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The career advice I wish I had at 25

(29 Posts)
Gracesgran Wed 04-May-16 09:01:05

My wonderful DIL has just posted this on Facebook and it made me wonder what advice I would have given my 25 year old self. Still thinking ... ... ...

Teetime Wed 04-May-16 09:10:40

He does sound like a wise man doesn't he.

What advice would I have given myself when I look around me - don't try and please your Mother! You'll never do it.

ninathenana Wed 04-May-16 09:29:58

Very interesting and have shared with D who is in the process of a major career change.
I knew nothing about vets and vet nurses when at school. Instead of doing the secretarial course mum wanted I would have loved to get my vet nurse qualification. I did work as a vet nurse for 10 yrs but only as an auxiliary

mollie Wed 04-May-16 09:51:19

25 would have been too late for me so could I go back to my 15 year old self and shout out 'don't do it, wait!!!!'? Life at home was awful and I was being bullied into leaving school and getting a job, any job, to help out financially. There was no thought or consideration of me and my future. By 25 I was a divorced mother of two children under six struggling to make ends meet in low-pay jobs. Like a lot of girls I thought marriage and children were the answer to my if someone had told me otherwise, shown me other options, I'd've been eternally grateful.

gillybob Wed 04-May-16 10:22:07

Sadly 25 would have been way too late for me Gracesgran. I always wanted to do some kind of social work and think maybe I would have been quite good at it. However, through no-ones fault but my own naivety, I became pregnant at 18. Married the loser (a marriage that only lasted a few months) and instead worked full time in a boring office job. I had little choice as a single parent with a baby son. I have never been in the financial position that would enabled me to return to studies so that was my dream out of the window.

FionaElsaDent Wed 04-May-16 10:35:18

This is a question we asked when researching for our latest book - "How To Thrive and Survive As A Working Woman: The Coach Yourself Toolkit" - the answers were wide and varied - mine was - "Just go for it, follow your dream" and here's some from others - Stop making excuses and try it; Go for the dream, go for the career you really want; Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. From our research it seems many women over listen to others - parents, other family members, teachers, etc... and ignore their own dreams and ideas. It is often only later in life that they realise they should and could do more of what they want.

kazzer Wed 04-May-16 10:39:33

Always wanted to teach young ones, no maths gce, missed out, but was librarian in a prep school, great!

Gracesgran Wed 04-May-16 11:27:27

I can see for some of us that by 25 we felt we had burn out boats - probably because we had our families earlier then. Twenty-five is a good age to look back at though - thinking where you could have gone from there.

Gagagran Wed 04-May-16 11:51:28

I had been working full time for 10 years when I was 25 and married for 4 years so my path was pretty much set. Like some others on here there just wasn't the option to do much else.

My parents got me my first job with our family solicitor. They just announced that I was starting there on the Monday after I left school. I wasn't quite 16. I didn't even have an interview. After one year of I got myself a better paid job at the local electricity board and after another year, joined the Inland Revenue, where I worked until retirement.

Many of us just did not have the opportunities that youngsters today have but played the cards life dealt to us the best way we could. I have had a long and happy marriage and had a successful career so have been fortunate but it never felt like a lot of choices.

granjura Wed 04-May-16 13:57:54

Circumstances taught me (travel abroad, car accident, young children when very young with DH working very long hours, etc) - that your life is your own and you have to do what you want to do, even if it is very hard and complicated. If you don't like your lot- get up and change it- that is possible for 95% approx of people.

If your parents didn't let you study- go and study. If they pushed you in the wrong job- change it... Sounds easy? NO IT IS NOT- but it's an awful lot better than stay stuck where you don't want to be.

granjura Wed 04-May-16 13:59:13

Nobody, but nobody has the right to set your path for you- and if the path is wrong- take another...

Willow500 Wed 04-May-16 14:20:15

Wow wise words. Like others there didn't seem to be much choice when I was 25 - I'd been married 8 years and had 2 sons. That would have been the year we left our hometown and moved 60 miles away. I think the best advise I would have given myself back then would have been

Make friends and keep them - loneliness only gets worse when you're older!

