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AIBU to please ask you for careers advice?

(26 Posts)
PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 13:10:24

Hi everyone.

I'm posting this just to get some careers advice, which I'd really appreciate smile

First of all, I apologise that this post is so long. I want to put in as much detail about my situation here, if that's okay, just to see what kind of support may be available.

So I posted a thread here last week about my situation - I was training to be a teacher, and really struggling. Since starting the training in summer, I'd been feeling more and more stressed, depressed and anxious. I was really struggling with time management and organisation, and I hadn't been giving myself enough time to eat, sleep and relax properly. I also asked different people several times for specific and targeted support in areas that I was struggling with, but unfortunately I never received this support.

On one occasion, for example, I'd been advised to ask a specific staff member for support with time management and organisation. He is a very experienced teacher, and is my mentor for the year. He is also of course very busy, which I absolutely understand. When I asked him about time management, he replied that he is 'naturally organised' and that he has 'been organised for all of his life, since birth.' He then asked me if I had a notebook, and then said that all I needed was to write everything I needed to do in my notebook. And that was it.

I've now resigned from the training, due to these factors, and because I was struggling to see how I was going to pass the next two years or how I would cope. I understood that this was a very big decision to make. Luckily, I've had a lot of support from family members and from my school (staff members and friends working at the school who I've spoken to about my situation). I have a GP appointment booked for today to discuss looking into counselling support, which I feel would be very useful for me at this stage. I'll be working in particular on my resilience, which someone already gave me useful advice for on a previous thread - thank you!!

I feel that one reason I went into teacher training was because I wanted to help people and make a positive change to people's lives, however small this is. The other reason was to use the languages I've learnt and to see how I felt about teaching whilst I think about which career would really suit me (I do realise these are not the best reasons for going into teaching). blush

Sorry for that very long introduction! I'm coming here to ask for your guidance on careers, please smile

There are several areas of work that I'm interested in. First of all, careers within the media, publishing and journalism. I've had work experience with national and local newspapers, and wrote for my university newspaper throughout my degree. I've had several paid commissions from newspapers as well since graduating from uni.

I'm also interested in government careers in the UK and abroad. I've been keen to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream, however I've applied last year and this year, and both times have unfortunately not got past the initial testing round. I also realise that the Fast Stream can be extremely stressful with a lot of pressure attached, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of work now.

Another interest is charity jobs in the UK and overseas.

I'd also love to find out more about translation and interpreting jobs in the UK and overseas (I have a French and Spanish degree from Oxbridge, and have kept up with my languages since graduating).

However, I've heard that there aren't always many jobs available in translation and interpreting, which has made me wary of approaching this as a career, even though I really would like to look into it here. I have a friend who was at uni with me who did an MA in interpreting, and she had an EU interpreting internship in Luxembourg. (Of course, the other issue here is the demand for translation/interpreting jobs after Brexit...)

In the meantime, I'll be doing tutoring work to support myself whilst I apply for long-term jobs.

My ideal career would involve several different things - tutoring, writing books, translating books and journalism. I'm definitely an introvert, I'd say. I'm reading Susan Cain's book Quiet at the moment, and she mentions that her current career involves writing books and speaking about them. Both of these things actually appeal to me (despite me mentioning I'm an introvert!!)

Please help with your career wisdom, Mumsnet! smile

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 13:20:03

Bump smile

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 14:09:09

Anyone? I would be really grateful if you could help please smile it would be really appreciated.

TicklishSpider Wed 23-Nov-16 14:17:08


I'm on the Civil Service Fast Stream at the moment. Happy to answer any Qs you have about that if you're still considering it for the future. Wider Civil Service jobs are tougher to get due to hiring freeze (but that may have to be lifted slightly due to Brexit workloads).

Can you get access to a careers counsellor? These aren't just linked to universities. I found it a really useful way to talk through my options when I was switching careers.

milliemolliemou Wed 23-Nov-16 14:30:12

OP I think this is the wrong thread and Mumsnet is possibly not the place for careers advice. You're Oxbridge languages and found no support as you did the teacher training so you bowed out early. Have you gone back to your old college to ask for advice from their network?
I think you need to get your anxiety sorted first. And breathe.
Journalism might not suit you since it's all deadlines - a few swallows don't make a summer. Or go back to the people who commissioned you with ideas for stories. Suggest going down to Spain to look at what's going on there. Or over to France to cover the incipient elections.
And keep in touch with charity websites - and since you're good at it, try another language. French/Spanish is great, but can you move away from Romance languages to add to your job attraction. Not sure of your financial position but moving to France/Spain and offering businesses/BBC/ITV/Sky an ability to interview and translate would be another way in.
Linked In CV? Being proactive and looking at charities/businesses you could work with?

