What gets you out of bed in the morning? More to the point, what gets me out of bed in the morning?

Apart from an enlarged prostate? (Sorry.)

I never really had a firm idea of what I wanted to do with my life (unlike the former school friend who, we discover, has a laboratory named after him at Harvard). I was interested in space, so… how about astrophysicist?

The problem there was the ‘physics’. I’m crap at physics. I wasn’t much better at maths.

My highest grade at O-level was a B in… French. So of course I ignored that and kept on trying to be a scientist instead of trying to be a cunning linguist like my recently-deceased school friend, Chris.

Mon métier

It wasn’t until I went off to start my degree that I seriously thought about other career options. As it happened, my first year placement was at Bradford Council, in the Members’ Library, which was based in the old court.

While I discovered a love of cat & class, it was more about the creation of understanding and the role communications had to play that were important.

It was only later in life that I realised that it was this that was driving me to get up in the morning. The chance to gain knowledge and communicate it in such a way as to create an immediate understanding, to the betterment of the recipient.

A long-winded way of saying that I liked to be helpful.

Of course, it helps to work for organisations that share your same basic philosophy, as I used to do. Until they stopped, and I didn’t, and my reason to get up in the morning seemed to be “to pay the bills” which, on reflection, is not the worst reason to get up in the morning (as anyone who has been furloughed or given the boot recently will testify).

Lost and found

Yes, I can build websites, write media releases, organise events. That’s what I do, it’s what I’ve been trained to do, after all. But…

“A knot!” said Alice, always ready to make herself useful, and looking anxiously about her. “Oh, do let me help to undo it!”

Last year – I think it was – I was walking into town and noticed a couple with a map. I asked if I could help, they told me where they wanted to go, I pointed them in the right direction. No sooner had they left than another couple came up to me asking for directions. Then a third.

For some this would be an inconvenience but to me it made my day, week and month. I was being helpful.

We all, as humans, need to feel useful in some way; it my case it seems to have become the whole thing, whether that be by building fantastic websites or brochures or stakeholder engagement events or… anything, really.

So my next few posts will all be… helpful. In some way!