“I Feel Like A Jack of All Trades, Master Of None. How Do I Make Progress On My Shift?”

Alex's career has taken him all over the world. But while his lifestyle appears impossibly glamorous, he feels isolated and financially unstable. How do you make the leap into secure employment, with an unusual career history and no idea where you want to go next?

What's your career history and current job?

These days, I work mostly as a freelance producer.

I'd always wanted to work in the music industry, so I studied for a degree in sound design. At the time, I also recorded and released some of my own music on the side.

The tracks I released ended up taking off in a big way, and I found myself actually doing the dream career I was studying for!

So, I decided to leave university two years in, to concentrate on developing a career in music.

How do you feel about your work?

I've spent years writing, recording and producing music, and working with some fantastic artists along the way.

I've also travelled the world as a DJ, which I really enjoyed.

I feel I've achieved everything I wanted from my music career, and now it's time for something new.

I've had the time of my life, and I wouldn't trade any of it. But there's always lots of pressure, and my workload is relentless.

Over time, technology and marketing have taken over the music industry. I'm responsible for everything in my business, and I typically work seven days a week just to ensure I keep on top of everything. I hardly see my friends and family, and I do a lot of work from my own home studio.

I've had enough of working alone. I often feel completely cut off from other people.

I've also encountered a few slow periods recently, when I haven't had as much new work coming in. That feels scary, as I'm never sure how much I'm going to be earning from month to month.

What would you like to be doing instead?

While it seems most people who dream about changing their career want to go from a traditional 9–5 into self-employment, I'm the opposite.

I'd love to find something more secure, with stable hours, reliable pay and an inspiring team I can collaborate with. Ideally, I'd like to do something that involves working with people.

I've thought about going into teaching, but since I didn't complete my degree I don't know how I would move into that kind of work.

I've even explored the possibility of becoming a chef, but I ruled it out after one of my contacts arranged for me to spend some time shadowing in a high-end restaurant. While it was a great experience, the long hours and the rushed atmosphere put me off!

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

While I know I'm looking for more security, I don't know what specific career path I want to take next.

Being self-employed means I've learned a lot of transferable business skills, which I see as an advantage. But I don't know what kind of jobs to target, so I don't know which skills are the most valuable.

I've also learned so much and achieved a lot during my career, and I don't want to skim over any of it in case it turns out to be important to potential employers.

Unfortunately, the result is that my CV is long, messy and unfocused – I've lost count of the number of drafts I've created! It reads as though I'm making a shot into the dark, and I feel as though anyone looking at my career history would view me as a 'jack of all trades, master of none'.

I've tried reaching out to my contacts to help me find new career opportunities, but because I don't know what I want to do, it hasn't led me anywhere.

Now I feel like I'm at a complete dead end.

I've always loved a challenge, but this one seems impossible. With such an unusual career history, no degree, and no idea what I want to do next, how can I make a move into secure employment?

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

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