Don't sweat the small or the big stuff - at the end of the day life goes on and it becomes history.

Looking back is never helpful - I don't really have any regrets about things I've done in life (so far) - it hasn't been easy at times and perhaps we could have done some things differently but it's the path we've travelled which has brought us to where we are now - I'm a firm believer in 'meant to be'.

Gagagran Wed 04-May-16 14:39:24

Well your life is not really your own when you are made to leave school at barely 16 and are pushed into a job not of your choosing. You are dependent on your parents for a roof over your head and food in your belly Granjura. There isn't any choice then, believe me. It just isn't possible to "get up and change it".

I left home at 19 as soon as I could support myself and had to work to do that and then to support myself and DH as a young married couple. We saved like mad and bought our first cottage just before we got married but didn't live in it until after marriage.

It's not as simple as you suggest. Or it wasn't for me.

inishowen Wed 04-May-16 15:59:44

I always wanted to be a nurse. By the time I was 27 I had two children and thought I was too old to train for nursing. What a silly mistake. I wish someone would have advised me that it wasn't too late.

nipsmum Wed 04-May-16 16:17:17

I left school at 15. My first job was as an office junior in a prestigious large store on Glasgow. I then went to work in a bonus office in a local factory. I knew then I would die if I had to work in an office for the rest of my life. When I was 17 1\2 I started
nurse training and from my very first day in a ward I knew I could do it forever. I eventually retired 46 years later having enjoyed all the years I nursed. I still like people a lot. They don't even have to be I'll.

BRedhead59 Wed 04-May-16 16:37:11

I agree with much of that but would add:-
A career is a marathon not a sprint but if you enjoy it - it feels like a sprint
Embrace change until it's for it's own sake
Let your children see you enjoy your work, making a difference, and teach them work ethic.
Learn together with your team
Listen but lead from the front
Challenge horrid bastards
When your staff are down build them back up

granjura Wed 04-May-16 17:08:18

Gagagran and willow- I can assure you I wasn't being 'flippant' and thought I'd made it clear I didn't think it is easy, then or now. As a kid, you didn't have any choice- but at some point in life, almost everyone can say 'enough I want to make my own choices now'. I went to uni aged 29, with 2 young children and a husband working every hour in the day, night or week-end- so it was NOT easy. And yes, i had his full s¨moral support, which truly helped.

My dad lost his dad in an accident aged 12- and his mother told him one week-end that he was leaving school and beginning an apprenticeship as a taylor on Monday, aged 14. He cried for days and more, and had absolutely no choice. But aged 40 he retrained as a watch maker - lots of belt pulling and sacrifices, but he did it.

I've worked with people who complained day in and day out about their job- but when told to leave and seek another job- always made excuses- and just kept moaning everyday to retirement. To my mind, life's too short. We had a friend who trained as a dentist, and then decided to become a doctor- when he had 2 small children. Sold the house and downsized- his wife supported him with her nurse's salary. Unless one is severely handicapped or supporting someone who is- there is almost always a way, at some point, as an adult.

granjura Wed 04-May-16 17:13:15

BTW, the other mature students at Uni at the same time as me divorced as their husbands couldn't cope with the changes- remember 'Educating Rita'? They still say it was worth it, and that it helped them get away from negative, dominant men and start a new life. I must admit I am so happy DH was so supportive and proud- and agreed to make the necessary changes and sacrifices- which is why we are still together. Had he not been supportive of me wanting to go back to studying and then have my own career- I don't think we would have survived as a couple as we have- on par, as true partners.

annodomini Wed 04-May-16 18:29:40

Teaching mature students was the best job I ever had. Students were keen to succeed and worked their socks off. Few people had to be nagged to hand in assignments in time and many of my Access students enjoyed a successful career at university and subsequently. I used to get them to read Willy Russell's introduction to 'Educating Rita' which meant a great deal to them. Russell started as a ladies' hairdresser and eventually became, himself, a mature student. There's a lot of Willy Russell in Rita!

