ADVICE needed with my career choice! Watch

jturnip
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Hello all,

So I’m looking for some outside perspective on my current career choice. I’m going to try to be as honest as possible and give all the facts so that I don’t just get the answers I want to hear.
I graduated in July 2011 with a 2:1 in physics and absolutely no intention of pursuing a career in that field – it was clear from my second year at university that it really wasn’t right for me. At this stage I had no idea what to do and was lucky enough to get a job through a friend as a pensions administrator at a good company. The work was ok, and was my first proper experience of being in an office, so I got along well for the duration of my 9 month contract.
Now, this is where things get a little more messy. In my last year of university I lost my Nan to cancer, and was with her when she died. We were very close and I really struggled during my final year and was diagnosed with depression. After this experience, and generally being someone who ‘wants to make a difference’ I got fixated on the idea of training to be a nurse. So after my pensions job finished I found work at a carehome and got a place on a graduate entry nursing course. I worked at the care home for 4 months prior to starting my course, and completed about a month of my course, before getting extreme doubts about my choice and consequently leaving. I left the carehome on many an occasion emotionally exhausted and cried a lot – and it dawned on me, a little too late – that as much as I want to help people, it was far too emotionally challenging for me - I lacked the special quality a nurse needs to have. I am far too sensitive a person and find it difficult not to get emotionally involved.
So again I found myself in a conundrum. I was unemployed for 6 months after that and claiming JSA which left me feeling very low. I managed to get a few short term assignments through a temping agency to keep me going, mainly mind numbing data entry.
I was frustrated with myself for not being able to choose something and commit myself to it. I got so fed up in the end that I decided I needed to just go for a job that I wouldn’t mind doing. I lost the idealistic sense that I could find my calling or a job that I would love (which I think is a good thing, as I am far too much of a dreamer). It is also worth noting that I think the people around me were starting to get a little frustrated with me. I had asked a lot of them to be so supportive of me whilst I drifted about, but in truth I was annoying myself, so I can’t imagine how they felt. I lived with just my Mum, and she has always wanted the best for me and never pushed me into anything, but it has been financially difficult for her, and although she never begrudged me for it, I was guilty for being a 25 year old still relying on their Mum financially.
So let’s get to the main point – I chose accountancy – ta daa! I decided as a fairly numerate, analytical person that it was a sensible choice for me. And since then I have gained a training contract at a small/medium sized firm. The firm is lovely, the people are all very approachable and in that respect I am so grateful. The salary is good, and it’s nice to know what having some spare money feels like – I am also able to pay my mum, which feels great and I am sure she is really pleased about.

It’s been only 3 months now, I’ve passed two e assessments and am meant to be doing my third on Monday (so shouldn’t really be writing this)… But I can’t get this nagging feeling to go, that this is not right for me. I feel I am play – acting in a way, and it won’t be long before they realise I’m not into it. I don’t have any business sense/interest, and although the work is ok, it seems a bit pointless to put so much effort with all the studying in to something I don’t really want to do. I find it hard also that working at a firm is centred so much on making money and effective time costs, which I realise sounds very naïve. If is was just a job, rather than a career choice, I might feel at peace with this. But I feel I am going down a path that is taking me further away from who I am and where I want to be.
When I get to having some of my whimsical ideas, I think about how I’d like to work as an editorial/publications assistant, or work for a charity. These are my two alternatives, both ridiculously difficult to get into. Plus at the age of 26, I realise my CV is a bit all over the place and is not looking too attractive, especially if I leave this job. I feel scared to leave and scared to stay.
A final thing to note about me, is that I am not motivated by a high paying job, and in truth I admit I am not that ambitious. I’m not sure if that is just me, or whether it comes from my upbringing in a very large working class family, with only my Mum and I going any further than school. I want to do a decent job I find interesting, and get married and raise a family. Simples.
I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for in response to this – I guess an unbiased opinion – because the response when I told my mum and best friend that I wasn’t sure about accountancy was not great. I can see that they think I am running away. AGAIN. And I am doing my thing where I am fixated on unrealistic ideas. What do you think? Should I just be grateful, and get on with it?

Any replies are much appreciated, and I’d love for you to share your experiences if you’ve ever felt this way.
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Le Nombre
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I think before you jack accountancy altogether consider whether there is any way you could use it in a way you feel is positive. For example if you saw out the training would you feel more comfortable working for a not for profit organisation as a finance manager? Obviously doing the NSPCC's books or similar will be very popular, but I imagine somewhere like a local hospice, women's refuge or charity attached to a hospital would be glad to have someone with those skills on board. At a slightly less altruistic but still not 'bill the **** out of clients' you could look into those sorts of jobs with local governent, a school or the NHS for example.

