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Can I ask you about your career path?

97 replies

Tailypo · 06/07/2017 00:27

For no reason other than interest (and extreme nosiness Wink), AIBU to ask you all about your career paths?

Would you mind just providing a bit of info about your first steps into work after secondary school or university, and your career from then on please?

I'm stuck in a bit of a careers rut right now ( :( ) and would love to feel inspired :)

I'd love to keep my options as open as possible, so I'm really interested in my next career move as well as in what I could be (potentially!) involved in later on in a career too.


OP posts:
revolution909 · 06/07/2017 00:33

Well since I'm working, I'll answer. I'm a special case though as I studied and lived my early career abroad. I studied journalism, went onto lifestyle / travel journalism - which was amazing!- moved over here and started working for the world's largest review site. I've been there for almost 7 years now. Started as a temp doing fairly basic proofreading stuff, did moderation and now I'm a BPO manager - I manage two big outsourced teams- . I miss writing and going to press conferences / launches. Oh and I have a master's in Social Media :)

KeepServingTheDrinks · 06/07/2017 00:39

I'll tell you my rubbish story before all the high-flyers move in...

I left school at 16 with 5 o'levels. I went to secretarial college for a year. I worked in various secretarial/admin roles until I started taking up projects that were kind-of above my pay-grade.

Having touch-typing skills has proved invaluable for every job I've ever done. My highest pay packet was 30k-ish and that was 16 years ago, before DD. Since then I've done part time.

I now work in a touchy-feely job I fucking love. It doesn't pay especially well, but it's in a school, so I get all the holidays. I've never been so satisfied from work, but I really struggle with big bills and things like Christmas.

Tailypo · 06/07/2017 17:12

Hi revolution and KeepServing - thanks for posting :)

Just bumping this for anyone else who'd like to post - would be really interesting to hear from lots of different posters.

OP posts:
WaitrosePigeon · 06/07/2017 17:19

Well I'm just starting out. I'm starting a degree in Law in Feb 2018. I think I want to work with offenders in prison. Rehabilitation, that sort of thing.

HeadDreamer · 06/07/2017 17:24

I just fall into mine really. I did a electrical and electronic engineering degree and was never good at the electronics or hardware stuff. I then did a PhD in artificial intelligence. And that leads to computer science. First a postdoc and then a software developer. I've always been able to code and what I'm much better at. If you asked me in my 20s, I'd not know what I'll be doing 20 years later.

fflonkl · 06/07/2017 17:28

Hello OP I have degrees in International Relations and Journalism. I now work in media but am strictly technical.

Got my 1st job as a proof-reader for a website, then wrote HTML pages for websites (think early Internet years), became a software engineer and am now a product manager (which means I create software products, both for use by consumers and businesses). I work with people across different disciplines - designers, software engineers, marketing etc.

In my current role I've been tasked with masterminding a change in the way we work which is a bit of a departure from my normal work but it's interesting and challenging.

Not a high flyer as such just been lucky!

Saiman · 06/07/2017 17:31

I left education after a levels.

I worled part time in a hotel so went full time. Became an events/wedding coordinator. The hours were a killer with a child (i got married at 20 and had dd at 21).

I left a took a job in a call centre for a huge uk company. Just because the hours and pay were better. No intention of working my way up. But did. Got several promotions. Them left after the birth of my second. Spent 4 years working with dh in our own business. As much as i love dh i ahted working with him. So got the business to the point that it makes decent money and has employees.

I contacted the company I worked for (the call centre) for a job. Expectes to get a lower job or similar to what i had. But after my old senior leadership team gave me recommendations i was interviewed for a much higher role. And the 4 years setting up a successful business helpes seal the deal.

I am now head of compliance and transformation. Meaning i make sure we are compliany with the regulatory body and oversee our process changes. I directly run 6 teams of people in these areas. They all have people who work under them, that i am responsible for.

I will be starting princes2 qualification. Next year.

yorkshapudding · 06/07/2017 17:40

After school I did a degree in a subject that was fun, creative but didn't make me very employable Grin Afterwards, I did various temp/low skilled jobs whilst also doing voluntary work with young offenders and kids with special needs. This led to paid employment in a support worker type role with vulnerable kids. I then trained to be a Mental Health Nurse (which meant doing another degree) and specialised in Child and Adolescent Mental Health nursing. I did that for a long time, got a couple of promotions, did some additional post grad training in a couple of different psychological therapies and ended up becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist specialising in suicide prevention. I left the NHS and lapsed my Nursing registration a year ago as working conditions became so poor, huge caseloads, not enough staff or resources, constant pressure to do more with less meant I had no work life balance whatsoever. I am now working as a school counselor (I do 2 days in one school and 3 in another, term time only) and I LOVE it. Most rewarding job I've ever had, very little admin, school hols off with my DC and I feel like I've gotten my life back!

