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Why does it have to be work or study – why can’t it be both?

Most people will have a number of careers over the course of their working life. I don't know of anyone who started out on day 1 of their working life and stayed doing that same job in the same company until they retired. It's unheard of because it doesn't happen. No-one in their right mind would want to do the same job every day until they retired - they would die of boredom. 

The problems I see are this:

  1. There is so much choice - the range of jobs and careers is amazing. I'm sure there wasn't that many careers open to me when I was about to finish study and move into the workforce. Or maybe there was and we just didn't hear about them. You have to bear in mind - I started out BC - before computers and before online job boards and the Internet...scary how fast this has encroached into our lives. However, there is a second problem and that is:
  2. Most of us don't know what we want to do, we don't have any burning desire to work in a particular field or profession so we drift. We may "think" we want to work in a particular field - we study, we qualify, we land that all important first job in the profession and we hate it, it is nothing like we expected it to be. A friend's son did that - and quickly started re-training. As it turns out - he combined his two degrees and now works (structural engineer and IT) as an architect. It was a pain he thought he had finished being the "poor" student, he'd had some first real money and wanted to move out of his parents place into his own - the drastic career change and additional study meant he had to postpone those plans for several years.

But what if you don't have a safety net of being able to live at home, don't have massive bills to pay and can re-train? Does that mean you can't? Does it mean you are forever stuck doing a job you hate? 

Of course not, but it's just going to take a little while longer - distance courses, evening classes - it is possible if you want to do it. My son is currently doing that. He has bills he needs to pay so he needs to work somewhere. But after he finished his initial training there were no jobs going in the industry he had trained for – the market for his skills just wasn’t there. So he decided at the age of 22 to go back to Uni. He’s now adding to his base skills within a related field – and he’s landed some work experience with a building company as well.

Look at it this way - If you are not sure about where you want to work - one of the questions to ask yourself is this - do you want to do "that" for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? 

Get some kind of work experience in the profession you think you want to be part of. "See" what it's like to work in an office environment, or experience the life of a labourer, believe me it comes as a handy research exercise. And in the mean time start looking at the online job boards, download some job application packages and find out what experience and qualifications they want in an ideal candidate. Can you answer their selection criteria based on what skills, knowledge and qualifications you have now?  

Remember this one final thing. If you don’t like what you are doing, you are unlikely to do it as well as someone who does enjoy what they do. So make the effort to find something you are passionate about. Change your direction before someone makes you. It’s much easier to leave on your terms.