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If your careers advisor hadn't been such an asshole what would you be doing now?

(15 Posts)
Pinkspottyegg Tue 28-Jan-14 09:16:57

Had an interesting conversation with a pal recently. We both left school in the 80s and our careers advisors at school should have been sacked for the advise they gave us. We both wanted to join the police force. She was asked why then told she should work in a supermarket because that's what women did. I was told (lied to) that I had to be 5'8" when it was 5'4" at the time and why didn't I consider admin work (I hate being indoors).

Do they still have careers officers these days? I cannot imagine they'd get away with that sort of guff now. If I could turn the clock back I'd slap the sanctimonious git hard. He never listened to anything I said I liked or was good at nor considered my qualifications (which were all maths science based) to make any logical suggestions.

I was a shy 15 year old who was brought up to believe everything adults said so would never have confronted him or challenged him.
I'd have gone to Uni or college to study geography/science. A whole different world could have been opened up for me but instead I went on a YOP scheme. I've had a good life and eventually got a degree but in something I had no interest in really, just coz work was paying for it. But boy am I bitter about this. It is my one real regret.

What guff did your careers officer tell you?

Pinkspottyegg Tue 28-Jan-14 11:57:17


bonzo77 Tue 28-Jan-14 12:11:39

i should have been a vet. I had the ability and the desire. But was told that "horses are just a childish obsession, you need to do something sensible". So I'm a dentist. which I hate.

bonzo77 Tue 28-Jan-14 12:12:34

oh yes, it's my big regret too. I only work one day a week at the moment as the kids are so small, but if I loved my job I'd be back and earning much sooner.

elQuintoConyo Tue 28-Jan-14 12:23:47

Vulcanologist. Honestly. Went to an all-girls school, told vulcanology was male-oriented and notoriously difficult to get into if you're female, so why not do something like be a librarian.


My job is easy and I can do it with my eyes closed, but unchallangng, a bit boring and not something I like doing rather than being with my son. If I were a vulcanologist I'd be a richer person (in spirit) and happier. I am very unfulfilled career-wise. I will lok into re-training as something else when son is older, at the moment a job is a job and I'm lucky to.have one.

applepearorangebear Tue 28-Jan-14 12:25:56

I was told to work in logistics, ideally for the Navy (!) I am disorganised, get sea sick and cry when shouted at: I really can't think of many less suitable jobs. Mercifully I completely ignored him and chose a career I love, or I would probably be heaving over the side of a warship right now while everyone down below complains about the lack of loo roll and tea bags...

But on a more serious note, it really angers me when careers officers dismiss teenagers' ambitions. One of my cousins went to a not-great comp in a fairly rough area. She was told her job options were limited to the chippy or the Co-op. She now has a PhD and is a very successful lawyer so no long-term harm done, but I suspect a less confident girl would have been crushed.

Sparklysilversequins Tue 28-Jan-14 12:31:16

It wasn't a careers advisor, I never had any. It was my Mum who told me I would be useless at each of the two things I ever said I would like to do - social work and nursing (midwifery). She said I was clueless and living in cloud cuckoo land if I thought I could cope with those careers. As such I never told her anything and then ended up not doing anything much. I'm doing a degree in Child psychology and development now and hope to do a masters in Autism, and my Dad said, "well what are you going to use THAT for?" So nothing's changed.

callamia Tue 28-Jan-14 12:36:51

Mine was helpful. This was about 15 years ago. She listened and then was practically helpful.

She got me a work placement in a special school, and I still work in the same area now. Thank you nameless careers advisor!

Pinkspottyegg Tue 28-Jan-14 14:01:11

Glad to hear one was of use anyway. And if I had joined the police force I'd be a detective by now.

VerucaInTheNutRoom Tue 28-Jan-14 14:07:08

I was told to think about advertising and not law by a university careers adviser. I wish I hadn't listened to her, life would be very different.

whatshallwedo Thu 30-Jan-14 23:42:56

I was told there was no money in childcare so I should do A levels instead. In which I got awful marks as our 6th form consisted of 3 pupils! Although this did mean I had 1-1 tuition in one subject, the teacher was so disinterested all I had to do was copy from a textbook and put it into my own words hmm

I now do a job which I enjoy but I would have rather had the chance to train in childcare first.

kentishgirl Wed 12-Feb-14 00:50:19

They should have explained universities and degrees properly. I had no clue what that was all about. I was smart, in the top set at school, but no-one in my family had been to uni and I simply didn't understand.

All I knew was:
you could do a degree in one subject, like English, or Maths, or Geography. I had no awareness of subjects that weren't exactly the same as school. I thought it would be just like school, in a classroom from 9 -4, but doing one subject all day five days a week. Didn't fancy that even though I loved English! Also had no concept of what you would then do after that degree - I thought you would then teach that subject at school.

OR you picked a vocational career like doctor, vet, engineer and went and did a degree for that.

The idea of going to uni just to learn, to get into a new field of study, how many 100s of different courses there are, that most people go and get a degree in what interests them and just being a graduate in anything was a way into a great career later (well, it was the 80s!),you didn't have to have a career in mind first, that you go to lectures for a few hours and study yourself, that there are loads of other activities to get into, that uni is free and a hell of a lot of fun dammit! all this was unknown to me.

So I left school at 16.

i'm just about to finish an OU degree (fingers crossed with a First). If I'd gone to uni younger I think I may well have finished up in an academic career. Too late for me now - haven't got time and money for a Phd.

Lioninthesun Wed 12-Feb-14 00:58:03

We didn't have a careers advisor, we took a few exams and they told us what we were suited to. Mine had 'Child psychologist, Doctor, Psychologist and Engineer.' We all laughed at the last one as I was nearly bottom of the year for maths, although top in nearly everything else grin
For the record I am a SAHM!

Lioninthesun Wed 12-Feb-14 01:00:35

Kentish completely agree. Degrees were an unknown quantity. I thought it was that you chose your subject and you were stuck with it for life! Didn't even know anthropology existed until I was 22!

lechers Mon 17-Feb-14 10:41:03

I always wanted to be a teacher, but my careers teacher told me I'd never pass my A levels, so I should work in banking instead. They sent me off for a tour of a local bank, and I signed up to do some kind of YTS NVQ crappy admin course that would have led me nowhere.

Thankfully, my best friend talked me out of it, and convinced me to do my A levels. I did, passed them (with reasonable grades), did my degree (2:1), and masters and I am now an A level lecturer. I think part of me wanting to become an A level lecturer was the fact that I was told not to do my A levels, and I now teach at a higher level than my teachers who put me down (11-16 school).

But that was the crappy school I went to. They told my best friend she wouldn't pass one particular subject. To spite them, she took it at GCSE, got an A and took it to A level and got a B in it there (with three other As).

Other people I know from that school have said they're not academic or clever, but that's because the school always told us that. It is shocking really.

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