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Job you love vs money?

(64 Posts)
Neolibera Wed 21-Feb-18 21:42:54

I’m posting for advice on my dd’s dilemma of what to do post-uni. She’s 22, and coming to the end of her bachelors degree in History and Politics (she did a year abroad, hence being a year older).

She’s very clever and outgoing, but chronically and infuriatingly indecisive. She couldn’t make her mind up about what she wanted to do after university, so decided to apply for a variety of masters programmes and grad schemes, in order to delay the decision. Her reasoning was that all these schemes are so competitive, she’d be lucky to get one offer, so she would just apply for lots of things, and accept whichever one she got, if she got one at all.

As things have worked out, she has been fortunate enough to get multiple offers, but they are for such different things and she is still incapable of deciding... the options she has are:
1) Civil Service Fast Stream
2) Training contract with a silver circle law firm (so they’d pay for her to do the GDL and then the LPC before she starts working for them) - she did a vacation scheme at this firm and really liked it
3) Teach First to be an English teacher (her degree wasn’t 50% History, so she couldn’t apply to be a History teacher, yet for some reason to be an English teacher you only need the A-level)
4) Masters in ‘comparative social policy’ at Oxford (she also has masters offers for public/social policy-related courses from Warwick, LSE, York and UCL, but if she goes down the masters route, she’ll go for Oxford)

She’s pretty sure she doesn’t want to do TeachFirst, as she’s decided that teaching isn’t for her, but she can’t decide between the law training contract, the masters and the civil service fast stream (if she did the masters, it would be with a view to reapplying for the civil service fast stream next year - it’s not possible to defer her place apparently). While she can’t decide between law and the civil service, when pushed, she has said that she thinks the civil service probably aligns more with her interests, but admits that she’s also attracted by the higher salaries available in corporate law (she loves travelling and wants to be be able to earn enough to afford expensive trips abroad).

Does anybody have any advice on corporate law vs the civil service? And is it better to do a masters at a university like Oxford before entering the civil service, or should she just take the civil service offer now while she has it?

Evewasinnocent Wed 21-Feb-18 21:49:11

Masters and civil service gets my vote ( but I’m biased as I did masters then civil service after doing the trainee solicitor thing - imo a terrible career full of (mostly) vile people in my experience! Also did a bit of teaching when DCs were young - meh ok but not for me.

LeighaJ Wed 21-Feb-18 21:56:49

I have experience with the ins and outs of what solicitors do daily and I cannot think of anything more boring then being one.

I have a job I love, not the money to match, but I don't want up every day dreading work anymore which is priceless to me.

Rainbowsandflowers78 Wed 21-Feb-18 22:01:53

It depends what she values more - her life outside work/nice colleagues or pay. Former - go for civil service. Later - do law and training contract etc.
law is horrible as a career - hard work, awful people, ridiculous hours but it does pay well and gets you to a position where you could apply for things like the civil service later on - having earnt enough money to pay off debts etc
So not sure what I’d advise - to me she’ll probsbly end up as a teacher or civil servant anyway - but whether to start there or not I don’t know!
Not sure about the masters option - can’t see where that would lead. Only do it if she loves it and her gut feeling is she really wants to do it

redavocado Wed 21-Feb-18 22:08:49

I'd take the training contract. They're like hen's teeth now (especially funded!) and even if she hates working for a silver circle firm, it's a great start and gives her a qualification to take elsewhere.

thirstyformore Wed 21-Feb-18 22:10:02

Trainee solicitor in a magic circle firm......couldn't think of anything worse. And I'm a solicitor. She would need to see her soul for about 10 years, then try to find a job which doesn't require working 18 hour days and being constantly available if she wants any sort of family life.

I like being a lawyer, but I am very lucky in that I have a great in house job and Im not bothered about earning mega bucks.

FluffyWuffy100 Wed 21-Feb-18 22:11:27

Take the training contract. Do something else after 8 years.

edwinbear Wed 21-Feb-18 22:11:30

I have no experience of law, but spent 7 weeks in the Civil Service after being made redundant from investment banking, so a similar high salary, high stress type job.

I left my Civil Service job after 7 weeks. I couldn't stand the lack of commerciality, the beaurocracy, the snails work pace and jobsworth nature of the people I worked with (HMRC). I ran back to finance as fast as I could.

I think she needs to think very carefully about the culture she wants to work in, because they really are polar extremes.

Rainbowsandflowers78 Wed 21-Feb-18 22:29:45

Agree about polar extremes
Can see do some work experience or shadowing before accepting one or other?

bridgetreilly Wed 21-Feb-18 22:32:18

Civil service. Lots and lots of different roles and it's the kind of thing you usually only get one shot at. Also, she could end up in the Foreign Office and get all her travelling paid for. If she hates it, she can apply for the Masters or the law again.

windygallows Wed 21-Feb-18 22:37:20

Civil service as more variety of opportunities but she should take it now not ma and then reapply. She'd be gutted if she didn't get it again.

