Magazine article Management Today

WANTING IT ALL: So Don't Believe What You Read in the Business Press: Toddlers Really Do Have Shorter Attention Spans Than CEOs

Magazine article Management Today

WANTING IT ALL: So Don't Believe What You Read in the Business Press: Toddlers Really Do Have Shorter Attention Spans Than CEOs

Article excerpt

Bringing up babies is fulfilling and frustrating in equal measure. Since stopping work 18 months ago, I've spent far more time playing in the park and wiping noses, cuddling, reading stories and picking up the tops of felt-tip pens than I could possibly have done if I'd been working full-time. But I have to report that, rewarding though it can be, spending long periods of time in the company of small children can be mind-numbingly dull. Don't believe what you read in the business press: toddlers really do have shorter attention spans than CEOs.

And so, as I'm in the fortunate position of having some childcare and not having to worry about income-generation, it may be time to look for something that will help relieve the occasional tedium of looking after children full-time. I'd also like to have a chance of putting something back, but how do I choose what to do?

Volunteering seems like an interesting option. Figures show that in 1997 almost 20% of the UK population volunteered in some way; in the developed world, only the Netherlands boasts a higher proportion.

If I wish to join these ranks of volunteers, it might help to have some sort of established connection to the type of volunteering I might do. I once helped with some reading in my daughter's school - rewarding in itself, but made doubly so because of my background in children's books publishing.

Yet if I am to make a more extensive commitment, I would like it to be in a capacity that uses the skills that I spent all those years developing.

So just what opportunities exist to use managerial or professional capabilities as a volunteer?

Schools and hospitals are an obvious place to start; being a school governor or a non-executive of a health authority are the equivalent of senior, board positions. As education and health provision has become more decentralized - with devolved school budgets, for example - the importance of the governance role has increased. According to Annie Brown, appointments officer for the London Region of the NHS, you need many of the same skills you would need for a similar post in the private sector - leadership, analytical skills and team working. Financial expertise will also help.

Becoming a JP is another option. I had thought that the magistracy was overrun with white, middle-class women like me and that, as the lord chancellor would like to appoint people who reflect their community, my chances of selection would be slight. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.