A New Venture 8

I have handed in my notice.  I have done that a couple of times in my life, but this is different. I am not going to a new job; there is no pay cheque waiting; there is nothing out there but good intentions and interested people. While I’m taking early retirement, I’m not retiring, and, having received a salary every month for the past 40 years, that’s a rather scary prospect.

I have spent the past few years thinking about my future and what I am going to do with myself until retirement age and beyond, and more important, who is likely to pay me to do it.  I have seven years before compulsory retirement age, but I have a mother alive and well at 84, and a father still working as a pharmacist in a local hospital at 86.  You will understand, therefore, that, however uncertain life may be, long-term planning is called for.

What I do know is that I do not want to run an organisation’s Human Resources Department for another seven years.  

I knew that training would have to be part of what I do; I knew also that writing should play a role, but exactly what I could offer to whom was elusive.  After a long time discussing, praying and generally feeling somewhat inadequate for anything, we finally have a plan.

Three legs: Training
Raymond Ackerman wrote about four legs to a business table.  Perhaps I am not aiming high enough, but I have three “legs” on my model.  The first is training and development of people.  This will take various forms, including part-time lecturing, workshops and seminars, and individual coaching and mentoring.  The focus of the seminars and workshops will be management skills, so-called soft skills, writing, and other themes that may take my fancy (and that I can persuade enough people to pay for).  Some will be my own material while some will be in partnership with quality training and development specialists.

The second leg is writing.  Having spent 16 years working with journalists I know that I will not, in the short term, make a healthy living from writing (I am no J. K. Rowling). But my love for writing came as a serendipitous discovery a couple of years ago, and I have been indulging myself ever since. Any form of writing or editing will do, and a couple of possibilities have taken shape.

The third leg will be general consulting work in the field of people management.

I am creating a website with its own blog called Simply Communicate where I hope to draw readers (and clients) to wise words and helpful hints geared towards managers of people. Do pay a visit, but it will be a work in progress for a while. The emphasis will be on the South African workplace, and managing people in the ever-changing landscape (some would call it a minefield) of this country’s labour legislation.  Personally I never complain about the legislation.  Its complexity (trying to bring order and certainty into the mess of human relations) and it’s employee-centred focus have helped provide me a good living for 16 years, and long may it continue.  I will also continue writing here among the friends I have met and with whom I have enjoyed interacting. 

With the internet, of course, writing is no longer restricted by geographic boundaries, so if you have any writing or editing to be done come 1 September 2012 (or anything else I can help you with), do let me know, I shall have some time on my hands—not too much time, I hope.

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About Ian Webster

I have been running my own consultancy (Simply Communicate) for five years – training and consulting in all things people management and development. Prior to that I was 16 years in corporate HR in a unionised environment becoming Training Manager and Human Resources Manager. I have a Degree in Theology and a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources Management.

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8 thoughts on “A New Venture

  • Lynette Barbara Myers

    My passions are an exact mirror-image of yours, I have been involved in education, training and tuition virtually all my adult life and it still gives me great personal satisfaction to impart skills, knowledge, ideas and opinions to my fellow South Africans wherever and whenever called upon to do so. Communication is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in the work-place today, be it verbally, electronically or face-to-face.Perhaps we could co-operate in the future ??

  • Walter Donaldson

    Good wishes, Ian. Your prayers will be answered, new doors will open and you will be given direction by Him. We all have a purpose in life and it’s the choices we make that decide our future. Keep the Lord at the forefront of all that you do and glorify Him!

    Stay blessed.

  • John Scarrott

    Congratulations on having the courage and initiative to follow your dream.  Your father and i are both members of The Rotary Club of Pietermaritzburg, perhaps we should meet?  Ask Peter to give you my phone number.

  • Ian Webster Post author

    Thanks Sylvia. And thanks for the champagne!! Just got to sneak it out without Security seeing it!

    Did you get my email ‘tother day?  Some questions about setting myself up.  Thanks.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Ian,

    Sounds like a good plan to me – all the best for the future – from my personal experience you will learn so much more personally than you would ever do while working for an employer.