Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but what do people wish they had known in their young adult years?
We sat down with one of our Career Coaches, David, and spoke about learning from the past, regretting some decisions and being proud of how far you’ve come. The result? A refreshingly honest account with some top advice worth bearing in mind, whatever your age.
Did you pursue further or higher education?
I started a degree in Genetics, because I have always loved science, but I quickly learned that the academic environment wasn’t for me as it didn’t suit my learning style. I loved the freedom and independence that University gave me, but I really wanted to start working and have more freedom in terms of instantly building my career. As a result, I actively sought a business administration apprenticeship and started working with NPT council at the age of 19. This was my first taste of ‘real’ work in a supporting role, and this is where I first began to feel a sense of satisfaction, pride and purpose – feelings I definitely hadn’t experienced before!
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
I wish I could have realised that working with and helping people was the career path I wanted to pursue. I never really allowed myself to consider that this was possible as I just thought I had to stick to what was being advertised to me e.g. low-paid, low-level jobs. These were great when I was young to keep some money coming in, but ultimately I wanted to do more and I knew I could.
Are there any career decisions that you regret?
Definitely! Some of my worst decisions have been staying in jobs that made me unhappy. I have held various positions that have made me feel frustrated and dissatisfied; I often felt trapped in these roles, always searching for a way out, and this has made me more determined to find a job that I enjoy. It is so easy to feel pressure to just get any job that people often lose sight of the potential demands of the position. There is a world of opportunity out there, and you don’t need to sacrifice your happiness for your work. You can have it all, and thanks to this learning process, I do: I feel valued, happy and encouraged by the supportive team I am part of. If you’re not there yet, keep going, it will happen.
Top tip when applying for jobs?
I have always admired people who step outside their comfort zone by applying for jobs beyond their experiences and skill set. I don’t mean jobs that they have absolutely no hope in getting, but ambitious jobs that really push people beyond their capabilities. I never used to have the self-belief to do this, and this is something I am still working on. So my top tip would be to truly believe in yourself and your abilities. Don’t be afraid to try, and let any mistakes you make be a new opportunity to try again and do better.
What is your ultimate piece of advice?
Be confident and believe in yourself. If you want something badly enough you have to do everything it takes to get it. Finding your perfect job can and will happen – I’m living proof of that! Don’t be complacent: as they say…… great things never come from comfort zones!
David is one of our Career Coaches based at our Swansea Kingsway site. Our coaches offer one to one tailored support, and help people with all of their employability and career needs. Get in touch to see what we can do for you: 01792 284450.