sallyswin Wed 04-May-16 22:33:57

I had strict parents and was told I was going to secretarial college. There was no choice. I remember my mother saying 'Won't it be fun'. She had never worked outside her father's business. I hated it - my shorthand was lousy and should have done something more creative, but there was no option. Father's word was law in our house and I found life easier without the conflict. (I had won the art prize at school but my father said it wasn't a proper prize as it wasn't considered an academic subject, which really sums it all up). When I married the rotton shorthand and typing proved to be useful as I could temp. and finally part time around the children. I did an OU sociology degree in my 50s and now I am retired my main hobby is textiles - the route I should have gone down 40 years earlier. By the way, I never worked anywhere that offered any pension.

Lynnabelle Thu 05-May-16 21:52:53

At 15 I left school with 6 GCSE s and started work as a filing clerk at the gas board. I was expected to work and gave all my wages (£8 per week ) to my mother . She gave me 10 shillings back to spend and saved 10 shillings for me for clothes. I hated it there and when a job came up in the local hospital as an ECG technician my mother allowed me to apply for it even though it was only £5 per week. I had no idea what the job entailed but knew I wanted to work in a hospital. I was so lucky to find my niche and spent the rest of my working life as a cardiac technician. I took every training opportunity that came my way , took night school courses etc and took on more responsibilities when required. The cardiologist I worked for once said that I could have been a doctor which my mother used to boast about to her friends. It used to make me laugh that she would say that when she was the one who wouldn't let me stay on at school.

Lilyflower Fri 06-May-16 09:07:02

I had next to no choice about what I was going to do in life when I was younger. My parents had dragged me round 14 different schools and two messy attempts at separation and divorce. Nevertheless, I was quite bright and did well at the schools I attended (won prizes etc.) , and, having comparatively few friends, read voraciously. I was determined to escape the chaos and, liking teachers immensely, determined to get a degree and become one.

This I did and I think the advice I'd give my younger self would be, 'Relax a bit, it's all going to work out.'

Teaching in the state sector, however, is now a busted flush for various reasons, and I have done everything in my power to give my two children a first class education in order that they could have the choices I did not have. I was hoping for a doctor and a lawyer but it was not to be. If you give others their choice they do what they want, not what you want. One is in a top PR job in the city and the other is a manager in a small charity. I am delighted with what they opted for and proud of them both.

I think a bit of adversity is the grit in the pearl and I am grateful for my blessings. This truly is a country of opportunity that I could be born with so few chances and yet find a society an education system which allowed me to aspire and succeed. I find it astonishing that so many complain about the country and wonder if they ever compare the life here with what is offered to others in further off parts.

gettingonabit Fri 06-May-16 11:34:14

25 sounds quite mature to me! Many of us (not me) would have been in jobs for 10 years by then.

I trained failed as a teacher (or fell into it, as most seemed to do) after University and by 25 had had enough.

I've always had interesting, varied work, but really wanted to be a lawyer still do.

I'm kind of teaching piano now, but it's still only a hobby really.

I wish someone had told me I could have been a lawyer as I think I could have been good at it. sad.

annodomini Fri 06-May-16 12:15:31

At 25 I had just arrived in East Africa to do a job I loved - teaching English to very bright girls from all over Kenya. No advice then would have changed my career path. At 17, it was taken for granted that as I was 'good at English', I'd take that as a degree. After I'd left school, I went back for a visit and spoke to my French teacher who was horrified that I hadn't taken French. Well, he ought to have given me advice about that while I was still at school.

Stansgran Fri 06-May-16 12:28:26

I think there are far more skills available now. Things I've never heard of. I've just watched a niece a very bright girl get married at 24 . Her mother's family have always told her that education is useless and she should have a job. Money is the
God but they don't seem to have made much. I feel very sad for her. She's a beautiful girl as well but she's IMO been trapped into this mindset.