I’ve written about my career woes before. I find myself (again) in a position where I don’t know what to do next. I don’t ever remember having a dream about what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now I am (supposedly) a grown-up, these decisions are not getting any easier. Lots of my career decisions have been based on the ‘oh well, let’s give it a go and see what happens’ school of thought. And of course…PANIC! I’m sure the reason I chose to go and work for KPMG after university to train to be an accountant was sheer panic. The ‘I’ve had loads of fun at university and not given this a second thought before now, but I need to earn some money and quickly’ type of panic. I suppose I was lucky I left university in an era of graduate jobs. At least I could get a job, although I’m not sure that it was the right one for me. But it’s all a learning experience…
I think perhaps I have been struggling with these types of decisions for a long time. This time the act of deciding has almost become paralysing. I’m so frightened of making the wrong one, it’s almost easier to not make one at all. I’m at a standstill. Not moving. Scared of failing (again).
Thankfully I’m not the type of person to dwell on past mistakes too much. I’m very good at deflecting those negative thoughts. So I’m not unhappy (having a supportive husband is a massive part of this, of course). But as well as not being one to beat myself up about my failings, I’m also prone to inaction and indecision.
But I do know that I don’t want to be an accountant. So what next? Well I’ve done the NCTJ and had a stint at a rather well known website (you know the one, it’s for Mums). The job was not the one I wanted and to say there were office politics is an understatement. So I left. And now I find myself jobless, still wondering what to do next.
I may as well write down all my current ideas with the hope that if it’s written here, it’s almost like making a pledge to do something. I need to do something. Unfortunately at the ripe old age of forty (gasp – feels strange to write that down), I’m neither in the financial position to retire nor am I ready to give up the idea that I can do something interesting that I enjoy and perhaps uses my brain. It’s not a lot to ask…
Writer: It’s what I originally wanted to do after making the decision to leave accountancy, however it’s not that easy. I’m not unique in having this dream; there are a lot of people out there who harbour similar passions. There is also an expectation that you will work for free for a while, I did it for a while and didn’t like working for nothing. I realise I need to work on my networking skills. And I need to write…dur.
Salad maker: There’s someone on Instagram who set up a community kitchen in Sydney where she delivered salads to her customers by bike. (I love/hate Instagram in equal measure for giving me an insight to people’s perfect(ly edited) lives.) I have this romantic vision of doing the same. Minus the huge, scary buses in London. (I admit I’m terrified on cycling on the road in London). Maybe I need a cute little car instead? Mmmm. Maybe I need to concentrate on the business side of this idea, rather than the vehicle?
Teacher: I’ve been volunteering at Fred’s school since October so I’m under no illusions that this is really hard. I can also see that it’s very rewarding. The kids are gorgeous (and a few are a little bit challenging too). I feel I need to be 100% committed if I do decide to go down this route. At the moment, I’m probably about 75%. Teaching assistant is a realistic alternative and I’m going to look into this more.
Cafe owner: Again on paper, this is perfect. I love food, I love interior design and would relish the idea of putting together a menu, learning all about coffee and designing a little space to welcome my customers. But realistically I have no experience and am I romanticising all the work involved? Yes probably. I have applied for a few jobs in cafes and so far, no luck! It seems my lack of experience is a problem here. (As well as my lack of capital…)
Succulent grower: Another one I can blame instagram for – have you seen the shop Botany in Hackney? It’s gorgeous. It sells plants, macrame and has that seventies vibe which is oh so of the moment. Basically I want to waft around wearing flares and a cheesecloth blouse and sell the odd plant here and there. It’s not too much to ask is it? (Perhaps not a desire to make career plans around).
Food PR: Can you imagine? You’re basically paid to eat in restaurants and then promote delicious food. I could definitely do this. Although I suspect my waistline would not thank me.
Farmers’ Market stallholder: This could combine a few of the ideas above. I’ve also toyed with a few others over the years..but I’ve never actually done any of them.
So what next? The main message I’m getting is that I either want to work with food and set up a little business or go down the education route. I actually think I work far better with other people than on my lonesome, so if I set up a business, I’m looking for a partner in crime. So far none have been forthcoming (all my friends are gainfully employed).
I am going to make an effort to do something.
Watch this space.