This week is the 5th anniversary of my starting work with the company now known as Culturapedia.
My interview feels like yesterday. I had spent the best part of two weeks preparing the interview tasks – there was a spreadsheet with incredibly detailed listings and very bright coloured lines depicting how I’d manage the administration of Spot On Lancashire. I’d gone over and over a short article which I’d been asked to proof and edit for mailout. My main memory of the actual event was Sue asking me what I’d like to be doing in five years time if I was successful in getting the job. My response was “running Spot On… if you’ll let me”. I remember Rob and Sue looking rather amused by that – I didn’t actually think I’d be doing it though. Five years later, Sue took me on my word and I find myself knee deep in Spot On Spring 2015 show requests and booking forms. My spreadsheet, by the way, is still incredibly detailed and in a variety of bold colours!
So five years on, what do I have to show for my efforts here at Culturapedia?
What’s in a name?
When I began my role as Information and Project Administration Manager (IPAM) there was just me, Rob, Sue and Charlie in the office and we were Robinson Howell Partnership. Rob and Sue had a plan for expansion (hence employing me) and the gem of an idea for a name, but bigger ideas and exciting challenges led us to creating the trading name ‘Culturapedia’ with a whole team of staff and a portfolio of large and small projects to manage.
Looking back over my time here we’ve employed 10 staff, hosted seven interns/work experience placements, and delivered two large scale management projects for Lancaster University students. Add to that 45 core promoters for Spot On, our hundreds of mailout contributors and somewhereto_ young people and the thousands of happy audience members we’ve had for Spot On (and now Plugged In) over the years, not to mention the external agencies we work with… I think I can safely say we touch a lot of people.
Two stone in cake
When this all started we decided one of the perks of the job was a birthday cake and a work birthday cake baked by the Director of the company. That’s all well and good, but when you add to that a love of biscuits and fizzy drinks it’s not hard to see where the extra pounds came from. Now, following my recent engagement to the lovely Stephen, I have my latest challenge of losing that weight for my wedding (TBC late 2015).
Thankfully the team are being incredibly supportive and we are (mostly) a cake and biscuit free zone as we all work to slim down and tone up for our own variety of reasons.
Now at five, I’ve worked in this role longer than any other. I’ve grown into it (and out of it). I’ve reshaped it, given myself a new title, got my name known for the work I do with our amazing team and very importantly I’ve built myself a kitsch corner in the office. Whilst we are supposed to operate a hot desk policy here I have slowly collected ‘things’ and they are starting to take over. Maybe that’s not a positive, but I think it shows I’m happy in my space.
Small wins and giant triumphs
The work I do is often slow and steady progression towards lovely outcomes – I can work for six months on creating a programme of activity for Spot On and then it just happens through the hard work of the volunteers that I coordinate. I still get that pang of nerves just before a show – I can only describe it as the feeling you get when you decide to host a party and you’re worried no-one will come.
I hear about countless young people who are all doing amazing things to get themselves noticed, to build up their CV and more importantly to empower themselves to make choices which will help them develop into really amazing adults. How many people can say they do that every day?
A few years back I decided that we needed to focus more on our triumphs rather than wallowing in the problems we needed to solve. The joy in my job comes from watching the people I work with have success in what they’ve set out to do. The triumphs board keeps me motivated and reminds us all that what we do is really important.
I think the easiest way to sum up my role here is ‘organiser of many things’, be that people or tasks and I’m hopeful that this is how it will stay for a very long time.
I’ve learnt that I love an interesting conversation, a colourful spreadsheet, a pressing deadline, and lists… lots of lists!
The moral… here in the suburbs of Blackburn you get what you wish for, so be careful what you ask when you blow out that candle!