Q. What Industry am I in? What’s my job? What’s my work/life balance?

Q. What Industry am I in? What’s my job? What’s my work/life balance?

I was in discussion with a friend, in another industry, who asked me what my job actually entails – what do I do? It was born out of the frustration of not being able to meet up due to our work commitments (or more pointedly, mine). It was clear that my work/life balance was not quite right. So I jotted down in the bar where we were what, exactly, my job involved. It was quite an eye opener…

Q. What is my job? Could you guess from the following?

  • I line-manage, with support from a team of of specialist colleagues, up to 300 individuals across a broad range of knowledge and capability.
  • I am chief client liaison officer and the ‘face’ of the business, nationally and internationally.
  • I plan, manage and implement the internal and external marketing campaign(s) for my department including internal displays, infographics, notice boards (static and electronic), social media use, blog and forum updates and entries
  • I write, plan and coordinate development strategy through the short and long term (two to five years) and dovetail that into the larger corporate business plan.
  • I am responsible for the planning and implementation of Health and Safety (Risk Assessments) policy for our department including ergonomics and RSI related policy.
  • I coordinate and manage the interior design and planning for the department including furnishings, displays, equipment and storage capability.
  • I am responsible for planning and implementing the ICT policy including E-Safety, MED use (mobile Electronic Devices), computer aided design and computer aided manufacture across our facility
  • I am responsible for planning and implementing the Pedagogic policy including quality assurance, assessment and achievement.
  • I help manage the support planning for those with learning or physical disabilities 
  • I manage and plan for a financial budget that includes Human Resourcing, consumables and capital expenditure, INSET (In Service Training) and support materials (hard copy and on-line)
  • I plan, manage and implement CPD (professional development) and appraisal processes for my team leaders and support staff
  • I plan, manage and implement performance benchmarks and assessment for up to 300 individuals in my care.
  • I support, guide, officiate and manage any grievance or performance related procedure that may occur
  • I plan, manage, coordinate and accompany external trips and visits to help further understand what our competitors do and help nurture my understanding of current industrial practice and historical context.
  • I plan, manage and execute social gatherings and celebrations throughout the working year for my support team and individuals in my care.
  • I regularly work 12 hour days, and most weekends, to help further and support the development of the department and the individuals in my care.

If I was in any other industry I’d probably be earning six figure sums and receive in-service benefits (health care, car allowance etc.), performance related bonuses and various share dividends or gratuities. 

So, what do I do? Scroll down….


A. I have lead, managed and coordinated Departments and Faculties of Design, Art and Technology within secondary education, in national and international schools, over a twenty two year period (with thirty years of teaching and pastoral experience thrown in) .  It’s quite a significant and broad skills set. 

Surprised? I was after I wrote it all down.

Leading, managing and steering an academic and creative department in a school is a demanding, but very rewarding, job. However, when I stop and think that some entrepreneurs and top sportsmen/women earn in a single day what myself, and many of my colleagues globally, earn in a year it makes me quite sick. 

I don’t bemoan those athletes or entrepreneurs, but there is imbalance on the values we place on things. Bottom line, parents place their most precious and loved ones in our care eight hours a day for some forty weeks a year. How can you hang a financial value on that? Or should we? As a parent myself I value the importance of my two daughters looking forward to going to school in the morning, and coming home in an evening smiling and tired.

No sense in moaning though, the grass is always greener, isn’t it? After all, if I don’t like it, and think that I deserve better financial reward (job satisfaction aside…) for my commitment and experience, I should bite the bullet and move on – try another facet of my current industry or maybe even switch industries.

Now there’s an idea…