APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today she helps an employee who feels she's stuck in a job rut and advises a mother whose daughter is struggling to settle into uni.
Q. I’m 44 and feel stuck in a job rut! I thought I wanted to work in the beauty industry, so got a job as a receptionist in a salon while I did some courses in my spare time.
However, I’ve realised this isn’t the industry for me. I would love a job where I can work my way up the ladder, but I don’t know where to start and I’m worried my age is against me. Do you have any advice?
Bonnie, via email
A. At some point every one of us has had the “Sunday blues” – a slump in your mood when you realise you have to go and work in a job that bores you or doesn’t make you feel like you are reaching your full potential. So how do you get out of the rut and start to take control of your career?
First, work out what’s missing from the job you currently have, as well as the jobs you’ve had in the past. Make a list of what you want from your career and what you need to do to make it happen. What kind of environment do you want to work in, what kind of people do you want to surround yourself with, what type of customers do you want to engage with?
Talk to people who work in any industry you’re interested in and ask them what the positives and negatives are. You could go back to college and retrain, or you could work out what skills you have, what you’re really good at and enjoy, then bridge any gaps in your skills by taking courses.
Think about what you want now, but also a few years down the line, and don’t let age stop you!
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Q. My daughter started university in September, but with self-isolation as well as much of freshers’ week and her lectures being online because of Covid restrictions, she struggled to settle in.
A few weeks ago she decided to come home and drop out of her course. She’s managed to get a job in a supermarket for now, but she has no idea what she wants to do in the future. I’m worried that dropping out of her course will look bad on her CV, plus not having a degree will be a huge disadvantage for her career. Please help!
Hannah, via email
A. University is not the be-all and end-all of life. Many successful people never went to uni – including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and myself! But it’s important for your daughter to recognise that almost everyone who starts uni wants to leave in the first term.
Part of being an adult is sticking it out and being resilient even when you’re struggling, so ask her to sit down and work out what she did and didn’t like about her course so she can consider what needs to change if she were to apply again. Is there a uni she can attend closer to home? Can she do a degree online? Was it the course or the environment?
If she can pinpoint the problem, she can fix it. What she really needs to think about are her long-term goals. Can she achieve what she wants without a degree? If she can, she should make a plan to do just that.
If not, she needs to work out how to enrol in a new course that would suit her better. A career lasts decades, so your daughter needs to decide what she wants to do with her life. She doesn’t want to look back with any regrets.
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]
Compiled by: Claire Frost
- Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.
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