It all pretty much happened by accident. Which means, it wasn’t planned. Never really an ambition. Being a manager didn’t feature amongst the first one hundred jobs on the list of ‘what would you like to be when you grow up?’ when I was a kid. Not even at university: I was one of the few who actually read for a ‘useless’ degree in the humanities; philosophy and theatre, but more about that in some other post.
So, yes, management wasn’t really on my mind at the beginning of my career or at any time before that. Yet, at 29 I landed on my first job in management.
What I always loved, and where all my ambitions lay, was in writing. It still is; and perhaps this blog is also a result of that. I still consider myself – first and foremost – to be a writer and it is there, in my writing, that I am fully in my element. But, in Malta, you can’t earn your feed just by writing. The odd thousand euro in royalties is just an aside bonus to spend – in my case – on travelling or books.
The closest career to writing that I could envisage was a career in journalism. Yet again, I became a journalist purely by accident. By answering to an advert calling for part-time journalists during my third year at university. It was mostly out of necessity, to augment my pocket money, not really thinking that this would be a profession I would pursue for fifteen years. From part-time I switched to full time, and after five years of television and radio I switched to written journalism. It was at the newspaper that the opportunity came my way – when the then editor retired – to enter into management. I became editor to Malta’s second largest newspaper. I was then the youngest amongst my peers, that very select group of leaders in the news business, in charge of producing information and opinion. It was a position I held for seven years.
Journalism is cool. But it is also a very demanding job. And in my case, despite the position I held, it didn’t pay much. When the pay doesn’t match the responsibility, in the long run it becomes very demotivating. When the opportunity rose at Malta Enterprise, the Maltese government’s agency for investment promotion, I moved there to head the corporate and investment promotion communications unit. Suddenly I found myself working in a government entity with industry and businesses. It was a continuous learning process considering that I was very much alien to that world. I was doing well, working with a fantastic team and doing exciting things, when I was poached with a very tantalising offer by the Ministry for Education and Employment.
I am now Director for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability. Amongst other things I am responsible for a team of researchers, over 180 adult educators and an average of 8,000 students per annum across eight lifelong learning centres, 35 local councils and 17 NGOs. Sometimes it’s tough. It can be very stressful. But it is also very rewarding. And fun! Knowing myself better, I know that I will never pursue anything in life that doesn’t give me a sense of fun. It’s one of the things I learnt about management: that away from the dull pages of set textbooks adopted by boring and tedious management courses, management can be really fun.
There isn’t really a set objective for this blog. It is just a collection of thoughts, about where I succeded and my failures, about all the pleasures and frustrations, about my experience and lessons learnt over these years. I do not have the pretence to teach anyone about management. I would rather consider these as minor provocations for thought. I will try to keep them regular and short and as entertaining as possible. They won’t be systematic – that would be expecting too much from myself! I hope they might be useful to some of the readers and – at least – entertaining to the rest!