Feedback Joys

I had a job interview last week for an acting up position ahead of a restructure. I didn’t get the role, for which I’m thankful, as reading closely made it very clear that it was a hugely poisonous chalice and a set of stresses that I’m glad I’ve dodged.

Why did I go for it then? Mostly because I did some soul searching and recognised that I’ve now been a lot healthier for longer than I was very ill – and so I really need to stop drifting so much. As a result I knew that I needed to get some practice in for interviews at a more strategic level than simply managing teams on a daily/weekly/monthly/annual basis for frontline services.

Applying for this role would be very good at giving me sight of the sort of questions to expect, and more importantly structured feedback afterwards.

In this I have not been disappointed. While theres always a stress involved in getting proper feedback that goes in at nitpicking level I was very lucky to have it done by someone not only that I already have a working relationship with but who is also invested in seeing me succeed and grow within the organisation.

It has given me both plenty of food for thought, but also reassurance that I’m doing most of the right things. It’s just a matter now of polishing those extra sparkles to stand out in terms of wider context of roles, a little deeper precision in examples, and not being too successful at hiding the steel behind my convivial smile.

I can do that.

Accidental Boosts

If you follow me on any other social media, or know me in real life, you might have noticed that I’m drawing and doodling and sketching and painting, and generally being an expressive soul all over the place. I have work colleagues who are reassured to see my doodles all over scraps of paper as they know I’m based out of that location for a while, and others who in the past have zealously gathered up those scraps before I can throw them in the bin to keep hold of them.

I mention this because I’m starting to return to writing and drawing in my journals, especially as I’ve been gifted with, and also acquired for myself, a number of different sets of brush pens and other lineart tools. It has prompted me to develop new refinements of my artwork. It has also meant that I’ve returned to drawing around odds and ends that I’ve written in the books as I can’t stand having wasted space in them.

Drawing and Writing as usual

Sometimes these are fiction fragments or bits of a story that I’m working on, and sometimes they are more thoughtful pieces that I’ve written – often while the black dog is barking and worrying at my heels.

I write these pieces to ground myself and force myself to acknowledge the positives and available options around me. Sometimes they are light and fluffy, and sometimes they are from a lower and more stubborn place, plodding along like a donkey pulling a cart through the mud.

Many of these pieces end up on Instagram to break up the flow of selfies, cosplay pictures, book covers I’ve enjoyed encountering, or other random facets that I highlight in any given day. I present them “as is” without comment, simply because I want to preserve them somewhere, and I like some aspect of technique or design and want to show it off. I certainly don’t expect to enter into long conversations about them as they’re usually just dashed off while watching tv or something.

This piece however got a response from someone who read the text and found it spoke to them – that it was what they needed to hear at that point – and that even though they often use writing for similar purposes they don’t feel the confidence to post them online. This spoke to me – partially in recognition of the power of similar moments as I’ve encountered them, partially being glad to have been able to give someone a lift in that moment, and partially a disbelief that I have been able to affect someone in that way. Its humbling and more than a little cool to receive that kind of feedback, and I hope I managed to not sound completely awkward in responding to that person.