Re law. Give her a 30 page contract and ask her to make changes to it over and over again. If she enjoys that then she should go for the law job. Otherwise stay clear of law!

Jassmells Wed 21-Feb-18 22:38:38

Depends on area of the civil service she ultimately wants to end up in? Worth checking what the cuts are in those areas. Also to consider the huge relocation that parts of the service are making to Birmingham and Manchester.

She's clearly a clever girl perhaps doing a masters may help her determine her own future a bit more? But bear in mind the civil service opportunity could not be there in a few years but once you're in you're in.

Law - great opportunity but was only talking with friends today about the lack of a life lawyers seem to have and these weren't in anywhere near the level of firm you're talking about.

cardibach Wed 21-Feb-18 22:42:39

You only need the A level for English because nobody wants to be an English teacher in the current climate. I’ve been one for nearly 30 years and 3 years ago moved to the private sector to get away from the madness. I love my job now, teaching and boarding, but I get paid considerably less than I would in the state sector. It’s worth it. She should do what she will enjoy.

mrsmonkey14 Wed 21-Feb-18 22:45:20

I’d take the silver circle training contract. I did! Money’s good, and at the end she’ll be a qualified solicitor. She can carry on with that, or go off in various different directions with it. Just cos she takes the TC wouldn’t mean she’s stuck at the firm forever and it will give her some thinking time. She would still be able to join civil service or do a masters later on. But she’s probably unlikely to get offered a TC again. GDL can be tough I think but LPC is easy.
14 yrs on I’m still a lawyer but have done various things since that training contract!

Rainbowsandflowers78 Wed 21-Feb-18 22:46:37

Yes - what windy said - but ask her to sit around doing nothing all day but looking keen then give it to her at 9pm. Get her to read it over and over each time asking for stupid little changes. Get her to check the cross references, spelling. Then decide actually could she come to a meeting and make notes - don’t tell what it’s about or give any background, speak too fast and ignore her all way through meeting (except to ask for your coffee). Ask her to provide typed up notes to you tomorrow morning first thing. At midnight then decide you urgently need her to supervise the printing and signing of 40 contracts. By 3am she might be done on this work and can start her meeting note write up.
If she likes this sort of thing get her to apply to law.

yoyo1234 Wed 21-Feb-18 22:55:46

Go for civil service or law opportunity. Congratulations to your dd.

littlemissrain Wed 21-Feb-18 23:31:39

Well, it's a difficult decision, but an excellent choice to have.

Personally, id go for the civil service, especially if she likes politics.

blueshoes Wed 21-Feb-18 23:51:33

She loved doing the vacation scheme at the firm. Do the training contract.

She can join the civil service any time. But if you like law, nothing beats working with very clever people in the private sector who are motivated and just excellent.

I have only ever worked in a City-based magic circle and now US law firms. Yes, it can be dull. There is a lot of grunt work in the early years. But it does move beyond proofreading and gets more interesting and challenging. I love the intellectual rigor of law. If she likes what the senior associates and partners do, she is on track.

It is Well Paid. It does not close off any options if she wants to switch later.

LellyMcKelly Thu 22-Feb-18 01:35:39

If she’s bright, hard working, and enjoys learning, she could also think about pursuing a PhD in her area of interest.

throwcushions Thu 22-Feb-18 06:25:16

If she is only doing the training contract for the money and nothing else she will hate it. I'd advise her to do the fast stream. It's very competitive so she's done well.

SilverBirchTree Thu 22-Feb-18 06:28:10

I’m a lawyer, we’re not a particularly happy or fulfilled bunch.

But she won’t be shackled to her choice forever. A few years in Big Law can set you up for a number of more interesting and we’ll paid career paths.

Arapaima Thu 22-Feb-18 06:41:07

Either civil service or law IMO.

earlgreymarl Thu 22-Feb-18 06:45:14

I can kind of relate to this situation -- I'd say go into the law / private sector , amongst other things it's valuable to get a view beyond public sector and that will be beneficial, even if she goes into civil service at later date. She'll learn more and be more dynamic and have more options than going straight into civil service I think.

Binkybix Thu 22-Feb-18 06:47:03

I did the fast stream and, whilst Edwinbears description of some parts are true, it is definitely not true for all.

Having said that, in her shoes I’d be tempted by the training contract.

aliceinwanderland Thu 22-Feb-18 06:52:51

Civil sevice with her background. Fast stream will give her loads of options and opportunities. Law for most people is a track to an increasingly narrow career with many hours spent arguing pointless technicalities with pedants. (I'm ex partner in city firm, now civil servant)

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