This is awkward, embarrassing even. I'm often asked by students and graduates to be a referee and frequently find myself giving careers advice. Yet I'd not recommend anyone follow my path.
My decision of a year ago to leave a big course in a big university for a small course in a small university (well, 'small is beautiful' right?) has not proved to be a wise one in hindsight. Or, if wise, then circumstances have not proved auspicious. So I'm leaving (again).
My final teaching week ended on a high, with one group delivering some strong work – and then joining me afterwards for drinks (see picture). Other groups presented ideas for a 'safe, sensible, social' anti-binge drinking campaign at police headquarters, with the winners receiving concert tickets donated by pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
Meanwhile, I've been glad of some continued involvement at my old university – and distance has changed my perspective. It was a pleasure to join the team's seasonal celebration last night, and I'm impressed by the way many students are developing.
On other fronts, I've been kept busy as a specialist CIPR Diploma tutor (online and face-to-face); I'm looking forward to leading a summer school in Italy for an American university next year, and I will soon have some capacity to take on more private training and consultancy work.
I've traded security and status for uncertainty and independence – and the arrangement may suit me. But I realise it's not for everyone. 'Do as I say, not as I do'.
But there is a lesson in this for everyone. We live in a surprisingly small world and the most valuable thing we can accumulate is our reputation. The lesson is to never burn your bridges and to treat everyone with respect. I'm writing references for students now, but who knows when I might need their references and recommendations?