Making a move into interim management

Alexis Rouch is a 37-year old interim manager who moved to the UK from Australia. She has worked as an interim for five years and tells John Eccleston why it was the best career move she ever made

Q. Why did you decide to become an interim?

A. Before I became an interim, I worked as a business consultant. I think the main difference was that I just advised rather than actually getting involved. As an interim, I like the fact that you’re much more responsible for delivery and you become part of the fabric of the company.

Q. How has the role of interims changed?

A. People used to get to a point where they wanted to retire but weren’t quite ready to stop completely so they’d become an interim by default. Now it’s more of a career choice and the profile is changing. Generally, I think the demographic is younger, with more women.

Q. What do you enjoy most about it?

A. You’re free from the office and corporate politics and it puts you in a position where you can really deliver improvements to a business. I also love the challenge and the variety. There’s more freedom than in a permanent job and it’s been great for my career. I think I’ve moved a lot further than I would have otherwise. You get a great deal of job satisfaction because you get to make things happen. Being a mother, it gives me the option to take some time out from my career, although I haven’t done so yet.

Q. What is the most common type of assignment?

A. I’ve had a range of different assignments in both the public and private sectors. They’ve included specific projects as well as assignments filling in for someone. The constant factor has been change and managing change.

Q. What can an interim bring to a business?

A. It’s a good way for organisations to deal with change, particularly in local government, which can be bound by certain ways of thinking. Organisations can get someone with a great deal of experience very quickly.

Q. Why do you think it’s becoming more popular?

A. It’s been a low profile area of the market but it’s growing. Sometimes it was seen as a job that would deliver a lot of business success for the organisation but not much credit for yourself. I think there’s a growing desire for people to be more flexible with their career and the way they work.

Q. Would you advise other people to become interims?

A. It’s not for the faint hearted and you don’t have the same support networks as you do in regular employment. You need to be a very independent person but I would definitely recommend it. It’s a courageous career choice as you’re out there on your own.

Q. How long does the average assignment last?

A. The average assignment for me typically lasts been between four and 12 months. I’m currently on an assignment working in local government.

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