Job hunting Transition style
My life is completely and utterly in Transition. I didn't want to just rush blindly along the conventional economic pathways, to settle for something not quite right, to compromise my long-term quality of life. So I took a pause, some time for reflection to work out which direction to go in next. How to make my lifestyle resilient.
My one fixed point at the moment is that I have decided the area that I want to live in, although that is still potentially open for negotitation if it comes to it. I don't however, have a place to stay long-term or a job. What I am doing is exploring, I am on an adventure of discovery into the possible ways of living. I have decided to cast my net wide and to investigate all of the potential livelihoods that appeal to me in the area.
What could I do?
Environmental education has always been something that I have been involved in and was interested in as a way of life. So I have been in touch with the local wildlife trusts and have been to help out with some of their environmental education work, there is a job coming up in the not too distant future so that's a possibility. I have also been in touch with the local sustrans officers to find out about what cycling education opportunities they have.
And then there are the trades... Having tried a 9-5 semi-office job a couple of times and not particularly got on with it I have been wondering whether learning a craft or a profession would be a way of life I would prefer. So I've been to talk to the artisan baker in Shrewsbury, they were actually considering taking on an apprentice so offered me a trial shift. However, after serious consideration I decided that I couldn't live a life working from 1am to 10am five days a week, its just not worth it. But that is a path explored and I am satisfied that that isn't the direction I want to go in. I have also been to talk to a local herbalist as I have been interested in herbal medicine for quite a while. That was only yesterday and I am still digesting what I found out before doing some more research and then seeing what I can come up with that is positive, negative or interesting about it. Then we will see, but another three year degree is quite a commitment! I am also going to sit down soon and go through my traditional crafts book and the jobs list in the Transition companion to see whether anything else appeals.
I think my main approach has really been to try and talk to as many people as possible. I have met up with a couple of people from Transition Shrewsbury to see what they are up to and whether they know of any opportunities, unfortunately they are not yet at the Transition Town Totnes stage of employing people. I also want to talk to my permaculture teacher about being a permaculture designer and teacher and I have met a lady who is also looking for work in the same kind of field and we are going to have a chat about applying for funding and running a project together. And then talking to everyone else about it and finding out different perspectives, different ideas, inspiration.
One thing I haven't properly investigated yet is this idea of having multiple incomes. It is a brilliant strategy in terms of resilience, because if one fails then you still have all the rest. However, I can't quite get my head around how you get started in it. How do you find all of these little things to do? And do you already need to have lots of skills, such as being a tree surgeon?
How to go about it
Alongside all this exploration and information gathering I have been working through Looby Macnamara's People and Permaculture book with the intention of fully preparing myself to do a full permaculture design of my life once I have finished it. I'm hoping that the design will help to structure my thinking and will help me see the way forwards more clearly. It is also giving me lots of useful inspiration along the way. Another book on my reading list is Mark Boyle's Moneyless Manifesto to see if I can make some of my livelihood through an alternative economic system.
I have decided to treat finding my livelihood as my job, eg, working 10-4 four days a week on it. This means that it definitely gets lots of time and energy dedicated to it, but that I also get time to turn off and relax without feeling guilty, which is very important for my sanity!
I am hoping that my ethos of proactively looking and exploring and then trusting to fate and circumstance to provide opportunities will work. If not I'll probably just go WWOOFing for a while!
Photos: My Otesha environmental education cycle tour performing at the Edinburgh Fringe festival on the Royal Mile (Sam White), Shrewsbury Bakehouse artisan breads (Richard Foot), People and Permaculture by Looby Macnamara