Published: June 3, 2020
Careers gurus always say that your ideal job is where your skills and interests meet. How do you get to that point though?
As a child and teenager I always loved magazines and telly and films and my radio was always playing BBC Radio 1.
Getting a job related to anything connected to those things didn’t seem realistic, in fact it never entered my head. My dad was a plasterer and my mam worked part time in a shop, so jobs connected to media weren’t on my horizon. However, I went to St Anthony’s School at Thornhill Terrace, Sunderland and there the teachers encouraged me to consider university.
I got a job instead and worked at an insurance company. It was interesting work in the claims department and I ended up training people. Then one day the boss asked if I would write the newsletter because he was going on holiday. He said it was a chore, but that I’d only have to do it a couple of weeks. I loved doing it though and I ended up writing it every week for a year. I realised I loved writing. I started to think about how I could write and get paid for doing it.
I applied to University of Sunderland and to my shock got offered a place to study for a degree. I was studying all about media and film and journalism. These were all the things I loved and I lapped it up. I watched the lecturers and I thought I’d love to do their job. I started doing a course about teaching and did some teaching for free to gain skills and experience. My dissertation supervisor asked if I’d considered doing a Masters degree. I hadn’t, but it fitted if I wanted to be a lecturer, so I did. Just as I was about to complete my Masters degree a colleague pointed out a PhD scholarship at Lincoln University. I applied and got the place. While I was there, I got to work with a fabulous team of women who gave me wonderful opportunities to learn new skills of researching media and gain more experience teaching. I got my doctorate and pretty soon afterwards a lecturing job.
One day the boss asked me, “How come you spring up the stairs grinning as you come into work every morning?” I was completely stunned. I had no idea that I ran into work and jumped up the stairs, grinning. How did I get to the point I had my dream job? All I had done was followed what I enjoyed and worked hard to gather skills along the way.
So, the careers gurus are quite right about matching skills and interests to find your dream job, but I reckon they over complicate it. Here’s what I know for sure; It doesn’t matter where you start, just follow what you love, work hard and gain skills. What you waiting for?
Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies