I’ve been asked by my CEO to answer the question in this tweet from @CIHhousing:
Far too often many of us describe that we ‘fell into housing’ or ‘came into housing by accident’.
If we asked you to change the narrative to something that was more positive, what would you say?
Now, I’m all for the perfectly crafted tweet in 280 characters or less, but I really struggled to keep my answer succinct, so here’s a short blog…
Apparently, some people don’t like to hear this, but I really did ‘fall into housing’ as a naïve 19-year-old who lacked direction and needed a job back in 2002 — it was never something my career advisor at school would have talked about and I honestly didn’t put much thought into the decision. I was glad that my new manager back then took a chance on me and saw my potential.
As I grew up, I fell in love with the social of social housing as it gave me a purpose to make a positive difference to people’s lives — that applies to families in our communities and, in more recent years, my colleagues. The organisations I worked for invested in me, allowing me to gain qualifications, experience and knowledge that helped me to understand the history of social housing, the diverse range of roles and the inequalities I saw in our communities.
If I was talking to someone who was interested in working in the sector, then I’d ask whether they share the social values that are ubiquitous. If they did then I’d explain that housing would enable them to live these values every day.
In this blog following the last General Election I wrote:
I believe that the social housing sector has more agency and power than any politician to deliver change for those we serve. Far more power to make a positive difference than I think we realise on a daily basis. Sure, we have to do it within the political conditions that our broken system deals us, but there are many things we control in our daily interactions, our policies and priorities. I’m sure this is true for the other public, voluntary and charity sectors too.
If you work in this social space then hopefully you do that because you care, and if that’s the case then bring your values and your politics to work. Use your job’s 37 hours each week as time for your activism. Recognise what’s wrong with the system and do what you can to fix it or find other like-minded people to change the system all together… Put your personal values into your work so that it benefits others and you’ll feel better for it.