FE has changed a lot over recent years, and it’s likely to continue to change. Many people working in FE recognise that the sector is different now from what it was even a few years ago. If you’re happy with the changes, fine. If you’re not, what should you do?
Work out what has changed
You might have the same job title, the same desk in the same staffroom and you’re on the same salary grade, but the job you’re doing isn’t the job you accepted when you took up your post. You know you didn’t come into FE to do what you’re being asked to do, but you’re stuck about how to react. .
Now’s the time to work out what has changed. What is different about your role today from the one you had? How much of what you came into FE to do is still part of your role? Is it the major part of your role?
Focusing on these details will help you to recognise how fundamental the changes in your role are, and how much of your role really has changed.
Be honest with yourself when you ask this question. Don’t just rely on your own perceptions. Take advice from those whose judgement you trust to help you to arrive at the right answers. You will only be able to decide what to do next, when you’re sure you’ve analysed your current situation accurately.
What's the impact of your change of role?
As well as thinking about how your role has changed, consider, too, the impact of recent changes on you as an individual.
How are you coping with your changed role? Do you need additional training or other types of support to help you to deal with the new situation?
How do you think the change in your role is affecting your health, your sense of well-being, your career, your relationships? If you haven’t thought about these issues, think about them now.
Project into the future.
In the longer-term can you cope with the changes you’ve experienced? Do you want to cope with these changes? Only you know the answer.
Can you roll back the changes?
If you’re unhappy with your new job – the one you have, but didn’t apply for – what are your chances of taking action to restore your workload, or the content of what you do, or the context in which you now work, to what it was?
Is it just a case of stating your working preferences and reminding people what your role really is? Are there misunderstandings in your work area? Are you the only one whose role has changed? Have other people in your department, or section, also been asked to make changes to the ways in which they work? Are the concerns you have ones you can raise in management meetings?
In short, how much control can you exert over your day-to-day working environment, if you try?
I didn't come into FE to...
Change in life is inevitable. Organisations change. People change. Nothing stays the same. What’s important is how you manage the changes you experience.
Take a step back from the frustrations you’re facing. Do you want to stay in your current role, or would you prefer to look for something different?
You don’t need to make an immediate decision. You don’t need to take action today. However, if you’re not happy with your role, planning a move or a departure makes a great deal of sense for you, for your career and for your health.
Margaret Adams Chartered FCIPD is the author of The Solo Success Start-Up Guide. She helps expert professionals plan for a future that they control.