What do you reckon.....?
In all seriousness, sorry for the slight anti-climax, but the honest answer is that after all that, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do next yet.
As was touched on in the previous blog, my generic (and extremely fluffy) idea is that I want to make more of a difference.
With that in mind, two options come up immediately: Music Therapy and/or Full-Time Music Teaching.
I am certainly interested in these areas, and have been encouraged by friends and family, who have kindly suggested that I could thrive in them.
I like talking to people and helping them solve their problems, so counselling is also on the radar, although I think probably only in an environment like a school where I am part of some sort of pastoral/therapy team - otherwise I would likely find it just as lonely as the peripatetic drum teaching.
There is a large part of me, however, that is motivated to work in some capacity to help the poorest of the poor - or in some way to contribute to help solve the world's most pressing problems. Or more simply put - to have a social impact.
It is normally at this point during conversations with family or friends that the other person goes a little quiet, and I sense they are not entirely on board with my ideas. And understandably so.
Having a social impact is hard, and there are many people out there much more qualified and experienced than myself, who are already working on it. What can I do?
And so, although it can be discouraging, I do understand the blank look from my friend across the table when I say that I want to save the world (N.B. I don't actually say that....)
Despite this however, I am determined to at least explore the possibilities available to me; to perhaps find a role that I could potentially excel in, even if it means starting at the bottom of a ladder for now.
Perhaps it is an ego-related thing, but, whilst I am aware that my current professional skills are all music related, I am determined that this does not become a limitation as to my next options. Not only have I developed transferrable skills, but I am quietly confident of the fact that I am intelligent, hard-working, a quick learner, and good with people. Surely that has to count for something?
There is a fantastic organisation called 80,000 Hours which gives career advice to people who want to make a social impact with their work. I have been reading their online career guide - It is fascinating and inspiring, and I would highly recommend it to anyone this way inclined.
As I look at the long-term, I could certainly see myself having a "portfolio career." Perhaps a couple of days teaching/music therapy, a couple of days working for an effective charity, a day of counselling at school, and the odd gig at evenings and weekends, which I suspect I would greatly enjoy.
In terms of what is going on in my life right now? Well, I'm about to move back to Crystal Palace. I'm maintaining my drum teaching work, now at two schools, plus gigs with my function band The Madhatter's Tea Party and a few other bits of freelance drum work.
The rest of my week is allocated to exploring - researching/reading, talking to people and gaining experience. I have started some voluntary work for the Against Malaria Foundation (GiveWell's top rated charity) and SHIC (Schools for High-Impact Voluntary) and most excitingly of all have secured a 5 week internship at The Founders Pledge - a non-profit organisation who work with entrepreneurs to get to pledge to give at least 2% of their personal proceeds to charity, upon exit (sale of their business).
I am unsure what the future holds, but I feel I am making steady progress, and am excited for whatever is next.
Sorry to end with a cliché, but all I can say is watch this space :-)