I dedicated 16 years to a regeneration project and yet didn’t get director’s post

Self-doubt and anxiety are crippling my performance

Twice a week we publish problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremyadvice column in the Saturday Guardian so that readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights. Here is the latest dilemma – what are your thoughts?

I am in my mid-50s and for 16 years have poured everything into a regeneration project within a local authority. I initiated the renewal of a previously neglected cultural asset, setting the strategy, raising six-figure sums in funding, while also managing the operation and a team that, year on year, beat targets to increase profile, income and audiences.

When the asset was closed for the three-year building project, I gave up the security of local government to work on a freelance basis, at its behest, for an independent organisation which was due to take over governance and management of the asset.

The appointment of a director was supposed to be made within a few months and I was encouraged greatly by soundings that it was hoped and expected I would apply.

However, the process dragged on for a year due to project delays. Despite successfully achieving all that was asked of me during this period, I felt a distinct cooling towards me once the recruitment process started and I was apparently “pipped to the post” for the role of director. I was told the decision was “agonised over”.

Colleagues internally and externally were shocked and the appointment has surprised many people.

I now find myself in the position of not knowing how to explain this set of events to future prospective employers. I am longing to put my skills and energies towards a new project, and am very proud of my achievements, but talking about them inevitably leads to the obvious question: “So why are you not finishing the job?”.

I had an interview this week in which I was a shadow of my former self – self-doubt and anxiety crippling my performance and an inner dread of being asked why I was effectively “let go”. As an experienced recruiter myself, I know this is a question I would be asking. I have been assured my referees will give super glowing references, and that they supposedly feel terrible about what has transpired, but how on earth do I move on?

Do you need advice on a work issue? For Jeremy’s and readers’ help, send a brief email to [email protected]. Please note that he is unable to answer questions of a legal nature or to reply personally.

[source :-theguardian]

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