Get some perspective
Quest’s regular ‘civvy’ contributor Ryan Mansfield reports from the resettlement frontline on another issue likely to be of concern to our readers: how to form a clear strategy for your next career move. It’s a task, says Ryan, that will involve you coming up with some straight-talking answers to some straightforward questions: What do you want to get out of your new job? What motivates you? What really inspires you? It’s time to be honest with yourself …
It really annoys me when I hear the older generation say 'Back in my day, you could just walk into any job you wanted.' Well nowadays, in a world where money is tight and competition is fierce, committing to any job can really feel like a big step.
It's never easy trying to decide which new job to go for. Even in one role or specialism there can be lots of varied options. In your case, you have a blank canvas and can go in any direction you wish. But be aware that this can be a double-edged sword provoking indecision and stopping you from reaching any conclusions.
Let's face it, your job says a lot about you, and to a degree we all judge people in some way for the job they do. After all, itís very rare that on introduction to someone new, being asked your name isnít immediately followed by 'So what do you do?'
Right now may feel a frustrating and difficult period in time. You have finished one chapter in the story of your life and you have no clue what is coming up next. Feels a bit like being at a wedding when you hardly know anyone, so you just eat all the food and wander around aimlessly looking for a purpose. But it only need feel that way if you let it. If anything, itís like being 16 again, only this time you think with your brain and not your genitals. Personally, I'd like to think of you seeing this as a positive situation where you can re-evaluate yourself, analyse what you have to offer someone and plan your next career move with a clear head.
The average number of working hours for full-time employees in the UK has risen to 43.6 hours a week. Thatís a long time to spend doing something youíre not passionate about. So it's time to gain a little perspective:
- What do you really want to get out of your new job?
- What are you motivated by?
- Is it money that inspires you, so you can live in a big house and drive nice cars, or do you go for the job that makes you feel good and the pay is enough for you to get by?
- What would you do if every job in the world was voluntary work?
...Ask yourself these questions over and over again and try to determine what it is you really need from the occupations you're currently considering, taking your time to get it right. Jobs are not easy to get into and a drag to get out of, so taking an extra month to get exactly what you want is invaluable advice.
Whenever I have a dilemma in life I ask my old man for advice. He nearly always seems to reply with one of two comebacks, no matter what the topic: 'More haste, less speed' is a favourite of his, or 'Prevention is better than cure.' You hear these sayings thrown around regularly, but they both certainly apply to the situation you find yourself in now. Always maintain a level head - and remember 'Good things come to those who wait.' Thatís the Guinness slogan, so it must be true!
Unfortunately, however, there are external factors that will affect the speed and pickiness with which you make your decision. As much as I love some of those inspirational videos about work, travel (and anything else for that matter that leads to a mid-life crisis once we realise weíve been doing it wrong all this time), they do not cater for the fact that at some point real life has to take over. Mortgages, rent, family, living costs and how much you tucked away before you packed up and headed for civilian life will all have a huge say. Assess your situation, and play with the hand youíve been dealt.
When searching for jobs on the internet, I hate the icon that allows you to search for pay brackets. They should get rid of it. They should have a 'fun' gauge or a 'banter' scale, to help people decide whether theyíll enjoy that thing they have to do for five days out of seven. Iíd rather earn £25,000 a year in a job I love and believe in, than £50,000 a year and be one of these plonkers who always has their eyes glued to their phone checking emails or answering calls on that hideous Bluetooth eyesore stuck in their ear, and all to make bundles of money for someone who probably wouldnít even know who you were if you passed them on the street.
If you have any doubts about a job you think you like the sound of, speak to people in similar roles. No matter what it is, chances are you probably know someone who does that job or something similar. See what they say, and donít be afraid to take a risk or gamble if you think it will pay off. One of my favourite ëfamous personí quotes is Richard Bransonís 'If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later' - a billionaireís way of saying 'just blag it for a while'. Do however take into account the negatives that may lurk in certain jobs. People don't like to moan about their jobs out loud too much in case you think less of them and what they do. For example, donít be a teacher if you have no patience, don't be a builder if you hate the cold, and don't be a salesperson if you have a conscience.
If you find yourself in demand for more than one job, remember you can apply for dozens and youíre perfectly within your rights to turn one down despite your original application.
Be prepared to work the odd extra hour here and there, as working hours are on the rise, never lose sight of why you are looking for a job and take the time to pick the right path. Don't just be clever enough to do your job, be clever enough to ask yourself why you do it.
Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Case Studies See all
I realised that the skills and knowledge I’d gained throughout my adult life were much greater than I’d given myself credit forRead more »
Having enlisted in 1985, former Royal Navy WO1 James Pope, 48, left the Armed Forces in October 2016 because of ‘life aspirations’. He says that, ‘After 32 years and several high-profile jobs...Read more »