Shaun Bickley has been a Member of The Melting Pot since the very start, he even helped build TMP v1! We caught up with Shaun and he told us about his organisation Tricky Locations and what he’s got from a decade of The Melting Pot.
The Melting Pot means “…having the office environment without the office politics.”
When did you join The Melting Pot and what were you looking for?
I joined, well, 10 years ago and initially my attraction was that we were about to have our first daughter, I’d been working from home before that, and with the arrival of the new baby I was like I need to get out of the house to work. A friend who knew Claire told me about this project which was sort of starting setting up, The Melting Pot. Then I got involved with the fit out and helping out with some of the work to put it in place. They got a lot of us to give ideas and help with some of the decorating and stuff in the beginning. So it was a combination of I needed to find another place to work and this was appearing at the same time, a combination of things that came together.
What about the project attracted you, did you like the idea of TMP vision?
Yeah, I’ve got to admit, what I’d been lacking to that point was very much a community to work with. I mean I don’t work in Scotland, my work is generally with organisations that are based outside of Scotland, so I don’t generally have a big network of colleagues that I work with. Obviously with being a sole trader, working from home you get in that rut of being on your own quite a lot, only interacting with people on the phone or by Skype things like that. Being able to interact with other like-minded, interesting people involved in all sorts of weird and wonderful things was tempting. So it was a combination of having the office environment without the office politics.
Can you tell me a bit about what you do?
I work as a consultant in the humanitarian development sector, I advise organisations on safeguarding their staff in high risk environments. That involves helping them in terms of their security and safety management and also, how to deal with crisis situations involving personnel and volunteers. I do that through mostly strengthening existing resources and processes and systems and then also do training and development of publications and guide materials as well.
How would you some up the difference that your work makes to people’s lives?
It’s about trying to make organisations appreciate the duty of care they have to their personnel. By putting them in high risk environments or by working in high risk environments their staff are exposed. So trying to ensure that those are providing assistance to people in crisis are also being safe in doing that as much as possible.
What impact has membership at The Melting Pot had on your work and you personally?
Mostly it’s the way that I work, it allows me to have a space to go into sometimes, if I ever have a lot of pressure on with work. It’s nice to have an environment outside my normal work environment that is usually at home or away. It gives me a bit of access to a community which I don’t get. There’s all the social bits that come with that, whether that’s going for a drink or playing football, it feels like being part of that working community. All of that is quite positive then for your peace of mind, for working and performing.
Is it that community that’s kept you involved with The Melting Pot over the years?
Yeah, absolutely, you feel part of it and want to remain part of it. I don’t necessarily use it as much as other Potters do, there’s others that are here day in day out. For me it’s definitely in and out periodically. But I’d be reluctant to let go of that, I still want that boat hold to go to for a bit of sanity sometimes. It’s nice to hear what other people are doing and hear interesting stories about their work.