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?