Growing up in the early 2000s I, like many others, had access to a careers adviser. I believe her name was Jenny Rule but I could be mistaken.
She was a perfectly pleasant person but ultimately I can’t say I found any of my mandatory visits to her office helpful at all. I get the feeling that the same could be said for most others, sadly.
The reason I mention this is because it’s the only thing I can think of experiencing when it comes to official career guidance. Little was done to provide me with any realistic view of what was available out there, something I don’t feel has ever been corrected.
I’m not trying to suggest that my life would have turned out differently merely that even today I see no clear link between satisfactory careers and academic choices. Some people I know work in offices, others are doctors, pilots, and bankers. I don’t envy any one of them but I find myself thinking “What are the other options?”
I studied biology and history at A2 level simply because I found them interesting. I studied Spanish to better grasp language. None of the other subjects seemed to help build towards anything anyway leaving me at a loss as to why I’d bother with them. Studying physics might have led me to a career in high science but it’s simply not a field of interest for me. I was good at it but it bored the socks off me.
Frankly most of the high level stuff seemed pretty redundant. History was useful in terms of teaching me how to argue a point with supporting evidence. It wasn’t so good at getting me to remember much history though.
Essentially I think the frustration I’m trying to express here is with the lack of connection between happiness, career success, and academic choices. The pressure was piled on at the time to make the right choices but no one was able to actually provide any real guide as to what that meant. Visiting universities proved no more help either. They too assumed that somewhere along the line this stuff had been covered – so choose your damn degree subject!
Without a clear blueprint for career success I find myself muddling along and opting out of most things. Being disinterested in money seems to baffle most people I come into contact with. If had an extra £50 per week in my pocket I’d perhaps buy a few more beers and the occasional new pair of cheap jeans. Other than that I don’t see what it would change other than consuming most of my time and energy. Is that a sensible exchange? To me, absolutely not.
The figure of £50 stems from the fact that the more one earns the bigger the bills become. Income tax, rent, council tax, and a variety of other costs spike up and swallow up the lion’s share of the new income.
Perhaps the best bet at the moment is to ride out this recession and try to build revenue streams that don’t directly pay me but provide the other things I want in life. That’s the principal behind much of what I do with Fox Box after all – allow me build models without making me personally pay for the privilege!