I’m Matt Fenwick. I wrote ‘Life without Lanyards’ mainly because nobody else had. There were truckloads of books already about ‘leaving your job to start a business.’ But nothing specifically for public servants who’re grappling their career. Nothing for people like me.
So that’s my goal for Life without Lanyards. I set out to write the book I wish I’d had, back when I was still in the public service and starting to ask myself: what else is there?
If you’ve come here, you’ve probably got a feel for the book, and what we’re on about. You want to know a bit more about me.
I’m a writer
It sounds obvious I know, seeing as how I’ve written a book. But writing is what I always wanted to do.
I love writing because I’m endlessly fascinated by that whole process of making words work. I could be writing the words on the back of cereal boxes, and I’d find something in there to keep my interested. And I love what happens when writing connects with people. When it’s useful.
That’s partly why I joined the public service. To help make sense of all that convoluted government speak. I talk about this in more detail in the book, but I left for the same reason – I thought I could do more good outside the public service than inside it.
I’m a business owner
I made a lot of mistakes when I started out, but this one I got right. There’s a world of difference between being a freelancer – a writer for hire – and running a writing business. All the legal set up is often the same: business registration, and the rest. But when you run a business, you can claim a seat at the table when big decisions are made. And you can have intelligent conversations with business owners, peer to peer. You can expect respect.
If you’re wrestling with that question of whether ‘freelancer/contractor’ or business owner will work better for you, then I talk more about that in the book too.
I’m a husband and a dad
My wife and I have been married for 6 years, and together for almost 10. Last year, we made a baby: Jack, who’s now 1. He’s a happy little buddy. And he never stops.
Whatever you do for a living, if you have young kids, you’ll know how full-on it is. When we first had Jack, I thought maybe I could shoot off a few quick emails with him on my knee. Such a dumb idea, and Jack let me know that pretty quick.
When you run a business, you have two babies. Two things you want to see grow and flourish. Two things that will gladly absorb every ounce of time and energy you have to spare. For me, getting the balance right is an ongoing process, but I’m choosing Jack more these days. I can take him on bushwalks, and teach him interesting words.
That’s me. What about you?
I’d like to hear your story. If you’re in the public service, wondering what’s next. Or maybe you’ve just made the jump and are sorting through all those questions of how you balance work and life.
Shoot me an email – I’d love to hear from you.