Day 9 – What’s the most life-changing event of your life to date?
Well apart from the births of my three daughters which completely changed everything (they would be mortified if I waxed lyrical about their conception, births or early years here, so I won’t), it is probably the day I decided to apply for a job that was considered controversial and unorthodox for me to apply for by others, it was a job that I felt was in my desired future employment sector, in a role that was comparable to my existing skill set but very much a different sector than where I was employed at the time and set me on the tourism, heritage & culture renaissance man lifestyle I am fortunate enough to live today.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was managing an alternative nightclub in Leicester and only worked on the premises about 20 hours each week, so in my spare time I went back to college, did my A’ levels, and some GCSE’s, went to University to do my degree and spent the rest of my spare time visiting historical buildings, ancient monuments and museums because that was what I liked to do. So when I realised that you couldn’t smoke and drink for a living and also live a full and healthy life, I started to wonder what I was going to do when it came time to go and get myself a ‘proper’ job.
The answer I thought was in management or operations for museums, libraries, historic properties, art galleries etc. so I went to the local council job centre (they used to have a room with jobs vacant pinned to notice boards and places to fill in application forms) because all my local cultural amenities were run by the council and there it was, pinned up on the notice board – Operations Manager for New Walk Museum & Art Gallery the flagship museum in Leicester.
So I took the person specification, job description and an application form home with me, the job was virtually the same as the one I was doing, customer service, licences, health & safety, managing staff, budgets and projects etc. So I applied and I got an interview.
I can remember that the interview had gone very well, when I was asked ‘how comparable is your current role (nightclub manager) with the role here at the museum?’ and I said how similar they were on this aspect and that aspect, especially relating to the fact that museums and nightclubs both sell the same thing, something you can’t grasp, something ethereal, they sell the opportunity to have a good time. And finally added to the end of this grand statement, I said ‘apart from the customers in the Museum aren’t drunk!’
The interview panel, looked at each other, then back to me and for a moment I thought I may have blown it, when the chair of the panel said ‘oh, they can be!’.
I was subsequently delighted to be given the opportunity to work there and it is a place I am very fond of. So much so that I have been volunteering as a trustee for the City of Leicester Museums Trust for the last seven years now (I’m the Chairman actually don’t you know).