There have been a couple of thought-provoking blogs recently on the subject of housing as a career choice (one by Adam Clark and the other by Yoric Irving-Clarke. Both blogs focus on the well worn phrase of ‘I fell into housing’ and thoughts on how we could encourage people, especially young people, to actively pursue a career in housing.
This subject also came up at the CIH board away day a couple of weeks ago, and someone wisely pointed out to me that we did all choose a career in housing when we chose to apply for that job we saw. And this got me thinking about the way we tell our housing career stories, always focusing on the fact that no one has ever left school saying they want to work in housing, the suggestion being that they were forced into it?! Instead, we should focus on what we were looking for in a job, make a difference, change lives, work for a charity, tackle poverty/inequality, work for an employer with a conscience, etc, and how we found the housing sector was the best place to do that.
We obsess over making housing a career of choice and hoping one day hoards of graduates will be telling their parents they are going to be a chartered housing professional. But there are already hoards of graduates saying they want to make a difference, change lives, work for a charity, etc that we seem to be ignoring because they aren’t using the H word.
I think we could put a lot of time and energy into trying to put housing on the career map, and achieve very little. I think it’s always best to go to where people are rather than expect them to come to you (and use language they understand not our industry jargon, Estate Officer anyone?) , so let’s take our housing flag to those socially conscious school leavers/graduates/career changers who I’m sure would jump into housing.
And let’s stop bemoaning the fact no one knew as a teenager they wanted to work in housing, what matters is that when they saw an opportunity they went for it and hopefully have stayed in the housing family for many years making that difference.
So tell me, why did you #choosehousing?