(even if [especially if] no one is doing exactly the job you think you might want to do)
Pathways gives you access to the career stories of many individuals doing many different types of work. Some may not been doing exactly the sort of job you imagine yourself doing, or that you might even find remotely interesting. Their stories are still valuable to you. During your academic research, you don’t just talk to and learn from people doing exactly what you are doing – the conversations would have limited potential for you to develop (and depending on your project, might entail you talking to yourself in front of a mirror). A researcher gleans advice, ideas and techniques from people with all sorts of skills and experience.
I’ll stick my neck out here and suggest that you, Reader, don’t necessarily want to be a social researcher for the Department of Work and Pensions (although, if you do, this is definitely the case study for you). I’d like to demonstrate that Anna Bee’s story, moving from academic to social researcher, is a rich source of career information, advice and inspiration. I’ve downloaded Anna’s story from the Vitae website and annotated it with comments and questions of the sorts you could use to make sure you learn the most from listening to people’s career stories. Rather than lessons about a particular career, this is an opportunity to learn how to manage and develop a career, acquire new perspectives on thinking about careers, new strategies for decision-making and job-hunting.
Here’s Anna’s career story with questions and comments .
Even if, as with Anna, we can’t actually ask the questions of our story teller, this should prompt us to ask some of these questions of ourselves, as well as using them with other people we meet in the process of developing our career pathways.
Keep in mind that these are my thoughts and questions about Anna’s experience on a Tuesday morning in May. Depending on what happens between now and next Tuesday – it’s likely I’d read Anna’s tale from a whole new point of view and take different lessons from what she has to say. Reading Anna’s story may prompt you to have different thoughts and questions – and that’s a good thing!
Don’t forget to register for Pathways.
Other Pathways related blog posts:
Pathways – Career Options for Researchers (about the event)
Pathways – preparing for life after your PhD (how to network at the event)
(This article was first published in 2015)