Posted by: Natalie | January 6, 2011

Careering into Control

I tried to make some sense of my life today. I had devised a plan which would make me more efficient and therefore effective at work and allow me one day a week to write away to my heart’s content. I knew it was a long shot and was proved right when my boss declined my proposal – understandably. This wasn’t really much of a surprise but I fully expected to be deflated and disheartened to the point of tears. But this was a surprise. I really wasn’t.

I pondered a little longer on the drive between jobs, and in the short three mile journey I resolved something. Yes, my future career is something in which I can write full time, but why do I have to while away the in-between years doing a job, quite frankly I have grown to dislike intensely? See, something from yesterday’s post has certainly lodged itself deep. So maybe I am not about to go out and set the world alight with an innovative business proposal but there is absolutely nothing stopping my searching for something I want to do alongside the writing.

Ideally I would like to do something creative. I am fully aware that a change in career means taking pay cuts and beginning once more on the bottom rung, but that doesn’t scare me. I am also not hugely daunted by the prospect of having no clue what it is I actually want to do. Its exciting really; I’ve never been in this situation before. The vast majority of people coast through their lives unknowing of what they’ll do when they eventually grow up. My career progression started being very grown up from being four – it was all I wanted. Other than the long game to write books, I have never contemplated doing anything else, my path was already set and carved out before I left primary school – entirely my own doing of course.

So tomorrow afternoon, along with spending birthday vouchers on some long awaited new jeans that actually fit (I lost two stone in 2010 don’t you know!) I think I will pay a visit to the local careers service. I have no idea what may come of chatting to someone there but it would be nice to hear some potential options I could work towards, some ideas for potential paths I could follow along side writing my books. I am not just going to take up any old office or temp job just to leave teaching, no, I want to have purpose again. This current job will suffice for the next 6 or so months, supply could tide me over beyond that, but I feel a shining light might be on the horizon. Any thoughts, gratefully received!


I just completed a rather poor and cheesy career ‘survey’ on iVillage to be told my top three careers would be Artist, Historian, Novelist! Brilliant!



  1. Hi Nat!

    I think seeing a careers service is a really good idea, because it should give you an idea of what else is out there. I had the same thing a few years ago when I decided to leave teaching – it meant taking a pay cut and throwing myself into an uncertain future. The job I’m doing now – well, you know yourself it hasn’t been the best for me and it’s certainly not my dream job or anything, but leaving teaching and moving into something else taught me something really important. Which is, I want a job that I feel I’m good at and I enjoy tolerably well, but what I really want is a job that is Just. A. Job. It’s strictly a ‘work to live’ situation for me. And you know, coming to that realisation was SO liberating! I know it isn’t the same with you but I think it’s really positive to leave a job that you hate to see what else is out there. Figure out what you need and look for it. And come to Leamington soon so we can have some drinks!

  2. It really is exciting, and I apologise for forgetting temporarily that you too were a teacher! We definitely need a get together so you can help me come up with some new non-teaching ideas!! I love the phrase, “enjoy tolerably well” I think that’s precisely what I want. No job is ever going to be perfect as it won’t be me indulging my vanity and writing books that no one may ever read, so I think ‘tolerably well’ would be an ideal step up from ‘depressingly hateful’!

    I used to hear so often of people changing career to become a teacher, seems more common the other way around these days.

    Thanks for the comment, it really has been something of a comfort. Hope you and the Mr are well! And I shall hopefully be down in Le Spa in the next few weeks.


  3. Well, I think ‘tolerably well’ isn’t what you’d want to be striving for in other areas of life, but it’s the only way I’ve been able to achieve sanity at work! And I know now that for me, just a job is all I want. It’s not something I want to dominate my life.

    And I, too, know a fair few people who have left teaching (in fact we’re fairly common in my organisation) I think it’s just getting to be too difficult due to political factors. But we can talk about that at length over some drinks very soon x

  4. How did the visit to the career’s centre go?

    Sorry, I’m a little behind in my blog reading. Had a busy Christmas & New Year, then wife moved back in and then these floods hit Brisbane.

    Am catching up on all your news.

    • Hi Herb,

      Have been thinking about you! Wasn’t too sure of your local compared to the flooding. An old school friend of mine has been showing pics of the waters which isolated her house, cutting off the power. I think she escaped much of the worst but it has looked terrifying. Hope you are ok, and the Mrs of course!!! (By the way, your ‘New Year’ card is STILL sat on my desk. Apologies.)

      The careers centre was more than a little fruitless as the local government spending cuts had caused the two local branches to close down! Excellent start. I haven’t had chance to get into the city yet, however, other options have begun to be presented and I might be trying something a little different first before jumping ship entirely. Needless to say, as soon as anything concrete forms the blogging world (albeit a very small corner of it) shall know! Changes are definitely afoot and I am getting quite excited.

      Love to you and yours, stay dry, stay safe.


      • G’day Natalie 🙂 I live in the Greater Brisbane Area in a city called Redlands. It’s 40km from the CBD and forms part of the huge suburban mass that we locals call Brisbane. Fortunately, our home is nowhere near where the floods were. But one of my best friend’s flat was totally flooded. He’ll be okay though. We salvaged most of his belongings and he’s got plenty of couches to surf on while he looks for a new home.

        Sorry that the visit to the careers centres were fruitless. Such a shame. Though I’m sure that something wonderful will come up.

  5. […] in January I wrote a post, Careering into Control, where I set out my determination to change my career. My plan was to go to the careers centre […]

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