Friday, May 23, 2014

Future Planning

One of the things that has come out of my field work is the desire by museums to 'future plan' or 'future proof' their institutions. Instead of focusing on the now (or the immediate future), to look at the bigger picture of five, ten, twenty years down the road.

Museums don't do this very well. And very few individuals do it well either.

I used to do it really, really well. But that was in the days of stable jobs and very specific life plans. Those days are long gone.

Now I have a difficult time planning a month in advance. At the moment, I am struggling to plan for early 2015 (less than a year away) and finding it is nearly impossible. There are so many contingencies needed that having any plan is rather pointless, because it's not going to work out 'that' way. I mean, having goals is good, but plans are a bit more specific. It's hard for me, because I plan. I organise. I over-think. There perils of an OCD mind.

When it comes down to it, however, this is the same problem facing museums. The cultural industry seems to change on a pin head these days and there is now knowing if, perhaps, next month is the month you will lose your funding. Or perhaps that major grant application you just put in and don't hold out much hope for will actually come through. People are losing jobs left, right, and centre. Technology is bounding ahead (in fits and spurts for museums). Funding is ever changeable. It's very hard to future plan when you don't have any idea what the future will be like.

Obviously it's an issue facing a lot of fields these days, not just culture (and not just museums within culture). It's also a problem for a lot of people.

I know I need to get better at future planning, while still being flexible enough to amend those plans when the inevitable upset arrives. The PhD has certainly given me lessons in this in spades, and how I need to learn from those lessons and adapt them into my life.

My first plan? I'm planning to walk the Portuguese Camino in autumn 2016.

And if it's spring 2018, that's okay too. The point is, for now, that I plan to do it. 

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