“How Do I Turn My Ideas Into A Clear Career?”

Kevin's ready for a change. He knows what skills he wants to use and the sectors he'd like to apply them in, but he hasn't yet had a light-bulb moment about exactly what he'd love to do. How do you pinpoint your new direction when you've only got rough ideas?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a broadcast journalist and producer.

I get to decide what our top stories are and how we cover them. I also build the running orders for broadcast items, which involves a lot of writing.

I've been doing that for 20 years.

How do you feel about your work?

I like the buzz of working on a big story and the camaraderie that comes from working as part of a team.

But it's become very samey – I've been doing it for too long.

I'm seeing people younger than me being pushed forward, whereas when I've applied for promotions I've been turned down, which is a bit of a kick in the teeth.

I think I'm good at my job – my colleagues tell me I am – but it strikes me that I'm seen as a safe pair of hands, and not much more.

I'm beginning to think it's the end of the road for me now though, which I'm OK about.

People say you shouldn't have regrets but I do. I regret being seduced by the stability that a big organisation offers, which has stopped me from looking outwards.

I've got young children so all that boring stuff – job security, a pension – that makes you feel safe has been important to me throughout my career to date.

I take my responsibility as a joint provider for my family very seriously.

My wife and I have spoken about it and we know we're in a position where we could take a bit of a hit financially if that's what it takes for me to find something that's right for me.

I'm just apprehensive about where I go next.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I enjoy writing – that's the one aspect of the job that I still find quite rewarding.

My talent as a writer is acknowledged by my colleagues.

I write short form pieces for television bulletins. That's a skill I know I could take elsewhere: conveying information in a punchy way.

I'd like to do something that would help people live better lives.

I'm quite interested in the charity sector because I feel I'd get some satisfaction and fulfilment from contributing to an organisation whose focus is to improve the lives of others.

I have a friend who runs a charity and I do some voluntary work for her occasionally.

I've seen that it takes dedication and hard work to stay afloat in a sector where the quest for funding is an ongoing battle. That's very different to my experience in the corporate world where money is rarely an issue.

The vital difference is the reward you get from making a difference that is more valuable than money.

Working with social enterprises appeals for similar reasons and because I see it as an ethical way of doing business.

I definitely don't want to work in a similar environment to the one I'm in now, where it's all about shift work.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I'm floundering a bit because I haven't got a specific idea of what I want to move into.

I've spoken to people who work in PR, which helped me to rule that out because it's so corporate, and I don't want to work in the corporate sector anymore.

I'm fairly certain my next step lies in the charitable or social enterprise sectors, but I've just not had that light-bulb moment where I've thought, “Yes, that's what I want to do!”.

I feel like I need someone to assess my skills and help me identify what job I'd be suited to.

Right now, I'm really frustrated by the lack of clarity and feeling trapped in a job that makes me very unhappy.

I know I'm passionate about writing. I know I'm capable of articulating a message and shaping narratives, but it's harder to do it when it's about me and I don't want to undersell myself.

If I knew where and how to focus, I think I'd find it far easier to shape my applications, CV and personal statement, and I'd feel a lot more confident talking to people.

How do I get really clear on a fulfilling role where I could help others using my skills?

Can you help Kevin?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Kevin could move his shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone he could talk to?

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