Just go for it.

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 14:31:07

Thank you so much Ticklish, I appreciate your help.

I've been thinking about getting professional careers advice - I've seen that there are free services available, as well as services with a cost attached. I'd also like to look into my uni careers service, but they're focussing on advising final-year students until after Christmas.

If anyone else also has advice, I'd really appreciate it if you could PM me or post it here. Thank you!!

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 14:58:17

Thanks so much everyone for your posts so far smile anyone with any further advice?

I'd be really grateful xxx

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 15:41:53

Just in contact with the National Careers Service by phone, and will be arranging a face-to-face meeting with an adviser from the service next week.

If anyone on here has any further suggestions regarding careers, I'd be very grateful.

user1475501383 Wed 23-Nov-16 17:05:37

Oxbridge - wow, the world is your oyster!!

user1475501383 Wed 23-Nov-16 17:06:08

That wasn't sarcasm BTW. I genuinely admire anyone with a degree from Oxbridge.

LadyShirazz Wed 23-Nov-16 19:04:34

Hi OP,

I had to post, as I was you just over ten years ago - i.e. new holder of a hard-won Oxbridge degree in languages, and little idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life career-wise.

I'm presuming that you might have also acquired a total inferiority complex after four years spent alongside some seriously high-achievers in "proper" subjects like maths and medicine, who alongside kept up presidency of the debating club, editorship of Varsity, and grade 1,000 in piano just for fun (as you do). No? Just me then!

I remember going over the exact same professions in my mind, and being really torn about what I wanted to do - not having much in the way of real world experience or really any kind of clue at all.

In the end, I didn't go down any of those routes at all, and am none the worse for it! In fact, the career market is much bigger, diverse, and more global than the university career service would have you believe, and there are many, many more routes "in" than just milkround or masters.

In my case, what I did know was that I wanted to travel, and that I wanted a break from the academic treadmill I'd been on since SATs.

My degree in languages enabled me to very easily transition into a "gap couple of years", teaching English on either a paid or voluntary basis in various countries around the world (I recommend starting in China to get some experience built up - outside of Beijing / Shanghai, they will literally take any white face, and pay for your flights as well).

When I started to think about getting a proper "career" underway, I only really knew that I wanted to live and work in Europe. Copious internet research soon led me to Prague as a location of multiple shared service centres (DHL, ExxonMobile, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Monster, Accenture etc, to name but a few), where - if you had a degree, spoke English, and had another language under your belt - you could literally walk into a job (as I did with a major name company on my first day in the city) and work up from there. I'm told Amsterdam is also very good for this - as are other countries further east, such as Poland and Bulgaria.

There (as well as here), you'd be in demand for multiple positions just based on the fact that you speak two other languages - customer services, logistics, IT support, banking, HR,etc. where the key thing is speaking the languages well, and the rest is taught via training / on the job.

Using this route, I soon had a number of major corporate names on my CV, and was able to move into management pretty quickly and leave the languages behind on the basis that I was after a number of years by then more of an SME in the sector I had happened to "fall" into.

To give an indication of how well this worked out for me, my last job was back among the Oxbridge crowd at one of "the" Big 4 consultancies, who say all the international experience and "boldness" in going it a different route as a massive plus. (As it turned out, I hated that place - but soon had another job to go to, and am doing very well elsewhere!)

So what I'm trying to say is don't get too hung up on choosing a "profession" now - even if all you do in the short-term is get a job in, say, multi-lingual customer service (often surprisingly well-paid) either here or abroad, you'll be experiencing something of the real-world workplace, and have a better idea of what you do or don't like job-wise. If you like what you do, and move up - great. If you don't, and choose another path after a year - you'll still have some great experience under your belt, have evidenced use of your languages in a professional capacity, will hopefully have a bit saved up to fund the next step, and are still further on than you were a year before.

And if you gain all the above while living abroad, then so much the better!

I hope this helps, and try not to stress out too much!

