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21 March 2021

The Injured Jockeys Fund’s Head of Operations, Debbie Grey offers some thoughts for the day around conducting an honest self-appraisal and some advice on how finding your purpose is the key to contentment – in and out of work.

Discussing career options with my daughter recently got me thinking that it’s always interesting to reflect on where you are in your career and how you got there. I’ve taken a circuitous route to get into the racing industry from recruitment to co-owning an IT company, which led to owning some very slow but much-loved Flat horses. I had a go at breeding (which I absolutely loved) and am now s Head of Operations for the Injured Jockeys Fund. I’ve done a few other jobs along the way that I hated but always tried to look for roles or employers where I felt their core values aligned with my personal purpose.

My journey was aided by having access to some amazing mentors in my career that pushed me, gave me feedback and told me some harsh truths, all with the aim of helping and supporting me. If you haven’t done this exercise, I would urge you to write down the people who have most influenced your career and a one liner about what they taught you – it makes you think and concentrates the mind about whether you’re honouring their input, time and faith in you.

I have always had a real desire for change, improvement, equity and learning. Growing up in apartheid South Africa has left some residual guilt, which has made me want to be an advocate and ally to promote inclusivity and embrace difference to constantly challenge my own thinking.  I can honestly say this is where I find myself now – I am surrounded by diversity of thought, different cultural backgrounds and experience, with a common wish to improve things for others, and an attitude of service. In my current role, I truly believe we are encouraged to bring our authentic self to work. We can look for continued learning and development; we have a collaborative approach, plus I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a supportive, driven team.  I have learnt so much from my colleagues – we have shared a lot in a short space of time and there’s still more to come, which excites me.

I suppose these short ramblings are offered to challenge you all to find out what your purpose is, if you haven’t already done so – striving to achieve this through your own role on a daily basis is when you truly feel content and empowered. In my experience, this leads to you being productive, happier and more fulfilled in and out of work.

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