The M3JC is a paradox. On the one hand it encourages new members who will benefit from its invaluable (FREE) services. On the other hand, the trustees want to lose members as quickly as possible, providing their departure is due to those members finding work of course – after all that is the club’s raison d’être.
Each member of the club has a different story to tell about their history and why they joined the club, what they gained by participating in the club programme and how their lives panned out after leaving the club. Here is my story.
I remember I attended my first M3JC session in June 2014. I was instantly involved in the wide range of benefits on offer: free tea, coffee, biscuits and often cake and chocolates! I also met Ghislaine, Neil, Patrick, James, Peter and many other members; not to mention the club volunteers (more about them later).
The most significant memory I have of that first meeting was a discussion with Neil who had booked a PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course but the course was undersubscribed and likely to be cancelled. Students would be funded by a European grant (controversial these days) and by the end of that first club session many of us had signed up and filled the course. I passed both certificated exams and this began my road to employment – or more accurately it updated and consolidated my qualifications in project management and allowed me to transform my career and become an accredited trainer for PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile project management courses.
Every Friday morning I came to the next session in the club programme. After a while, the programme does repeat itself but I always found something new to learn from the presenters and members – plus the club trustees continuously review and refresh the programme. Above all, I recall feeling welcome amongst like-minded people and we shared our past and present experiences to mutual advantage. I genuinely looked forward to Friday mornings, as did most members, because it was a break from endless, soulless job applications whilst simultaneously helping us make real progress in our confidence, well-being and practical techniques for researching ‘hidden’ job opportunities, preparing our CV and applying for work including essential interview advice. I developed a modest income as a freelance project management trainer and offered my support to the M3JC on Fridays whenever possible.
I last attended the M3JC Friday programme in January 2017, although I left without a clear break because I was uncertain about my short-term future. There were several reasons for this such as my partner, Caroline and I moved from Surrey to Dorset; changed our careers (again) and seriously considered partial retirement.
Perhaps the best way to end this posting is to let you know that there is a happy ending. We are mortgage and debt free. We have a quirky little house with lovely views over Blackmore Vale and surrounded by beautiful countryside and new places to explore.
I cannot possibly mention and praise everyone enough whom I have met through the M3JC but I want to emphasise how much I value them all and in many cases they remain good friends. Each club member gains different benefits from the wide range of volunteer presenters depending on what they need from the club and their wish to become involved in the programme. There is a vast range of resources and experience to draw upon from club facilities, its presenters and its membership.
I’d like to say that the M3JC will become redundant (oops, sorry!) but it never will because it will remain vital for many future (albeit transient) members seeking re-employment.
Many thanks to Richard and the M3JC trustees, presenters and all the other wonderful volunteers. You helped me beyond expectation in my time of need. And my warmest wishes to all past, present and future members also. I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone. Please feel free to connect and communicate with me through the M3JC LinkedIn group.
Freelance Project Management Trainer and NPLQ Lifeguard