What’s a day in the life as a Performance Analyst at RNLI like Florence?
A day in the life of my placement at the RNLI is incredibly varied. I could be working on performance measurement with the Community Lifesaving or International departments in the morning then spend the afternoon running a workshop on empowerment with a cross-section of staff and volunteers from around the RNLI. I have a lot of autonomy and flexibility in managing and planning my time, meaning I normally spread projects out as much as I can to avoid any deadline stress! I am mainly based in the head office, but get the opportunity to travel to places like Belfast and Cornwall, and have the occasional trip on board a lifeboat.
Has your experience in the non-profit sector so far enabled you to develop a wide-range of skills?
Absolutely. The first half of my placement has been a huge learning curve (more like a rollercoaster!), in terms of constantly developing both personally and professionally. One of the most important areas or skills that I have developed is confidence. My mum always told me that ‘you don’t get any points for being shy’ and although there have been some scary moments that it would have been easy to duck out of, having the confidence to say yes to opportunities has been key in getting the most out of my placement. I’m sure most of the 2015 cohort would agree that healthy challenge happens all the time on the Charityworks programme, encouraging you to become confident when out of your comfort zone. The developing of confidence is universally applicable to any profession; confidence in your abilities, your decisions, and your values.
Reflecting on your personal development since you started the programme, can you describe something that you have learned that has led to a positive change?
One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given during the programme, is to embrace the fact that we learn the most when things go wrong. My Charityworks Programme Manager Daisy put it best when she said to ‘enjoy and relax into the mistakes and problems that will inevitably happen, but see them as opportunities to learn and develop’. That really struck a chord with me, as my instinctual reaction to certain challenge was more panic than relax! Once I started seeing challenge through the lens of perspective and learning, I felt much more in control and open. The more you work at it, the easier and more natural it feels, and having the ability to view challenge as a positive will hopefully stay with me throughout my career.
If someone asked you to give an example of a particular moment when you knew your decision to pursue a career in this sector was right for you, what would you say?
About halfway through my placement, I was listening to a Head of Department at the RNLI talk about why he worked here. He spoke a little about his background, but one thing in particular that he said, really made me stop and think. ‘I belong here.’ I know, it might sound a little sentimental out of context, but actually, it does capture the feeling of most people that I have met that work in the charity sector. I am constantly surrounded by passionate people that have a common goal. I do feel like I belong here, at the RNLI, within Charityworks, and within the sector. At that moment, listening to that presentation, those feelings were articulated, and I felt really lucky to feel like that.