Staff Profile: Tom

One of our ongoing blog series is about our staff. This week it’s Tom, one of our Relationship Coordinators! Read on for grad schemes, thoughts on housing, tropical music, jiu-jitsu and more!

Hi Tom, what do you do at Dot Dot Dot?

Hi! I’m a Relationship Coordinator. This means my main responsibility is housing guardians and housing them well. I facilitate a guardian’s journey through our housing process and manage any difficulties that may arise. I take on properties and help manage them, in the process liaising with our wide variety of clients. I monitor and report back on the social value created by our wonderful guardians. I also have additional responsibilities in marketing, social media and PR. I manage our website locations page as well as our profile on marketing websites like Spareroom. I coordinate our social media output, including blogs, and monitor PR opportunities. Lots and lots of stuff!

How did you end up working at Dot Dot Dot?

I came to Dot Dot Dot through the non-profit sectors main grad scheme, Charityworks, in 2015. Charityworks offers year long fully paid placements at charities (lots of them) and social enterprises (just Dot Dot Dot!) as a way into the charity sector for recent graduates.

I applied to Charityworks because my exposure to volunteering made me feel that the broader third sector was the right place for me: great people, great working environment and the opportunity to try and shape the world for the better (lofty ambition!).

When I first heard about Dot Dot Dot as a potential placement option I did not understand what it was! We sit in a very specific niche of the housing market. When you throw the phrases ‘Property Guardianship’, ‘Social Enterprise’ and ‘Volunteering’ together you’re left with a confusing cocktail. But once I read a little bit more, it was clear this would be a fascinating place to work. The novelty of the idea, the innovativeness of its approach and the buzz around the organisation through mentions like ‘New Radicals’ meant I accepted the placement and haven’t looked back since.

What do you enjoy about working at Dot Dot Dot?

I think there’s four main things I enjoy about working at Dot Dot Dot that I would look for in any working environment: the human touch, the variety, the intrigue and the positive working environment.

At work I’m constantly interacting with a large number of diverse people. I meet potential guardians, clients, volunteer organisations, current guardians and many more besides. I try and bring a positive attitude to all these interactions and almost always get it back. I enjoy meeting and helping people, so the ‘human touch’ element is crucial for me to get something out of a job.

My work is also varied. I do a lot of different things and learn different skills constantly. I feel with my job that I have different operating modes to my brain! Property maintenance, relationship management, marketing and social media are all different activities requiring different skills and thought patterns. It’s great to be able to combine them. At the same time, with my job I get the chance to be out and about 2-3 days a week. When being ‘stuck in the office’ is lamented by many as a cause of stress and ill-health, its refreshing to have the option to vary things, get outside and do new work-related activities so often.

It’s also fascinating. Housing in this country is an intricate, complicated and sometimes infuriating web that I’m still getting my head around. Property guardianship is a tiny niche within this, with interesting legal ramifications and a different living set up. Buildings are compelling, impressive, beguiling phenomenon that we often take for granted – particularly those dedicated specifically for housing. Social enterprise is a world of its own, so too volunteering. I could go on and on….

Last but by no means least we have a positive working environment at Dot Dot Dot and we’re proud to create a positive social impact through what we do. My fellow staff are caring, smart, friendly people and great to work with. And together I believe we provide an excellent affordable housing option, a friendly and professional service, and through what we do communities are made safer and stronger. That last phrase is the party line but I believe it to be true!

What’s a typical working day look like for you?

No two are particularly alike. The other day I took an early train to Worthing. I met a client down there to discuss our relationship and the building we manage for them. I hopped on a train to Shoreham-by-Sea to conduct some property inspections and test fire alarms, run a viewing of an empty room, have a guardian renew their contract and install a break glass bolt on a door. I took the train back to London where I typed up meeting notes, prepped some keys for the next day and then went out for drinks with my colleagues! Right now I’m on a train to Sheffield, writing this blog. In the office tomorrow I’ll be catching up on emails, attending a ‘lunch and learn’ on PR and more besides.

And what do you do outside of work?

I’m involved in a few volunteering, sporting and creative projects. I’m a volunteer youth worker at Hackney Quest, an amazing youth centre in Hackney. I compete in a martial art called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a club called London Fight Factory, but also enjoy boxing, cycling, yoga and climbing. I occasionally play trumpet for a tropical 12 piece band called Mango Rescue Team and also manage some other ‘tropical’ projects – Mango Disco, Tropical Fitness, Tropical Geezers! I write and perform comedic poetry. I love reading, exploring and travelling, particularly if it’s to a new place or if I can practise my Spanish there. Jack of many trades, master of none!