I’m always keen to speak to people about their career paths – to find out how they got to where they are now from school, why they chose that particular path and whether they’re happy with the work they’re doing. I also try to pick up little bits of advice on careers and life in general. Everyone has a different story and no-one’s life has been perfect. And you know what, a lot of people still don’t really know what they want to do even later on in life. This is comforting and worrying at the same time!
Some good advice I’ve received:
1. Live in the present
It’s an obvious one but it’s something that’s a lot easier said than done. Enjoy where you are right now. I’m finding this particularly difficult at the moment due to a lack of stability in my life. I’m working as an unpaid intern part time and doing some paid part time work while continuing to look for a full time ‘proper graduate job’ (whatever that is these days). I feel like I can only really settle and live fully in the present when I have a permanent job, but I just don’t know how long that’s going to take. I feel like I’m always looking ahead – what’s next and what’s after that – and I definitely need to focus more on the present.
2. Question your uncertainty
I was speaking to someone the other week about how uncertain I feel about what I want to do. He asked me a pretty unremarkable question which really made me think: What makes you unsure? I’d never asked myself this before and it’s a good question. Do I feel I wouldn’t enjoy some of my career ideas? Do I feel I wouldn’t be good enough at them? Or am I just questioning myself because I’m worried that there are better options out there?
3. Make time for your hobbies
When discussing careers with someone else, first he asked me if I want to earn a lot of money – I told him no, that’s not important to me. Then he asked me how hard I wanted to work – I said I’m willing to work pretty hard but obviously I want a good work-life balance. Finally he asked me what I enjoyed – I had to think more about this and couldn’t come up with any one specific answer. His advice? Whatever you do, make sure you have time to do what you really enjoy. He added that even if your job includes something you enjoy, this may become less enjoyable when you’re doing it for a job.
4. Get some perspective
Numerous people I’ve spoken to have said this, or something along the same lines: travel – broaden your horizons. It’s something I want to do, and I guess I put it off because there are so many options of where to go and what to do.
5. Go with the flow
Now I find this advice more difficult to take on board. I like to have control over things and find it hard to take a particular route just because an opportunity happens to come up at a convenient time (prime example described in my last post!). However I’ve spoken to many people who have told me that their careers worked out simply through taking hold of the first opportunity that came up and making the most out of it.