LadyShirazz Wed 23-Nov-16 19:19:30

Writing in a hurry, sorry - I meant to say that even if the Oxbridge degree is superfluous at interview stage, it won't go unnoticed, and once "in" will go very much at your favour when it comes into which team member to promote to management, and whenever you interview off the back of that.

It is rarely ever "wasted", whatever the level at which you join an organisation.

Please feel free to contact me on this thread or via PM, if I can ever help at all...

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 19:20:50

Thank you everyone for your advice so far. I really appreciate it.

I'm considering translation as a career option. Does this sound sensible to anyone who's a translator/who has considered it as a career?


indigox Wed 23-Nov-16 19:28:27

Whilst you're tutoring can you try and get some, potentially unpaid internships and volunteer work across a variety of sectors and see what it is you're actually interested in pursuing now, without the pressure of choosing "something" and then it having to be your career, forever?

One of my clients was a translation company, and they were inundated with translation applicants, it was very competitive, fast moving and deadline orientated.

There may be something in Localisation which you may enjoy, but its generally project management based, working with translators, and so on.

I work in marketing, our international clients are always looking for French speaking marketing executives.

There's also things like TEFL which you could do in the meantime.

senua Wed 23-Nov-16 19:38:26

My DD is a teacher, she qualified fairly recently. She has worked in various places: first as a volunteer to get work experience, then on placements during her PGCE and now as a NQT.
She found the level of support varied hugely between the different schools. Some mentors were really helpful, some were rushed off their feet and she felt guilty about troubling them with her problems and some were just not-very-nice people.
Don't write off teaching because of one bad experience. You may find that it all clicks into place at a different, supportive school.

hecallsmebunny Wed 23-Nov-16 19:38:47

Rather than the national careers service, I strongly recommend you contacting the careers/employability service from your uni. Most help graduates as well as current students and can offer professional expert advice on careers and opportunities! Good luck!

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 19:41:07

indigo all of your suggestions sound really good - thanks for posting smile I'll have a look into internships and see what I can find. I'm based in London at the moment, so I'm hoping there will be a few different opportunities here.

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 19:42:03

And thanks bunny and senua smile

LadyShirazz Wed 23-Nov-16 19:43:50


IrenetheQuaint Wed 23-Nov-16 19:44:28

As well as thinking about career sector, think about what you enjoy and what you're good at.

Do you want a secure permanent job in a big company/government department?
Could you cope with the uncertainty of the freelance life?
How much money do you need to earn to finance the sort of lifestyle you want?
Do you want to live in London, or another city, or in the middle of nowhere, or abroad?
Do you like office jobs or do you find them dull and claustrophobic?
etc etc.

EatsShitAndLeaves Wed 23-Nov-16 19:51:04

I work in IT.

Many companies hire/contract people with language skills re: editorial on their websites.

If you are good at writing "copy" and being able to translate that into multiple languages and retain the corporate "message" is a valuable skill.

Where I work we also value multi-lingual staff in a variety of roles that do not necessarily require a background in tech.

Yika Wed 23-Nov-16 20:05:44

Have PMd you.

PamplemousseRouge Wed 23-Nov-16 22:43:58

Thanks everyone who has posted so far! I really really do appreciate it smile ticklish, millie, LadyShirazz, Irene, Eats and Yika, you're all fab! Thank you!! Xxx

daisypond Fri 25-Nov-16 12:27:03

I've worked in the translation industry. Most translators are freelance, so you need to consider if this would be something you would be happy with - you will need to be able to tout for work, negotiate fees and work undefined hours. As someone said upthread, localisation may be a way to get into the industry - but this more project management work. Translation is a very competitive field - there is always someone willing to work for very little money, and localisation staff are under pressure to get work translated for the cheapest price. If you haven't looked, websites and forums like TranslatorsCafe will have lots of advice. Unfortunately, French-English and Spanish-English are common language pairs and there will be a huge amount of competition here. They are not also the languages wanted by the government for language jobs in places like GCHQ. But I know people making a living working in these languages, so it is possible. It might be worth thinking about a Masters degree in Translation to give you an edge - the people I know working in these languages all have a Masters - and learning to specialise in financial or legal translation, for example. You might need to begin by volunteering your services for free for charities.

PamplemousseRouge Fri 25-Nov-16 14:06:54

Thanks daisy! smile

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