Often we might wait for flashes of inspiration, or for the heard voice from the divine, or a calling that shoves us into a new direction within youth work and ministry. Every summer, there are stories of premiership footballers who have not been included in the new team photograph, or the new strip launch, or even airbrushed out! see this article on wayne rooney: http://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/man-utd-scramble-after-appearing-to-airbrush-rooney-out-of-club-4185979
In youthwork is just the same;
And we often want the BIG signs, we want the dream of the name of the new place we’re going to, that is then confirmed on a roadsign we pass ( theres a coincidence)
Or as we were walking along the beach and reflecting on your situation as the tide drew out it left a configuration of shells on the shore that spelled out ‘GET A NEW JOB’ .
But more often than not the process of leaving a place of work within youth work is more subtle than this, but there are some really key signs, moments that you’re time is nearly up in your current role. Or that a shift is needed within it to enable you to stay. when i say shift, i mean miracle. They are pretty subtle these, and you would need at least 4 or 5 of them to really grasp the mettle that your time might be up, but ill present them to you anyway just to see if you can or have spotted them.
- There are leavers meals out planned for you. I know, why management would go to this kind of trouble, for someone who is loving their job and hoping to stay is remarkable. But take it as an important sign.
- You’ve not been asked to write that really important but really boring report to be presented at a meeting of governance. They give you the excuse that they know the information, but id say its a sign of something else.
- All of a sudden, when the there is no invitation to the 5 year vision day for the organisation.
- Your photo disappears from the ‘church staff members’ section of the noticeboard. Or your role is ceremonially removed from the organisational hierarchy document, leaked by one of your contacts in HR.
- Well, your role isnt removed from the hierarchy, but instead of in education section, it is now in parks and gardens and entertainment. Could be worse, could be in ‘environmental waste’ section.
- People keep leaving open copies of the jobs pages in CYP now or youth and childrens work magazine on your desk, or your manager sends you links to jobs elsewhere via the internal server.
- Once you did youthwork, now you do admin for other youthworkers because someone has to and you grew into it.
- In a moment off guard, someone in the office, asks you ‘so what are you going to do next?’ and they give you that look. The puppy dog, sorry for you one. Its a sure sign that everyone else knows that your time is up, they may even know the end date, but you havent realised it yet, or been privy to that information.
- One of the really key signs that your time might be up is when your final salary, also contains a line that says ‘redundancy pay’. If you needed a clearer sign than this, it pretty obvious by now. Its even more certain when due to point 7, that it is you who issues your own redundancy pay, and then there is the clincher….
- The Milk rota: To top it all off, you are taken off the milk buying rota. Thats the clincher, if other people in the office arent expecting your milk for the fridge any more, you know that time to call it quits.
I know I know, you cant thank me enough for spelling out such insightful wisdom on youth work and ministry. It is important to be on your guard for these subtle signs that other people in your organisation are already preparing for life after you, and that you have been written out of their plans. It might take a whole load of deep discernment to pick some of these up, but often your gut instinct is right on these things. If you have to wait till you are written out of the milk rota, you probably havent got time to empty your desk.