Zaberwocky · 06/07/2017 17:57

I left sixth form for a gap year, I was supposed to be heading to Oxford to study Art, but fell into retail management. I ran several chocolate shops till I was 22, then moved into a head office role in L&D. Loved it. They funded my CIPD course too.

Then we relocated and I struggled to find anything HR or L&D related. I've only just gotten my career back on track recently. I'm now work in HR and finance in a care home.

Autumn0909 · 06/07/2017 18:05

After GSCEs, I stayed on at 6th form to get 4 A levels, went straight to uni to complete a three-year BA(Hons) in Primary Education, then straight into my NQT year. I've been teaching for seven years now. However, the lack of gap year or other career path has meant that teaching is the only thing I know, so I have nothing to compare it to (other than part-time jobs throughout my time in education, which seem such a doss, looking back).

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers · 06/07/2017 18:18

11 GCSEs at school, working as a pot washer in a hotel kitchen from age 14, then Saturdays and school holidays in a baker shop from age 15 then ad cafe waitress for summer on leaving school.
College - waitressing whilst doing 4 A Levels plus kitchen work in same cafe.

Post A-Level, opted for a year out, worked part time in a doctors surgery in the rural pharmacy as a dispenser plus occasional reception cover and 5 evenings in kitchen / waitressing / bar maid at local pub.

University, worked 30hr a week at Student Union in kitchen then moved to supervisor in the bar.

Post-grad, couldn't get a job in any career despite around 200 applications and 2 interviews (for both I was told I was over qualified!) so worked full time on Student Union reception for a few months plus bar work in another pub. Finally got a temping job on Naval Base as a Project Planning Assistant - PA to the project manager and lots of other things. Did that for 6 months and got my door supervisor licence (bouncer) and worked 3 nights a week at Student Union again.

6 months temping, got a permanent job as a typist for the police. Still on the doors at night.

Worked in typing for 3 months then was moved to management of Crown Court cases. There for a year then applied for job in 999 control room. Did this for 18 months, whilst still on the doors.

Finally joined the police, and quit the doors. Worked in various police roles including CID as a Detective, Major Crime (murders etc) and a stint on neighbourhood (where I learned I have limited tolerances for idiot neighbour disputes).

Left police after a decade, and moved to civil service where I specialise in health and safety, criminal investigations etc.

Hope that's useful to someone!

HeyMicky · 06/07/2017 18:25

I did my BEd (English and History) and taught for two years. Then I moved to the UK and did supply for six months.

A friend got me a job as a copywriter on a marketing team. From there I did online copywriting, then SEO and social as they were all connected, then more general digital strategy.

Now I do digital transformation in larger organisations.

So quite convoluted. And changing direction mind-20s put me behind some of my peers for a few years. But it's evened out now

LazyDailyMailJournos · 06/07/2017 18:46

Dropped out of Uni (MH problems). Worked in shops and pubs to get a steady employment record. Joined a big blue-chip firm as an apprentice on thruppence a week Grin

15 years later I'm a Head of in that industry. I run two teams, paid well - good bonus, private healthcare, company car, good pension. I like my job very much. All through having worked my way up.

afternoonnapper · 06/07/2017 19:04

9 great gcse's but failed 2 of my 3 a-levels so got into university via clearing.

Did a 2 year HND in Public Administration which appealed as it prepared you for working in the real world.

After university i relocated 300 miles and temped while looking for a full time job. First job was customer service based, spent a year before moving on to get more money. Customer service again but after two years, got a promotion to a new team and ended up dealing with all literature and the purchasing of advertising.
Left after 3 years to take a role in marketing, stayed 3.5 years, hated it due to the owner and the type of business.
Went back into customer service, promoted to manager after 2 years, did that for 4 years then offered a chance to move into the marketing team. Been in that team for 3 years and bloody love it. The rest of the team are great, I have just enough responsibility to feel valued but the buck doesn't rest with me!

lljkk · 06/07/2017 19:19

This is bit vague or it would be too identifying. Got technical degree in obscure subject. Moved somewhere temporary planning to work in shops. No jobs in shops but easy job in tech area. Life is weird.

Jennyhatesjazz0 · 06/07/2017 19:25

BA in Media and Marketing but without a years placement so struggled to get a job.

Sold advertising space for a local paper for a year. Then someone took a chance on me and gave me a job as a marketing assistant.

Many roles and companies later, I'm now Head of Comms & Marketing for a charity.

