Time to Choose or Change Career ?
Choosing your first career or making a career change is a big step – it’s a challenge and a risk and it could lead to a radically different way of life. But how do you get started?
My suggestion? Look at it as an adventure and open your mind to new possibilities, not just the traditional career path you learned about in school.
The problem is, most of us, careers advisors like myself included, know very little about careers. After all, we’ve only had one or perhaps two or three. I’ve had quite a variety of jobs and certainly have a fair bit of knowledge about a good range of careers.
But, although knowledge is useful, it is not the same as actually experiencing the job. And for every person who loves a particular job, there will be another who hates it. So asking for advice isn’t always the answer.
You can’t really know in advance if a career is right for you, but then again, life would be pretty boring if you could map everything out before you started. On the other hand, you can’t try out a huge range of careers. So what the heck can you do?
It’s about getting a balance – finding something you believe you’ll truly enjoy and giving it a go. Look at all the things you want from a career (we’ll cover this in more detail later) and narrow it down to a few options. Then try out the most promising job on the list if you can.
Of course, you can’t just go and try being a brain surgeon or prime minister – in cases like these, you can find out as much as possible and get as close to the job as you can -again we’ll look at this in depth later.
The great thing is that these days job-hopping (so deeply frowned upon in the past) is now considered a great way to get experience and prove your adaptability!
Back to the idea of seeing your career as an adventure – get ready for plenty of exciting new experiences and a few you’d probably rather forget!
It all started with careers advice (oh, no . . .)
I was 14, deciding which subjects I should take for my O levels ( now GCSEs) and the teacher in charge of careers taught A level French and German. I had no idea what I wanted to do, had to say something and so plucked something out of the air. I’d become a nurse. It might have been because my mother thought I should become a nurse (or a secretary) I really can’t remember. I was 14.
Fast forward 4 years and I’m about to take A levels, including A level German. I’d like to study languages, but no, I wanted to be a nurse and must not upset the order of things.
How much has careers advice changed?
When I trained, which was 20 years ago, students had a 20 minute session. Usually, they’d come up with their own idea or we’d look at one based on the subjects they were studying . Then we’d talk about related careers, I’d give them relevant information and they left with an action plan.
A bit better than the advice I got, but still not much on which to base your future.
I don’t work in the system now, but from what I’ve heard, careers advice is still a pretty marginal activity.
At least there is plenty of information on the internet, but how does a young person starting out know where to begin? Or an adult wanting to change have a clue where to look?
My intention with this website is to make the task of finding a first career or making a career change a little easier. I’ll write articles on different topics – from dealing with impossible dreams to becoming a freelance, from learning new skills online to finding unusual jobs, from getting your head around portfolio careers to building your own blog.
And with all that in mind, I’d like to invite you to send me any questions you have and suggest topics you think would help you or your kids find a fulfilling career.
Questions and Suggestions
Please use the form below to get in touch with any questions you have or with ideas for article topics. Thanks! Looking forward to hearing from you.