Former McKinsey and Lloyds employee, now an On Purpose Associate currently working at Big Society Capital. Having made my escape from financial services I am looking for a job in the social enterprise space once this year comes to an end.
David Bartram escaped the world of Consultancy and Banking by joining http://onpurpose.uk.com/" rel="nofollow">On Purpose, a one year development programme designed to kick-start young professionals' careers in Social Enterprise. The programme involves two six month paid placements; David is currently with the London Early Years Foundation, and will subsequently join the social investment wholesale bank, Big Society Capital.
I am more than happy to speak to people who are thinking of a career in Social Enterprise and obviously thinking of applying to become an On Purpose Associate (http://onpurpose.uk.com/" rel="nofollow">http://onpurpose.uk.com/).
Firstly, I’m pleased to be able to say that I no longer dread being asked this question. It means a lot to me to be doing something I consider worthwhile, something that I find interesting. On Purpose has given me the perfect platform to do just this.
As an On Purpose Associate I am currently mid-way through my first six month placement at the social enterprise nursery the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). LEYF is embarking on a period of expansion and it has been a great opportunity for me to be involved in the day-to-day work of a successful and inspiring social enterprise. It’s safe to say that while working at Lloyds Banking Group I didn’t envisage myself working at a nursery, but I couldn’t be happier.
My second placement will be at Big Society Capital, the social investment wholesale bank with £600m of government funding aimed to catalyse the growth of a sustainable social investment market.
I left university after taking maybe one token trip to the careers department and not really putting too much/any thought into what I would actually be doing with my life after the university bubble. I can’t remember how but I decided that consultancy was to be my career of choice; it seemed non-committal enough for me.
I was fortunate enough to begin my career at McKinsey where I worked on some great projects and with some incredible people. From McKinsey I was offered the chance to join Lloyds within a new insights and product development team but in truth I always knew it wasn’t quite right for me.
I worked on a couple of great projects while at McKinsey within their social sector on Microfinance in the developing world. I would say this planted the seed, but I was far too afraid at the time to admit that I wanted and needed a change in career focus; hence the considerably easier decision to work in the financial services sector.
A few months into my role at Lloyds I had a further realisation that I needed a change - I needed to get out. I found myself getting frustrated with the work that I was doing, consequently leading me to feeling angry and I even started to resent the work that I was doing.
To put it simply, I got very little satisfaction out of the work I was doing. I found that I used to shy away from telling people what it was that I did (never a good sign), and I was increasingly seeing friends of mine getting jobs they seemed genuinely connected with.
So maybe it wasn’t one moment of truth; more a succession of small realisations.
I just spoke to as many people as I could about their jobs, what they did, whether they enjoyed it, how they got there etc. I met up with an ex-McKinsey colleague who told me about On Purpose, and from there I started reading more about the programme and about Social Enterprise in general. Things started to make sense and I realised On Purpose was for me.
My granddad was always the one giving me advice when I was growing up. He would tell me that people always get out of things what they put in; and that’s something I have always had in the back of my mind. You need to make an effort to get rewards.
(He also told me that drinking a Guinness a day is good for you... so his advice was a little hit and miss, but worthwhile none the less!)
The best advice has to be to just go for it - is there anything worse than doing something for a job that you don't enjoy?
As I said, when starting my search I just met up with as many people as I could.
However, when finding out more about Social Enterprise, then the http://www.guardian.co.uk/socialenterprise" rel="nofollow">Guardian Social Enterprise Network, http://www.impact-generation.com/" rel="nofollow">Impact Generation, http://www.businessfightspoverty.org/" rel="nofollow">Business Fights Poverty, http://socialenterpriselive.com/" rel="nofollow">Social Enterprise Live, and other similar organisations. And of course Escape the City for reassuring me that these jobs and people existed.