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?

 

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He Who Pays the Pauper Plays the Tune


I am a wall flower who dabbles in extroversion as and when I please. My placid demeanour is too often interpreted as being innocuous; my silence is taken as a queue for others to maintain a perfidious act. But don’t get me wrong I can be acerbic.

In recent months I have had the inopportune luck of crossing paths with a man and a woman who love nothing but to serenade me with tales of their coquettish youth and triumphant adulthood. The man in particular enjoys the tune of his own voice. He would recall exuberantly how he saved the youth of the city from the wretched path they were bound to take; of the bountiful accolades he gotten for his altruism.

His intelligence too knew no bounds; he was on course on getting an honorary PhD for his work, though he was a tad bit miffed as to why his name wasn’t listed on any of the previous years’ list of University honoraries. His delusion was disquieting.

He particularly had a thing for using proverbs out of context. He who pays the pauper plays the tune was his go to explanation for his social activism (or the lack thereof). A sign of intellectualism he may have thought. Intellectualism that required pseudo as a permanent prefix, I would have told him.

The woman on the other hand has provided me with too many moments of unadulterated laughter. I laughed at her, with her and for her. She assumes different pseudo intellectualism based on the topic of discussion. Depending on where her delusions of grandeur take her, her epithets can range anything from a scientist to a mathematician and everything in between. If anyone crosses her path; usually someone she finds professionally threatening they will be the subject of her desktop research analysis. MI5 have lost out on a great agent in her!

If I want to impress someone I let my work speak for itself (and eyes if need be). The thing with insecurities is that regardless of how long a diatribe you do, it will eventually catch up with you: as was the case with the two protagonists of this post. Your constructed words reveal the very thing you so desperately want to hide. You eventually run out of fuel and have no choice but to put out the fires of your constructed lies. Should you then come clean and not feel ashamed of whom you are..?

NOPE! That wouldn’t be the case where those two are concerned. They just move onto the next thing that they can grab hold of to feel great about themselves. Right now climate change is hot on the agenda and I suspect it won’t be long before these two jump on that bandwagon. I can already foretell the woman offering me a rundown of her contribution to this cause come Monday morning. How she was invited to present at international conferences (over the course of the weekend nonetheless) and part her wisdom on how to best tackle this issue. The man will offer me his ersatz political analysis on the issue and simply conclude ‘he who pays the pauper plays the tune’!

I must admit that the sanguinity within which they deliver their delusions is rather inspiring.

Engaging in what is often a one sided conversation with these two requires a lot of mental yoga. Because after weeks of listening to continuous repletion of grandeur my ears are suffering from repetitive strain injury whilst these two could only be described as suffering from the onset of a premature dementia.

In the now clichéd words of Sweet Brown “aint nobody got time for that“. I am too busy admiring the perfectly groomed and styled beards of the world. The hipsters are saving mankind one beard at a time. I always knew you hipsters had it in you. Hoorah!

Though they have admittedly created one problem for me and I’m sure many other folks who upon meeting such fine specimen are unsure as to whether one should offer their salaam and lower their gaze; or toss with loose strands of hair whilst simultaneously fluttering eyelashes and coyly enquire “so do you come here often?” ….. I digress…..