Maxine became a manager in 2007. As Maxine’s only experience in supervision and leadership before this was through the role of a Practice Education, she considered herself to be an experienced practitioner but not necessarily in management. However, being a Practice Educator can be viewed as an ideal way to prepare for management (Doel and Shardlow, 2005). In addition to this, Maxine’s first managerial post was in a Children’s Team that provided longer term work and her practice experience was in initial assessments. In her opinion the recruiting manager, who Maxine respected greatly:
“. . . took a risk in appointing me . . . but clearly he saw some potential in me and I am forever grateful for this.”
Maxine considers herself to be fortunate as she received a significant amount of support from a range of different sources. Her peer group were extremely supportive but it is her family and friends’ belief in her abilities and support that she considers to be instrumental in helping her to cope with the transition into a stressful environment and role. This sense of family, friends and love is central to the visual image that Maxine has chosen to represent her transition.
“My picture has the words Family, Friends, Love in it. It is a paper cutting made by a local artist. The words mean a lot to me as life would be nothing without family, friends and love. This is not just important in my personal life as without the support of these people I would struggle in my professional life as it is very stressful and their support keeps me sane and grounded. . . The significance of the local artist is that I was born and have grown up in the community where I work which is my home town. This is important to me as it adds to my identity and where everyone important to me lives. I chose to work in my home town as I want to contribute to my community and the local artist represents this for me.”
Like Sandra, Maxine describes an interplay between her personal and professional life which appears to form the basis of her identity. Maxine’s deep connection to her friends and family reinforces the notion that identity formation is relational (Ashforth, 2012). However, it is also socially constructed within an environment and for Maxine this is her immediate locality and community. Maxine’s chosen visual representation of transition suggests that individuals are multifaceted and there can be an interconnection between work, personal life and our environment.
Maxine is a Service Manager in a local authority in the Midlands
Ashforth, B. E. (2012) Role Transitions in Organizational Life – An identity-based perspective, London: Routledge.
Doel, M. and Shardlow, S. (2005) Social Work practice – Teaching and Learning in Practice Settings, Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing.