Everyone at Difrent is extremely passionate and committed to affecting real change in the public sector, delivering quality outcomes on projects aimed at ‘public good’.more
Moving from the recruitment world into professional services was always something I’d wanted to do. From my first interaction with Difrent, I loved everything about them and decided to take the leap. I’d placed ‘teams’ onto projects before, but I’d never won, or even explored outcome-based deliverables. I’ve learned a lot about this new world I find myself in, and what better time to reflect on it all than now.
So, what have I learned?
Well... A LOT, but I want to focus on three key things.
Difrent offer all of their employees a learning and development budget. Since January, I used my budget to be mentored by a guy called Phil, who has become a very close friend and my sounding board for pretty much everything. I can’t tell you how valuable this has been and how much I’ve enjoyed the experience so far.
For me, the benefits of having a mentor have been incredible. We meet once a week but chat daily. Half of our conversations haven’t even been work-related, but in sharing knowledge, experiences and talking things through I’ve learnt an awful lot about myself. We’ve identified my strengths, worked on addressing my weaknesses and looked ahead to the future, both short and long term, professionally and personally.
If you’re lucky enough to have an employer who supports this kind of thing, I seriously can’t recommend it enough.
I struggle with work/life balance. When I joined Difrent I thought “work your arse off for the first six months, and then slowly start to enjoy yourself”.
The problem though, is that this behaviour becomes habitual, and I’ve really struggled to get out of this cycle. There’s been a lot of travel across the UK due to the nature of our work and our client base. I’ve found myself working until late at night finalising bids and proposals, and playing catch up after days out of the office. This is why time management has been a big focus, as has organisation/planning.
I have set up ‘Boomerang’ on my email which means I won’t receive emails out of hours and I’ve been making sure Slack etc is on do not disturb when I finish the day. Thank you to Ann for this recommendation and the polite kick up the backside to get it done!
Spending time with my girlfriend is the best remedy for finding this balance outside of work. Downtime is so, so important. I’ve really learned to value this and embrace the ‘self-care’ side of things, too. Rachel leads from the front in this respect, and has been great at telling me to ‘get off slack’ or just outright ignoring me when required.
I’m not quite there yet, but working hard at it. It’s about progress and not perfection. If you have any tips or ideas for getting the balance right, I’d love to hear about them.
One of the first events I attended as part of team Difrent was UKGovCamp. I’ve been blown away ever since by the sense of community in the central government, local gov and healthcare space.
I have a huge admiration for the work that OneTeamGov, UKGC etc are doing, and in light of the current political landscape it’s awesome to see so many people genuinely committed to improving public services. As a proud Midlander, I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing OneTeamGov Mids being established and now growing into a great community. Well done to Sarah Slack and Jane Fallon for all of their hard work to date. Looking forward to the next event!
I’ve met some wonderful people as a result of these various communities, and I’m delighted to play even a small part.
All in all, it’s been an incredible six months. It’s been really hard work, but unbelievable fun and I am loving being part of the journey. I feel lucky to be working with such a great bunch and to have the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.
Excited to see what the rest of this year, and the years to come, have in store…