Posted by: katherinejackman | February 23, 2011

Quelling the cold, wriggly fear

Have you ever had one of those moments when you suddenly stop whatever it is you’re doing, pause for a few seconds, then suddenly shriek with mindless abandon, “OH MY GOD, WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? EVERYTHING IS FUTILE! FUTIIIIIIIIIILE!”The Horror!

No? Just me then.

Aren’t pre-life crises’ fun? I haven’t even got a career and yet I can’t stop thinking about it.  The last few weeks have been chock a block with career events and frantic scribbling, and yet the path remains thorny and uncertain. Happily, I now know more about the writing world, but less happily the writing world is apparently a cruel and mean spirited terrain, whose inhabitants scrabble for scraps of food whilst fighting off enemies with sharp sticks.

Ok, I’m exaggerating, but hey, I’m a writer. That’s my job. The fact it, I would still heartily recommend attending as many career events as possible, if you’re only a wee first year whose thoughts of life after uni are still blissfully squirreled away in the back of your heads. These career workshops will prove to be invaluable for the following reasons:

1. Reality

Since attending the Creative Careers Week, I’ve been lucky enough to meet two authors and two journalists. One of the authors specialised in Children’s Books, the other in Adult Fiction, and one of the journalists was a successful editor for a prominent North East publication, whereas the other had landed a job at the BBC centre up near Fenham (about five minutes away from where I live, incidentally).  It was very sobering to hear the very different  life experiences of people in the field I’m interested in. Sometimes people get lucky, and the jobs just fall into  their laps, others have to work and scrape for every second to get to where they want to be. It’s a reality check that everyone needs before entering the job market.

2. Contacts

Job fairs and workshops are a great way to get to know some important people, or at least get some information that may prove valuable to you later on. You never know, the advice you picked up could save your life in an interview one day.

3. Perspective

Attending a career event or workshop may actually send you down a different path to the one that you were originally planning on walking. Sometimes, a bit of perspective is invaluable. You may discover that actually, you don’t really want to be  lawyer or whatever it is you wanted to be, and you’ll discover that in fact you’d rather be something else. If your certainty’s a bit shakey on this matter, then you’d best get the low down on the career you’ve been preparing yourself for before it’s too late. You’ll only come to regret it otherwise.

So there you are; three crucial reasons to attend the careers fairs and workshops that your university has to offer. Hopefully this’ll quell the cold, wriggly fear that you may or may not be experiencing in the pit of your stomach right now.

The future is a scary thing.

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