My stiff shirt collar is chaffing against my neck as I rush to work (I’m late) and through the Victorian Shop Arcade that leads to our offices. Now I am at the end of the arcade, up a few steps, turn immediately right and, as I push through the door, I am greeted by my team. I am the Chief Clerk of a firm of solicitors. This is the field of work I was obviously never meant to enter, as this is part of a recurring dream I have had for many years.
Why a Chief Clerk in a firm of Solicitors? Arriving in Colchester, I still had 7 years to do in the Army (my first career) and I started to imagine that this would be the kind of work I would be doing when I retired from my army career. I thought this would be my future and I started looking into this line of work, but it was work I was not destined to do. I am sure it would have been a good job, but it was not going to get me out of bed each morning eager for work, and it certainly was not going to be another career. It was only in the last year of my military service that I made up my mind up to support people with learning disabilities.
I had fulfilled my boyhood dream of joining the Army and lived that dream for 24 years, could I have another career that would last the same amount of time and perhaps even longer? I needed to find out.
Life is short and as my wife, Joyce, often reminds me, you are a long time at work, so it is important that you are happy doing what you do. So before it is too late for you to do the work you were always meant to do, here is what to do (if you are not already doing it):
5 Questions to ask yourself
- What is it that you are passionate about?
- Do you want your work to make a difference?
- What will it take to make you feel fulfilled?
- What skills, experiences, knowledge, gifts and capabilities do you have?
- Do you want a job or a career? Both are good but it is important for your expectations that you know so that what you decide is what you really want to do.
5 steps to take
- Volunteer to do voluntary work in your chosen field. It will give you a taster, help you to make a firm decision, and show commitment to those you may work with in the future
- Do your research about the work so you don’t go in cold. This will help you to see what you are letting yourself in for and, again, shows commitment.
- Talk to people who have done something similar to what you are considering – what are the highs and the lows – so there are no surprises.
- Find out what training and qualifications you will need to help you reach your goal. By doing what you can now, it will save time in the future and also will look good on your CV.
- Find the right organisations that meet your values and aspirations. The work might be what you are looking for, but the organisation might not be the right fit for you.
1 Take Away
For my older readers, it is never too late to do the work you were always meant to do. A few years ago I came across an article from one of my boyhood football heroes (David Craig) a full back for Newcastle Utd during the late 1960s and 1970s. David had been a businessman too and he had become involved in supporting people with learning disabilities in his sixties as a support worker. He described how fulfilling it was and wished he had done it earlier
I hope these tips cover any field you might consider your dream job, but if you are looking to do what I have loved doing for the last 20 years, send me a message and I will point you in the right direction, or, alternatively, you could have a look at my organisation’s website www.thera.co.uk