My name is Jessie Joe Jacobs and if you have been following my journey over the last few months, you will know that in April I handed over my role as chief executive of A Way Out, the women and young peoples charity that I had been running for the last 12 years. It was an emotional month. I had many encouraging and kind words from a whole host of people locally and further afield. A lot of people congratulated me on what had been achieved, shared with me in the sadness of leaving, and wished me well for the future. But there was one question on everyone’s lips: “So what are you going to do next?”
I thought about it for a while, a little surprised at why people were so interested. People move on all the time from jobs and roles and positions, but I guess moving on from something that has played such a big role, not just in your own life but in the lives of so many other people is more rare. I wondered how to respond, finding myself awkwardly answering radio interviews, seeming too vague in conversations with friends. I then began to hear rumours from other people of what I was going to do next, ranging from an education role, Member of Parliament, local councillor, I’d retired, I’d been headhunted, to some wilder guesses which included becoming a minister in Africa! (That one made me laugh out loud)
I considered whether I needed to do a big press release, launch party or something else significant to give everyone the answer they were looking for, but I couldn’t, because here is the big reveal… There isn’t a big “What next”, because actually, the next part of my journey, is about doing a series of small things, while I work out the answer to that question.
I have become politically active & I am exploring what this might mean longer term. I have had some interesting offers of work and have been trying to decide which of these, if any I might get involved with. I am beginning something new, in terms of community activism and place regeneration and have been fortunate enough to get some funding for that… But; none of these are the next new big “what next”; they are all small things, small next steps. I have always been an advocate of the idea that we can all do small things to help change the world and so now I am basically joining in doing just that and seeing where it all leads. Some things that are emerging are amazing and exciting, other things are more small-scale, but fun. I believe there is something to be learnt through all of these activities though and so I’ve decided to document this journey through this blog.
I hope as I share my reflections you will continue to be encouraged, inspired and challenged and I hope we will find what Vincent Van Gogh once said to be true for all of us, that “Great things are done by a series of small things, brought together”.
If you are interested in following my journey, maybe you would like to subscribe to this blog and let’s see where this journey takes us