The building is modern with great facilities and is ideally located at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus just off the A34. I settled into the classroom of 6 students and we started our introductions. I was pleased to find that there was a good mix of ex-Military and Civilian personnel on the course and also on the ELS team. I felt instantly relaxed and knew the outcome of the 3 days would be extremely positive.

As it turned out this was the first EVER Facilitators Course to be run…in the entire world!! I was excited…So, I wondered, what was it all about? After a post introduction cuppa we then got down to our learning and over the next 2 and a half days we covered a vast amount of information from the text books we were provided. There was an excellent mix of presentations, discussions and exercises with regular breaks for refreshments. A fantastic lunch was also provided daily. Without giving too much away of the course material it is all about the thinking behind being a facilitator, the different models, tools and techniques that a facilitator can employ when assisting a CEO/MD/Manager with a Meeting, Event or Workshop. The emphasis on the course is all about Process or ‘Green Thinking’ and getting to the bottom of that ‘wicked problem’. The course also covered a lot of other things that can be applied in other forms of life, be it professional or personal, such as identifying Conflict and the Management of Conflict, Personality Profiling and how to be a good Active Listener. It was all interesting stuff!

Before I knew it Wednesday afternoon was upon us and it was exam time – 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 40 minutes….Exam done and after an agonising wait whilst our instructor marked the papers we were called back into the classroom and all informed that we had passed. We were 6 newly qualified Facilitators armed with a fundamental knowledge of facilitation, we were all ecstatic.

For me this course was so intense and so very different to any other course I have ever been on in my life, there was so much information to take on board and the civilian terminology made it all the more difficult BUT I had passed, I had done it! I had passed the most challenging qualification I had embarked on during my whole life and it made me feel so proud of myself, not only that but it gave me an increased level of belief in myself and gave me a renewed level of optimism that now anything was really possible. I had met some great people and worked with a great company, I would thoroughly recommend Explosive Learning Solutions to anyone whether you are a Service Leaver embarking on a new career or whether you are just looking to do some professional development.

I’m already looking forward to booking my next course!!



Why can’t I switch off…?

I have always prided myself¬†throughout my¬†Military¬†Career that I was professional in my business and possibly more importantly to me¬†I was proud that I cared about the Soldiers and Officers I was administrating.¬† I worked until my jobs for that day were done regardless of the time of night I would wander back to the block and it gave me peace of mind to know that I was starting a fresh the next day. I also assumed that when I eventually decided to ‘sign off’ I would also be able to switch off and not care about the Army…..the truth is as much as I want to (and I really do want to ), I cant!¬† Even now when I can count the amount of working days left on my hands I’m still in work, working, helping out the lads, doing what I can for the good of the Regiment.

A¬†recent example of this was when I was given a small task by my Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM)¬†and whilst conducting this task I found other quite major¬†errors which to correct would take a lot of time and effort.¬† I could’ve kept these¬†errors to myself and left it for some other HR Administrator to find but I didn’t. I went straight back to my SSM, told him what I’d found, explained¬†how these¬†errors were badly affecting our figures¬†and asked him if¬†I could rectify it?¬† He obviously said yes and I set about my task.¬† Four hours later I’d completed¬†the job¬†and felt happy that I had directly contributed to making the Regiments statistics better.¬† I was also quite mad with myself too – why couldn’t i have just kept my mouth shut? Why cant I stop caring about the Army?¬† What had pushed me to give myself more work when I could’ve been using my time job searching, or doing some training or networking.¬†

Is it because its inbuilt into¬†me as a person? Is it because I feel this unrequited loyalty to an Organisation that will forget about me the moment I walk through those camp gates or is it because some other reason….?¬† I put it down to personal pride and the fact that if something isn’t right then it needs to be made right and if I can do that then I should.¬† I think a lot of other Service Leavers will struggle with this too – feeling mentally torn between their loyalty to the Forces Vs prepping for Civvy St…especially when Line Managers say things like ‘You’re still being paid by the Army so crack on’ when actually your family are relying on you to devote time to your resettlement activities so that when you leave you are employable.

Undoubtedly a very tough time but hopefully I’ve played it just right, doing enough to keep off peoples radars but dedicating every free moment to my Resettlement in the hope that it will make my transition to Civilian life as successful as possible.