PlausibleSuit · 06/07/2017 19:33

I got decent school results at GCSE and A-level, went to university to do an arts subject. After a bit of a gap period, my first job was selling cars. I temped; mainly physical stuff as I like being outdoors. I was a binman for a while! Quite enjoyed it actually. Then I TEFLd briefly, before landing a job as a copywriter for an advertising agency.

I spent a decade in big London agencies, reached senior copywriter and then head of copy before I decided I couldn't deal with office politics or long hours. Or all that sitting down in air-conditioned rooms. Also, the more senior I got, the less time I spent writing. I spent hours each day in treacly meetings. I realised I wasn't cut out to work for someone else and decided to change career.

I now work for myself, and earn money in several different ways.

Firstly, I still write a little. I sit in cafes with my headphones in, ghostwriting thought-leadership pieces for senior business types. Second, I'm a personal trainer. I don't work for a gym; I operate online and through social media. Finally, I invest small amounts of money - not much at all, think crowdfunding - in promising micro-businesses.

I don't have an office, or a boss, or anything approaching career development, but I'm happy and interested in my work.

Sushi123 · 06/07/2017 19:55

I worked in a series of jobs from leaving school until I was 36...I wouldn't call any of them 'a career'. Decided to do a one year course in college that would get me in to uni to do nursing, I'm now in my third year of my nursing course...nearly's been 4 years as a student in total, but well worth it even though it's been tough financially

caffeinequick · 06/07/2017 19:57

Hello! I did a computer science degree and started out in technical support, then technical training, a bit of management before finally getting in to product management. Now a sahm and god knows what I'll do next!

LazyDailyMailJournos · 06/07/2017 22:09

Forgot to add - at age 21/22 when all my peers were graduating and going into graduate jobs, I was being paid almost half of what they were. Over the course of my career the gap gradually closed, until a couple of years ago when my earnings started to take off and I'm now paid a lot more than many of them. A degree - or retraining and starting again at Uni later on in life - is not the be-all and end-all as it may take you longer to work your way up but it's still do-able.

HundredMilesAnHour · 06/07/2017 22:28

I got 9 O levels, 4 A levels and went straight to uni to do a 4 year degree in Economics and French. Worked part time (and full time in the holidays) as a waitress/bar staff/admin assistant.

From uni I went straight to a graduate training scheme at one of the Big Four for chartered accountancy. Hated it and left after 2 years. No idea what to do so ended up in financial recruitment and within a few months placed myself (!) in Internal Audit for a large European bank.

Loved investment banking and eventually moved into project roles, initially as a Business Analyst and then a Project Manager. Moved banks quite a few times, did some work overseas (New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, Singapore) and eventually ended up working for a big global name in consultancy back in London, working as a Programme Manager for clients and managing a team of Programme Managers and Project Managers for the consultancy. Very well paid but long hours (at my last client, I did 12-14 hour days then had another 3-4 hours of consultancy work to do afterwards!). So stressed that my hair started falling out. So I resigned a few months ago, had a break and now I start a new job next week as a Programme Manager for a big name firm specialising in the commodity markets. Bit of a salary cut but still decent money (my hourly rate will actually improve as I won't be doing such excessive hours). Quite excited but also a bit nervous.

Tailypo · 06/07/2017 23:58

Thanks so much, everyone :) just bumping in case anyone would like to add anything! It's been so interesting to read everyone's different career paths so far.

OP posts:
HappyWombat · 07/07/2017 00:39

I got my A levels and went to uni to do a Biology degree. However, when I left uni I couldn't find a job, so I went to work for a well known high street Opticians as a dispensing assistant, something which was supposed to be temporary whilst I looked for something more related to my degree. A couple of years after I'd started working there (I enjoyed the work), I decided to go back to uni to do optometry, and got my optometry degree and MCOptom (my professional qualification), and worked as an optometrist for a few years. When DD2 was one, we moved to Australia for DH's job and since I'd have had to resit my professional exams in order to work, we decided that I'd take a career break.

I ran my own small business from home for about four or five years, but wound things up a couple of years ago for health reasons. We're just about to move back to the UK, and I've spent the last six months or so teaching myself how to build websites/code/graphic design, and hope to set myself up doing something along those lines once we get back. I must admit that I've really enjoyed learning something new. I've always been a bit of a loner and a total computer geek, if the truth be told, so I'm hoping that my change in career direction is going to suit me down to the ground.

HipsterHunter · 07/07/2017 00:40

Strong academics at school.
1st class BSc
Training contract with big 4 to do ACA
Moved into corporate finance > stuck there ever since

Tailypo · 07/07/2017 06:28

Thanks everyone for keeping this going! Just bumping this for anyone who'd still like to contribute :)

OP posts:
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