“I used to find it difficult to switch off, and often had my best work ideas while in the shower or walking along the street. But I never gave time for anything else and I knew I was missing out on so many things.”
shares James Glover MSc FCIPD, Head of Human Resources & Organisational Development at Mind and children’s author.
James is keen to leave the world in a better place and feels that the charity sector is a good place to make it happen. In his spare time he’s a children’s author and writes the Camberdoodles stories, currently being serialised in his local paper, The Rye News.
In today’s interview he shares his story and how his career journey transformed from Customer Service Desk at Michelin to a Head of Human Resources & Organisational Development at Mind, the mental health charity.
Where do you come from and where are you based now?
I was born in Woking in Surrey, probably one of the most ordinary places in the UK, like Slough or Luton!
I now live on the coast in deepest East Sussex in a little town called Rye. We’ve been here nearly four years now, and I constantly remind myself of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.
As a child did you have a dream job?
No! I remember being terrified I wouldn’t be able to look after myself and would end up on the street in poverty. In my teens I worked in retail, and like most people in retail, my weekend / day off was a day in the week.
I remember watching a day time soap centred around the personnel department of a factory in the Midlands. I was fascinated by peoples’ lives and what they had to deal with. I remember thinking I wouldn’t mind working in personnel one day. It wasn’t until years later that I had the opportunity, but perhaps this was when the seed was planted.
When and how did you discover your talents and direction for your dream job?
After spending some time in France in my thirties I came home and found a job at Michelin, the French Tyre manufacturer. Having not worked for a while I couldn’t be choosey about what I did, so I worked on their customer service desk, utilising the French I’d picked up during the previous years. I enjoyed this job, because you did it and then went home to think about something else and get on with life. A bit like driving a train I’d imagine.
I used this time to gain a skill that would move me up the ladder. I can’t remember why but I enrolled on a degree course with the Institute of Pensions & Payroll Management (Now the CIPP, Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals), perhaps because every company needs the payroll processed!
This qualification took me away from Michelin and I joined various companies in London working on their payrolls. The Payroll Officer works closely with the HR Department and I saw a vacancy with Terrence Higgins Trust a charity close to my heart. I was lucky to have ten very happy years there and it was during this time I studied for a Masters in Human Resource Management at London South Bank University.
For the past three years it has been my honour to have my dream role at Mind the Mental Health Charity, where I am Head of HR & OD.
What is your ideal job/business now? Why do you do what you do right now?
I’m still with Mind, but as I get older and closer to retirement I have been considering what I might do next. My husband and I have two Cockapoos who are constantly making us laugh, and as time passed I began jotting down what might be going on in their heads.
This was the start of the Camberdoodles childrens’ stories, and I’ve been lucky to have the first twelve episodes published in our local paper, The Rye news. I’m thrilled to say they have been well received and we hope to develop a book this year.
Writing has become a bit of an obsession and I love how I can step into a world that can be anything I want it to be. Strangely I love writing and editing the stories, but once they’re published I can’t read them, but I’m not sure why!
Work and life balance – what does it mean to you and how do you keep it?
As I said, I used to find it difficult to switch off, and often had my best work ideas while either in the shower or walking along the street. But I never gave time for anything else and I knew I was missing out on so many things.
The move to Rye really helped us build a life away from work. Firstly it’s a very different landscape to Stratford in East London, and the commute gives me the time to ‘change lives’. Now I do switch off and enjoy nothing more than a walk along the beach and a pub lunch whenever we can.
What have you learned on your dream job journey? What was the most difficult thing to overcome?
I’ve learned we all need a bit of luck and a break from time to time. Mine was Terrence Higgins Trust, the first organisation where I felt I belonged, where I enjoyed the role and where I could make a difference.
Looking back I can remember desperately willing situations to change and being impatient for the wrong things. I’m much more relaxed now and know what will be will be, and it will be right for me!
3 tips you can take from James’s story:
- It does not matter if you had a dream job idea or not when you were little, finding your dream job is possible when you dedicate your time and energy towards it.
- You don’t have to invest into your degree right away. You can invest in your education later on during your working life.
- If you feel purposeless in your current job or industry, you can explore work for charities or not-for-profit organisations.
If you’d like to connect with James or here is his LinkedIn profile. For Camberdoodle stories visit Rye News
Author: AdriAna Kosovska
Professional and certified coach & founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB ACADEMY
I work with employees, couples and organisations that care about
Stress reduction | Talents and strengths development | Dream job