Stepping Off the Career Ladder

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I am certain that I have mentioned in few posts that I always battled with indecisive idiosyncrasy. When you are as indecisive as I am, options can be daunting. When you are young and inexperienced, options are really frightening. Why… because with no clear strategy on how to tackle whatever options given to you, it can hold you back. Where careers are concerned this can be taxing. Hence why I am always in need of second opinions.

In recent months I have learnt that stepping off the career ladder is equally as important as stepping on it and progressing through it. Sometimes it is more progressive to take some time out and evaluate whether the rat race is at all for you.

Why is that? Read me out…

At the age of 21 I found myself with an undergraduate degree that I didn’t have a clue what to do with. That is the problem in my opinion with generalist degrees that can be applied to any setting. But that was precisely what attracted me to my degree… that I wouldn’t be tied to one specific career path…that I could explore others with it.

Exploration with no real strategy is equivalent to walking blind on the edge of a treacherous road. Not only are you clueless about what’s to come but worse you are ill equipped to deal with any mishaps that may arise.

Of course, there was a catalogue of opinions from career advisors, family, friends, neighbour’s dog, to total strangers. They all had opinions!

Opinions on how one should pursue a career in Policing just because they studied Criminology or become a Social Worker because they studied Sociology!! At least that was from those who remotely understood what Criminology or Sociology entailed. The rest were just baffled by both subjects and more so as to why anyone would pursue it.

I studied society and why people engaged in criminality, surely there is some credibility in that, no?!

By the time I graduated I found myself amidst a global recession. From the comfort of hindsight, it wasn’t as bad. At the very least, It gave me the chance to enhance my academic pursuits. I would have lost track of it if I was off to my first graduate job in my prescribed field that would have supposedly put me on the career ladder.

That is not to say that I didn’t work, of course I did; I never knew anything but to work. In fact I managed to hold onto a full time job whilst doing my Masters. This time I knew what I wanted to get out of it, both academically and professionally, where I wanted to go with it: International Development. So I embarked on a yearlong course in International and European Human Rights Law.

By the end of it, we were still amidst a global recession, so securing a job in that field was almost impossible. I was tempted to take the academic route and pursue my passion for academia and study for a PhD.

Of course I received all sorts of illogical protests- from the sublime to the ridiculous. There were the ones who staunchly believed that PhD’s were meant to be done when you are in your forties. My personal favourite was that I would somehow put myself out of reach from the regular men and miss out on marriage.

I am all for defying the odds and refuting age old institutions. The feminist in me saw a fruitful future with a herd of cats… I don’t even like cats, they unnerve me!

The problem with doing a PhD then is that it would have made me more overqualified for the jobs I wanted than I already was; or so the recruiters were telling me.

The second problem with that option is that come three years’ time I would find myself in the same situation my 21 year old self was: inexperienced yet overqualified. This graduate job market is a minefield for the unwary.

So I took the time out to explore various career paths and gauge what my indecisive self really wanted to do rather than getting trapped into a lifetime of a 9-5 that I wasn’t really keen in.

The greatest advise I got in my career thus far is that if plan A fails, have a plan B, C and D; if need be!

So here I am now embarking on a three years full time PhD course whilst laying the foundations for what I hope to be a global research enterprise and of course doing this little old thing called writing!

P.s I was told that I could procreate and have multiple babies in the course of three years instead… I think I’ll happily take on the challenge of studying human behaviour as opposed to making them….


Enough about me, What is your career story?




12 thoughts on “Stepping Off the Career Ladder

  1. I am so jeal. In the past two years, I have been rejected from 20 – count ’em, 20 – PhD programs. The first year, in social work, and the second year, in social psychology (and one social work because I had a killer reference I couldn’t pass up.) I have not applied anywhere overseas, however (I’m in the US), and I might try that one day. Best to you in your program! Where are you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Sahara.. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences.

      I am based in the UK. I am not sure about the criteria in the US but here its part dependent on your academic qualification and part on how good your proposal is and whether your university of choice is interested in the topic of your research.

      Of course it is highly competitive and that might still not gurantee you a place. I have had my fair share of rejections too 😁

      Good luck with it all!


  2. I want to know what the neighbor’s dog said. Just kidding. 🙂 It is very difficult in the present day with the way the job market is and I have heard that UK is in worse shape than we are here in the US. Human Rights Law sounds so interesting. Is that for your PhD study? I say do what you have passion and some talent for doing. If you want to know something of my career life you can mosey on back to my post Taking on Challenges. Wishing you much good luck with whatever you decide!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha i think he said be a police officer and take me on as a police dog.. Or something to that effect 😊

      Since the recession the job market here has been almost non existent. You get on average 200+ applications for one job, which is mad for both the recruiters and those applying. The market is highly competitive and is getting harder for graduates to kick start their career.

      My phd will be on women and politics 😁 so yeah we’ll see how that goes ..

      Thank you for your comment i’ll be sure to check out your post on this topic x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Police officer and police dog, funny. 😀 I had heard about the economy in England being a bit worse than ours here. Many young people here are up against it as well. And people over 50 are hitting the same wall. I feel I had to retire before I was ready. Forced into it. I am doing a little tutoring. Women and Politics sounds interesting. I think we need more women in politics. xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess it’s bad for everyone on either end of the spectrum. Many people i know have been forced into early retirement or made redundant and finding it just as hard to get back in. And yes we definitely need more women, not enough of us lot in politics.

        P.s apologies for the late reply, my phone decided to not notify me of your comment 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I got an English degree, and always had it in the back of my mind that I would someday be a writer. But then my school loans came due, so I had to do something to make money and gain experience, so I got into textbook publishing as an editorial assistant. Moved up the ranks and started to like elements of the job. I went back to school for a Masters in Technology in Education, and started to work on classroom technology. It’s interesting, and I enjoy many aspects of the job.

    Now I’m trying to break into writing — taking courses, working on my blog, writing sketches and a screenplay. Life is interesting. I feel lucky to have the opportunities I’ve had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These loans eh 😩 i can pretty much relate to your journey. I ended up taking a different route to what i initially thought i would be doing. I suppose for me it’s about gaining transferable skills that you can then apply to any career path. The graduate market is getting so much harder to get into. Nowadays a degree on its own won’t get you your desired job. More and more jobs are asking for postgraduate qualifications.

      I am glad you are enjoying it though. I started this blog as well to break into writing ; something i too had on the back of my mind 😊

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experiences.. Good luck with it all x

      Liked by 1 person

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