I'm still here.
Thought I'd mention that.
Important to.
I'm not getting carried away though.
It's only been 6 weeks so let's put that into context that there is a long way to go and when I look at the wealth of experience I see at my charity each day, let's face it, I'm a "Freshman".
Some of my friends have accused me of still being in the honeymoon period but as I like to point out, if there was a honeymoon period, I missed it.

Those of you who have been in the sector for many years will no doubt (and rightfully so) be thinking this is all well and good but I should check back in a year.
Fair point well made but I can't get to a year until I do 6 weeks.
And then 7 weeks, 8 weeks, repeat to fade...

After ditching the corporate world and the sterile clinical arenas of Bankside and Canary Wharf for that of Ladbroke Grove, I am delighted with my new surroundings.
I like and enjoy the sense of community W10 offers given it reminds me of my childhood and I am not only adapting to a routine but also adapting with relish.
I got on the bus the other week.
A bus?
Michael Palin watch out.

Don't get me wrong, it's just as demanding as I expected, if not harder.
The job not getting on bus and as you know better than me, Charity and the NFP sector is not for the faint hearted but it's certainly for the kind hearted.
That said, let's put some context to all of this.
I don't wake up to Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror each day, I am not a nominee for the 2018 Charity awards and nor is my ringtone set to We are The World.
I'm just showing up to work each day (like millions of others in this sector) and "trying to do my bit".
Life is simply a game of credit and debits.
If I can make a difference, work hard and have more credits than debits at the end of each day then then great and if not, then I simply try again tomorrow.

Some days it feels like being on the set of a Ken Loach film.
Wonderful, hilarious, heartbreaking and demanding (there's that word again) but I signed up for this and I can't say I was not warned but in the same breath, I hardly leapt into this. It was a considered decision, a "risk v reward" strategy played out over 3 years therefore, it's more akin to a "calculated shuffle" than anything else.
The planning element to any big change I make is one I always deliberate over and take my time being I am at heart, acutely risk adverse but then, once a decision is made, I lock in that answer and it's a case of hands and feet inside the ride, the louder you scream, the faster we go.

Coming from the Private sector, I would not necessarily say I was programmed to be selfish but I would definitely have classified myself as a "Lone Agent with a hint of Mercenary".
In other words, a polite word for selfish.

I am far from the finished product (both personally or professionally) and I'm still "thawing out" given I am prone to random cynicism, even at my age.
Always tell the truth then you never have to remember and as such, I want my account to be "warts and all".  Not like some cosy Tuesday afternoon film on the Christmas channel of a cold hearted executive who learns the true value of kindness before it's too late.
Change the way you look at things the things you look at change.
Certainly my case.
What is apparent however is that I am a better person for assisting others and when I put myself at the back of the queue, it's better for all and memorable.
Give it away to keep it.

I have a team of superlatives and phrases at my disposal and I intend to use them.

I am learning from my peers, both within my organisation but also, outside of my charity along with the fantastically kind folk who have reached out to me with advice, events, links, phone calls or sat down over a coffee (flat white, extra shot) and been candid with me in my expectations.
Tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
We must play catchphrase bingo as someone must have a full line by now?

Last week I assisted in hosting an Open Day at the Positive Age Centre which admittedly, is not up there with organising Live Aid but the event was a huge success.
The Open Day that is, as was Live Aid.
Apparently.

I have sat in on motivational workshops at the DWP, been wandering the streets of Hammersmith & Fulham sourcing suitable stakeholders for collaborative partnerships and presenting to numerous organisations about the USP's of Open Age.
Last week, I created a cv for a gentleman who was incredibly grateful and his face looked like he had the winning numbers on the Euros.
A humbling experience and more humbling than I could ever give justice to with my efforts of describing in this article.

I also met with an independent film company who are making a documentary on the social and employment obstacles that the 50 + market can face.
This involved sourcing locations and starting to draw up a list of clients that whilst not exactly equity card holders are certainly not camera shy.
Hopefully, the filmmakers will obtain the funding they have applied for and we can get some welcome publicity for Open Age and our clients.

In short, I am throwing myself into everything and anything so that during the time I am here, I can obtain as much experience as possible before my contract concludes in March 2018.
Throw into the bargain that hopefully, I will have ticked the core objectives of what Open Age wanted of me and both parties can look back on a job well done.

I'm not thinking that far ahead though and it's one day at a time but I will continue to update you on my successes and shortfalls (failures).
It may be bumpy and there may be some twists and turns along the way but I assure you, it will be searingly honest.

You are welcome to come along for the journey but can I remind you to keep your hands and feet inside the ride.

The louder you scream...


Darren Grady, 
Open Age, W10.