In terms of other jobs which allow you to feel you're making a genuine difference what about careers such as social work or teaching? The former may be a bit too emotionally involved like nursing was but the latter shouldn't be. There are jobs out there that don't just involve making money for your employer, the not for profit sector is large. I haven't personally felt this way, but my housemate (chem grad) jacked accountancy for similar reasons and is now considering teaching.
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jturnip
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Thanks Le Nombre,


Ultimately I know that I am being too hasty and that I should give it longer before I decide. You are right that the only way I could continue down this path is if I could work in a charity at the end of it - there's no way I could continue in practice. I have considered teaching also, but to be honest, I'm not a fan of teenagers (!), and don't think I could deal with the behavioural management side of things. Good luck to your friend!
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infairverona
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This is probably going to sound harsh but I daresay your editorial thing is just another career you want to throw yourself head first into and then decide it's not for you. You might feel accountancy isn't quite right but you also don't really know what you want to do, and at the age of 26 you're lucky to be in such a good job with actual prospects. It sounds like you need to work out what you actually want to do and I suggest you stay in your accountancy job until that happens, because as you said, your CV sounds a bit slapdash.

Once you're a trained accountant you could always work in a charity's finance department or something but this is a really good opportunity and personally I think seeing as you don't have any great burning desire to do any particular job or pursue any particular career, it'd be foolish to throw it away.
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jturnip
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I think I needed that. I am lucky to have found something with such prospects, I know.
I can't help my feelings and lack of interest in accountancy - but I suppose in time I may find more to excite me about it, as it is still very early days. It ticks a lot of boxes and perhaps I should try harder to focus on the positives.
I'm going to give it more time and consider things very carefully.Thank you, I appreciate your advice.
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infairverona
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(Original post by jturnip)
I think I needed that. I am lucky to have found something with such prospects, I know.
I can't help my feelings and lack of interest in accountancy - but I suppose in time I may find more to excite me about it, as it is still very early days. It ticks a lot of boxes and perhaps I should try harder to focus on the positives.
I'm going to give it more time and consider things very carefully.Thank you, I appreciate your advice.
I didn't mean to sound horrible, I just think you perhaps need a reality check. As you said yourself, you are 26 and you are actually quite lucky to get such an amazing job when your CV alludes to someone who cannot commit to any one career. Also, I know a lot of people would say go and chase your dream, but there is an alarming lack of reality in this. Once you've qualified as an accountant you can then move around and work for whatever company you want and you will have something solid to put on your CV. If you left halfway through when you've already quit a nursing course I think you might struggle to find something else because it looks like you can't stick with anything. Hopefully you will find something you enjoy from it though!
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Little Jules
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I think you have had some pretty good advice in this thread - using what you are doing now to focus on working for a charity, for example, sounds like a great idea - but it does sound like you may also need to think at some stage about whether there's another reason that you keep changing your mind about what you are doing. You suggested that you mum and friends had already indicated this. There's nothing wrong with not being ambitious, but you have acknowledged that your CV is a bit all over the place, and assuming that you intend to keep working, you will need to think at some stage about how your CV looks. Ultimately, what you do now doesn't have to be what you do for the rest of your life, but the skills could come in useful, and sticking with it will look better on you CV whatever you want to do.

It's also important to remember that lots of firms are focused on money and time-keeping - all businesses need to make money to keep going, and many are accountable to someone (shareholders, bosses etc) for what they are doing with their time. Think of these elements as valuable skills that you can take with you anywhere - even charities need to be efficient. It sounds like you intend to stick with this job, and that does sound like a good idea.
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moutonfou
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You have to consider if you're just a person that gets bored easily. I am and I've had to resign myself to that fact. Think about absolute dream jobs like acting on the West End stage or being a famous popstar - even that would get boring eventually, singing the same songs over and over again, answering the same questions in every interview, permanently waiting for aeroplanes and tour buses and eating awful hotel food, etc. In short everything is boring if you do it for too long. But unfortunately you have to work for 40 years and switching too much will make it hard to fill those years with enough work to support your house, family, enormous electricity bill, etc.

At the moment I'm just accepting that work of all kinds is boring, and trying to get my fulfilment in my spare time where I am allowed to change my mind on a whim all I like - one day photography is my thing, the next it's writing, then it's cooking, etc etc Having hobbies also lets me fantasise about how I'm going to use them to get rich and only have to work for fun

I would at least finish your qualification if it's essentially free, then weigh up your options. In the meantime plan fun stuff for the evenings and weekends, enjoy life, being healthy, the people you love, etc.
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