Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Communique' from an uncertain future

Something everyone has heard before: ‘You need to do what you enjoy. You spend the majority of your life working, so if you don’t enjoy it then you’ll not be happy.’

Something else everyone has heard before: ‘If I won the lottery…’

In life, the prominence given to money cannot be understated. People talk about it all the time. Parents complain about a lack of it. Some individuals are ruthlessly driven in the pursuit of it. The fruits of wealthy pockets are forever envied. Money must be quite important, then?

Our consumer-driven, capitalist society is propped up by self-perpetuating industries and organisations following the dangling carrot of profit, hence the credence given to commercial awareness by graduate employers. Publishing, which, broadly speaking is the sector in which I am currently employed, is not renowned for its generosity when it comes to financially rewarding employees for their hard work; yet it is still a commercial enterprise. Fiscal payback for employees is largely dependent on the amount of money that a business is able to accrue; so what of those job sectors that are more likely to supply their employees with kinder monetary gifts? Without having experienced graduate jobs in traditionally cash-soaked sectors such as banking, law or accountancy, for example, I can’t say that they are substantially more demanding than publishing. I also can’t say that they’re boring, soul destroying or grim, which is why I’m starting to wonder: should I choose to pursue a career in an area that could furnish me with sterling and hope that I might, as a bonus, even enjoy the job?

Here’s a surprise: I’m uncertain. As I discussed in a previous blog entry, the implications of pursuing a career that you haven’t experienced are many and various. If you opt for a path that you think you’ll enjoy, there’s every possibility that you may rue your choice when you find yourself struggling for money; if you follow pound signs, there’s a chance that you may curse your choice when you are battling for contentment.

There’s no way to accurately predict the future. Depending on the career choice you make and how things fall, anything could happen. So here’s a seemingly silly suggestion for skirting a mid-life crisis: get some hobbies. Colour your free time with activities that you enjoy so that in future, you can work to live instead of living to work. Play golf. Take up cycling. Buy a camera. Develop your interest in ornithology. Do whatever appeals to you and if you don’t know what you like, get thinking and try things out. This isn’t intended to be a doom-laden sentiment, merely a pragmatic means by which to exercise some control over a wild beast. At least then if things don’t go entirely to plan, you won’t be left feeling completely short changed.  

Thank you Ross. 

Maybe taking a gap year after university may also help clearing your mind, picking up hobbies and figuring out what to do with your career. If you have thought of this but worried about how employers may view it why not have a look at how you can market your gap year to employers. 

Or why not have a read of our 'Fun, prospects or money article' this may inspire you and give you some options.