Sue Pearlman from TP Consultants, discusses how volunteering helped shape her career.
I owe my career to volunteering. As a young Mum who had been a secretary before having children, I wanted to do something else – I just didn’t know what! I had already been spotted by the Headteacher at the childrens’ infant school and was organising events for the school, but I wanted more.
But what? I didn’t want anything too taxing, so in my mind I rejected Samaritans and what was then called Marriage Guidance. In the end I thought that volunteering for the Citizens Advice Bureau could be “easy”. How difficult could it be telling people where to go?
However, I was accepted and started the training, and by the time I realised how complex, and how rewarding the work was, I was hooked. I spent several happy, if demanding, years as a volunteer advisor when the post of “Deputy Manager” came up at a neighbouring CAB. I applied, and to my surprise got the job. Then came more learning, acquiring some specialist knowledge and even more learning and when my Manager left, I took over the role – with much trepidation. I had to work with staff, volunteers, and a trustee board!
Thanks to the support of Citizens Advice trainers, and courses I was lucky enough to attend, I ended my full time career over 20 years later – and started a charity consultancy which I still run – and love because I meet so many people and learn about so many different organisations.
If I hadn’t had the courage to volunteer all the years ago, I would not be doing what I am doing now.