Career vs Calling

I never thought about what I wanted to do as a job, or a career. I know many young people are completely certain what they want to do with their lives, but it seems that too many are expected to decide, or know far too early, or at all.

A career is right for some people. They are academic, or have particular interests, and a trajectory and a plan. 

Being forced to devise a plan is just not right for everyone. I look back at my career and it looks like a series of stepping stones, without having looked at the other bank when I set out. I would take one step, savour the view for a little while, and then notice the next stone and hop onto it.

You can get through your whole life not really knowing what’s right, so you should at least be able to try out everything you like the look of. I know I’ve been fortunate working for part of my career in Government communication where you could jump from one department to another and work in very different and interesting areas.

There is really no reason why a student at 16 should decide what they will do forever. I’m eternally grateful that my parents suggested I did a bi-lingual secretarial course. It set me up to be able to temp in my college holidays and then have the basic business nous to get out and work in any area. I then did a Business Studies HND, again giving me practical transferable skills.

A calling can find you at any time. For many it needs a bit of experimentation. I feel as though I found a few callings, which became a career for a while, but I’ve now found my true calling in coaching which will be my career in retirement.

Pressuring anyone to decide on a career before they really know is unhelpful. Young people should be nurtured to make the decision about what feels best for them at that moment – whether it be university, a vocational course, a gap year or going straight into work. We can go back to education at any age, and perhaps it makes more sense to do it when we really know what we love?


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