I often get asked about careers, but it’s really not my specialist subject. Mine’s been mad! Just because it’s worked out well for me in the end doesn’t mean I had a plan, or that I know what other people should do. Though I have thought about it a lot, and I do think it’s really important to think about and get right, and yet it somehow goes below the radar of most schools and most people. Scientific approaches to choice of first job and then for career planning seem pretty scarce.
So here are my thoughts, which I hope may help someone somewhere:
- If you’re not happy, change something, anything, just don’t keep plodding along through life unhappy
- You only get one life, and you’re working for 5 days a week, so you MUST enjoy your work, otherwise the price is too high even if it’s well paid
- When thinking of making a change, check within your existing organisation first – they may be more flexible than you realise, and if you don’t ask you don’t get
- We spend up to our earnings, so a bit of a pay cut in order to do your ideal job may well be fine. Don’t assume you can’t live on less money.
- Happiness is ore important than money, and doing a job you love may well lead to better pay in the end anyway. Put happiness first. (People say that’s not realistic, but I halved my pay when I went from management to training, and a) I did live on it and b) it has worked out better financially in the long run, so I’m not just talking about theories here
- Look for the three way sweet spot – something you enjoy, and are good at, and can get decently paid for
- Take a test, even if you have to pay. Although it’s harder to go from person to job (what’s the best job for this person) than it is from job to person (can this person do this job) it can still be done, but needs a skilled person rather than a computer to tell you which jobs you’d be good for and which ones you should avoid. Certainly they can tell you if your suggested jobs would suit you, and if they care good they can say “Being the type of person you are, you would be good at…” I reckon £300 for your future working life is cheap at the price.
- Sign up with some good employment agencies and see what they have that would suit you.
- Self employment is not for everyone. though I would just add that it’s not as insecure as people think – you are spread over many customers rather than being at the potential whim of one boss or the financial dependence of one company. But to be self employed successfully6 you need to be able to do and sell – many people are good at one or the other but not both.
- If you have a plan for making money as a living, try it part time – evenings, weekends – and then you can find out whether it’s a goes financially and also whether you’d enjoy doing it full time. sometimes things that are great as hobbies are not such fun as a full time job.