Forget what’s going on in America. Imogen Clark is standing for election as a Parent Governor at our secondary school. There are two vacancies and a startling seven nominees. The voting has opened and now I just have to wait and see.
I’ve thought about standing for Governor before – well every time a vacancy comes up in fact. We get notification of a position to be filled and I consider it carefully. I even got as far as writing my little statement once. But then something always holds me back: a better candidate; a reevaluation of available time; sheer, unadulterated terror of the whole election process.
Anyway, when the letter appeared this time, I girded my loins and decided to have a go. I read the instructions. ‘Nominees should prepare a short statement setting out the skills they can bring to the role.’ Oh Lord. Flummoxed by the first hurdle. What on earth should I say?
Even now as I type this I have come to a spectacular halt. I have skills – which of us doesn’t? But what are they and how can I organise them into a coherent cohort? As I sat at my computer pondering, I realised how much easier this task would be if I still had a proper job. In a work environment, blowing my own trumpet long and loud was something that I had to do to stay afloat. And I knew what my skills were because they were all nicely listed for my in my annual appraisal.
At home it’s different. No one tells you what you’re good or bad at any more.
‘Well, Imogen. Your baking skills aren’t bad and I’d hang my hat on those if you’re looking for promotion but those shirt sleeve creases leave a lot to be desired.’
You have to dig deep and honestly to identify those transferable skills.
Then you have to write them down without sounding like an idiot. We’ve all read personal statements that make your toes curl but what is it that they say that puts you off and what makes someone else appeal? It’s a minefield! In the end I decided that I should stop fretting about how I came across and just write about myself as honestly as I could. I would either strike a chord or I wouldn’t and there was nothing I could do about that. And if I were elected then worrying about what others thought wouldn’t really be part of the job description.
Eventually I managed to churn out half a page of who I am and sat back, relieved that the task was completed. I took a final fleeting glance at the instructions letter. ‘Include a short statement…. and a CV.’!
At this point I almost gave up! A CV! Not since 1987 have I done that. I didn’t even know what to put in it. Thank God for the internet.
Anyway, I now await the public vote. My statement doesn’t really match the others. It’s less business like and more Mum at Homeish but then what would you expect? That’s who I am. The business bit of me went into retirement over a decade ago. But just because no one pays you for what you do doesn’t make it any less difficult or valuable. If the voting public like what I have to say then perhaps they’ll give me their vote. If they don’t, then I’ll be ever so slightly mortified for a day or so and then I’ll just get back on with life at the pointy end.