I’ve spent time over the first half of this year being curious. Wondering
how things will fall, exploring options and having conversations without a
specific end in mind beyond finding things out. And, as is the way I’ve found
when I start paying attention to something, the idea of curiosity has popped up
in a variety of places.
While not a big fan of the self help genre, I have enjoyed Elizabeth
Gilbert’s Big Magic. She says that creative living is “living a live
that is driven more by curiosity than by fear”.
At the recent AHRI HR in Focus conference one of the speakers urged us to
stay curious. My father, a chemistry teacher in his first career, had a
classroom mantra “Always ask why.”; something he didn’t always appreciate from
his elder daughter! But asking why, and then asking it again, helps us find
clarity. This is something parenting has taught me: Always, always ask “why?”,
or “what do you mean?” or “where did you hear that?” before answering a
question, because very often the answer that springs to mind does not respond
to the question your small person is actually asking.
I’ve spent 6 months setting conversations going, exploring possibilities,
applying for roles and being disappointed (or relieved) not to be shortlisted,
asking “why?”, “why not?”, “why me?” but most of all being curious about where
things would lead. And this is what happened…
A one-month opportunity to analyse survey findings and feedback and report
to a senior university committee grew into a 10 month contract to complete a
really interesting, organisation-wide student orientation project with talented
and experienced colleagues. I’ll complete this at the beginning of the 2017
academic year, leaving behind structures, documents and ways of working that
will, I plan, be of benefit for future orientation cycles. This timing is
perfect as it gives me an opening to begin PhD studies in 2017; something I’ve
been thinking about for more than 15 years but haven’t been in a position to
I’m now very clear and excited about what I am doing into the first quarter
of next year. I’m continuing to have conversations to gather advice, find out
what I don’t know and make connections. I’m applying to undertake a PhD, and I
can see some of the ways these studies and what I will learn, write about and
share will help me shape my future career.
There is the saying that “curiosity killed the cat”. Curiosity in my
experience doesn’t kill but opens up possibilities.