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A New Start?

June 23, 2013

I’ve had an epiphany. (I wrote that and then, in a brief moment of self-doubt, had to look up the word ‘epiphany’ just to make sure it  meant precisely what I thought it meant, apart from Wise Men trekking across far distant lands to visit the baby Jesus.  The joys of a quick google search revealed that there’s something called ‘The Urban Dictionary’ which defined epiphany as “When you’re really stoned and realise something”.  There’s a dictionary that’s not afraid of using the full majesty and splendour of the English language. Anyway, courtesy of ‘The Free Dictionary’ I have had

“A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization”.

(And Ernest Gowers is spinning in his grave).)

“What is this sudden intuitive realisation?”, I hear you cry, “do tell”.   It’s just this.  I am a lawyer.  It is what has defined me for the past 20 years.  Even when I was studying for a BA in Politics, I knew I wanted to be a solicitor, and so I was.  And I was very happy doing it.  I studied hard and worked even harder and was chugging up the conveyer belt towards partnership when I married a chap whose work takes him abroad and decided that I would go too.

It’s now been 6 years since I last solicited and it’s been a busy old time.  I’ve moved 4 times to 3 different countries (4 if you count Northern Ireland and England as separate countries), had 2 children, set up a business, taught English to Jews and Arabs, separated fights between Jews and Arabs who were learning English and learnt to bake. The knotty question of returning to my career, however, has been on my mind, particularly since we moved to Pakistan.  The way I see it, I have a year here to get my act together and then, when we go back to the UK I’ll be rejoining the workforce.

The problem is, however, that I don’t think I want to be a lawyer.   I loved (most of) my clients. I had the best colleagues a girl could ask for; I’m just not sure that I can get particularly excited about the exact interpretation of clause 4(b)(iii) anymore,  not now I’ve the perspective of grazed knees and lost dinosaurs to weigh it against – those are things I can get really exercised about.

So what to do?  I feel like I’m back at school with the career advisor (who told me I should be a librarian.  Thanks for that) and that the whole world is an open book, and it’s incredibly exciting.  I’ve an inkling that I might like marketing and communications. I don’t know that I’ll like it.  It might be a terrible idea, but at the moment it seems like it would be a good fit.

So I’ve applied for work experience.  I know – fun isn’t it!  I haven’t done work experience since school.  I’m hoping that they’ll say yes and that I can sit in the corner of a proper marketing (or Business Development if we’re feeling posh) department for a day, making coffee and seeing if it will work for me.  If they don’t, I’ll ask someone else until I find a nice marketing department I can visit. And then I’ll go from there.

Whatever happens it feels like I’m on the cusp of something new and potentially exciting.  I’ll keep you posted.

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14 Comments
  1. Sara permalink

    YEAH! How exciting for you! What is wrong with the librarian bit (I have been taking courses online the last few years in that field;-)?

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  2. Nothing! Nothing at all! Some of my best friends are librarians! (Can you sense the panic?)
    A is sitting next to me and has just come up with some Fascinating Facts About Librarians, to whit:
    1. ‘Librarian’ is consistently named as being the most stressful job; and
    2. Joe Kennedy was a librarian.
    3. Philip Larkin (famously dour and depressed British poet) was a librarian.
    That’s it so far. If there are any more pearls of librarian wisdom I’ll let you know.

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    • Slob74 permalink

      I always think that the Librarian is the best of Terry Pratchett’s characters. Does that help?

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      • Ook.
        ps – your moniker is the most inappropriate I think I’ve ever come across. xxx

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  3. My ‘Career advice’ such as it was suggested librarianship or prison governor…I am neither. Our carrers advice extended to filling in a questionnaire on the computer that then created a print out! It could have been better…

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    • Prison governor? Yikes!
      Did you do that ISCO test which had a kind of Myers-Briggs graph in it? I don’t think I know anyone who wasn’t advised to be a librarian. I wonder just how much we paid for that advice…

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  4. So you had an epiphany, and decided to ignore it…? Was it “I am a lawyer and I don’t like it?” but you didn’t share the second half? Or “I am a lawyer and it’s time for something new?”

    Lawyering to marketing is quite a jump, but sounds like you’re going about it in a gutsy way – which is always something employers like.

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    • Right second time – apologies for the fudge. It is definitely quite a leap to make from lawyering to marketing (and there are about a million different ways of describing marketing. Deciphering each of those with their particular nuances is a Herculean task in itself) but I’m excited by it which I think must stand for something.

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  5. For what it’s worth, I think about changing careers every week or so, and I have even done it on occasion. Go for it, if you really want to. Here are some things to think about while you do (or while you decide):

    1: Why are you doing it? Is it just because “you’re a bit bored”. If so, are you *sure* that Marketing won’t be a bit boring on occasion too?
    2: Marketing is a big place. One of the ways it is defined is by the “4 P”s – Product (what it is, and is it right for the market), Price (how much should it sell for), Place (how it gets to the market, including distribution) and Promotion (advertising etc.). Be sure you know which part you are wanting to get into, and what people think each of the words associated with marketing actually mean – don’t get me started on Business Development…
    3: Money. Is it the right pay-off of time against effort against reward. I’d love to test beds, taste wine or just witter or make pancakes as a career, but it doesn’t mean that I can do it and make the right sort of living doing what I do.

    x

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    • Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it. In order:
      1. I don’t think that law is boring. I enjoyed it and found it challenging but it is not creative by its very nature, and I would like to do something more creative now.
      2. You’re right. I don’t know enough about marketing to be sure that it’s absolutely where I want to be. That’s why I’m hoping to do some work experience so I can try and sort out a) if it’s for me; b) if so, which bit; and c) what extra qualifications or experience I need to get where I want to be.
      3. Money – it’s a good point. I just don’t know at the moment. Hopefully I will soon.
      Btw, I think you’d have been bored making pancakes for a living, unless you could make flag pancakes according to the nationality of your pancake recipient. That might just have kept it entertaining enough.

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      • I think the Antigua and Barbuda and Papua New Guinea flags would be the benchmark pancakes. I’d start with Japan and Bangladesh though. Or maybe change to wine tasting.

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      • I can’t remember the last time he actually made a pancake, either….

        And whatever you do, don’t be a marketing person in a law firm…. just saying.

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  6. Was Living Down Under permalink

    Oooh very exciting. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

    Last year I thought I wanted to get into Family Mediation. After taking one course (Family Law for non-lawyers) I decided that while I had the skills it wasn’t something I really want to do.

    My epiphany was that I actually do like what I do – I just don’t want to be doing it full time 🙂

    So you’re moving back to the UK next year and you’ll be there for awhile? Have you written about your other experiences abroad? Sounds like a good read 🙂

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  7. It’s great that you realised that you like what you do now. That sounds perfect. Did you manage to get a job doing it part-time?
    Funnily enough I’m working on something at the moment to do with my other experiences abroad. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it. Thanks for the encouragement!

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