Posts Tagged ‘public sector work’

Career Realities podcast #3:
the Charity Founder/Public Sector worker/Musician

February 3rd, 2015 No comments

This week’s Career Realities interview is with Paul Richards, founder of charity Stay Up Late, a charity that promotes the rights of people with learning disabilities to live the lifestyle of their choosing. Paul spent fifteen years as a musician in the band Heavy Load, and he talks about combining being a musician with actually earning money, how the band lead to the opportunity to set up Stay Up Late and to work he really valued. Along with how he discovered he really didn’t want to work in a bank… He keeps a blog called Pressure Drop about how to run a charity off your back table.

The Career Realities podcast series attempts to uncover the hidden realities of day-to-day work culture in various careers – the hours, the workload, the shift patterns – and questions the often-repeated assumption that paid work is our primary source of life fulfillment.

(For a more extensive introduction to the Career Realities interviews see here.)

Podcast excerpts:

On the difficulties of making money doing the work you love

Q: Did you make any money from the band?
A: Just enough to keep going. It used to keep us in chips and beer. The band was self-sustaining, and we did some really good stuff on the back of that, we went to New York, we did a couple of Glastonburys, we did some other overseas trips as well, and released three self-funding albums. So we did all the things that we wanted to do as a band, but it didn’t pay the bills in any way.

On setting up a charity

Someone said, ‘what’s the secret to your success?’, I don’t know if it’s success. But I think it’s always thinking really hard before you say no to anything. I think it’s just about being opportunistic, I think that’s what we’ve done, we’ve just seen opportunities and we’ve gone with it. […] Any great general will tell you that no battleplan survives first contact with the enemy. You can have a bit of a plan in life but you’ve got to realise that you’ve got to tear it up and write a new one.

On the ambiguities of training

If you want to study a course, you’ve got an idea in mind that you’re going to be getting into some sort of career in a certain area if you follow that course. But who knows, the amount of people we know who are doing jobs that they didn’t train for. I mean all these people in Brighton trained in social media. I mean they didn’t train for that!

On your personal values conflicting with those of your career

This [job in banking] was back in the early nineties, all the personal loan repayment mis-selling, that was going on all the time, I could see it and I disagreed with it and there was this culture of selling and it was just horrible. So I thought, what I do like is working with people, and what I don’t like is sales targets, so I need a job that’s working with people with no sales targets.

Find out more about Paul’s work at Stay Up Late and Pressure Drop.