QLC: Career 101

June 1, 2010 at 8:51 am (Quarter Life Crisis) (, )

I know I originally said that I couldn’t change anything in terms of my career path until I got back from my holiday in October, but I realised that mentality wasn’t helpful and was making me frustrated and impatient. So my hunt begins.

The first thing you must decide is what kind of job you want. This can be obvious for a lucky few, but for most of us this leads to a minor panic. Remember that this doesn’t have to be your job for the next 20 years (or even 5). Gen X and Y are recognised as being fairly transitory, changing companies and roles more frequently than their parents – it’s your skills that matter.

I was hit by my next career move a couple of days ago. I love to learn. One of the best parts of my current job is working with our clients and seeing them grow more confident in their skill set and themselves. I gained a training qualification and designed a course for personal assistants in my role before that and really enjoyed that. Learning and Development is my thing and I have both the passion and the skills to demonstrate that.

Once you’ve figured out what type of role is for you, decide WHERE you want to work. Do you thrive on being busy? Try a fast-paced environment such as advertising or media. Are you more of an academic who appreciates the time and space to research and discuss theories? Try a university or other tertiary education institution. Love children? Become a teacher (early childhood, primary, secondary, specialise in a sport) or find a children’s charity organisation.

Screenshot from The Devil Wears Prada

High on my priority list is an organisation’s culture. I (generally) love people and thrive in a great culture, but have been in too many jobs where the environment just oozes negativity. How do you find out whether a company has a good culture or not? I used to read up on their values and goals (usually found on their website) but too often they are preached and not practiced.

The best way is word of mouth. Ask friends about where they work, get them to ask their friends if they work in the industry you’d like to work in. Find a couple of companies to target that fit with what you want out of a job.

Important things to remember:

  • Some industries are much harder to get into than others. Medicine, music, journalism and fine arts all spring to mind.
  • Be patient. The job you want may not be available in the organisation you’d like to work for. Let them know you’re interested and would like to be considered when a position becomes available.
  • About 70% of jobs in Australia are not advertised for. They are filled either internally or by referrals, staff networks or people who have expressed interest in that area previously.

Your homework assignment (if you choose to accept it) is:

  • Write down 3 skills that you enjoying using at work.
  • Using those 3 skills, find a number of roles that incorporate those skills. Be as specific as you can (e.g. Marketing Assistant – real estate, Tennis Coach – adults, Events Coordinator – large scale events). If your skills aren’t industry specific, think about what kind of industry you may be passionate about (considering your  hobbies and interests may help).
  • Think of what is important to you in a company and begin some research into possible employers.
What problems have you encountered when trying to establish your career path?
What kind of job are you looking for?
Tell me a little bit about yourself, I love to know who is reading!


  1. Marthe said,

    My biggest problem is that I don’t know what I want to do. I’m 23, have started to study law, but half-way through my studies, a little voice at the back of my mind keeps reminding me that this is not what I want. I don’t find reading law interesting at all.

    I know what I don’t want to do, the problem is to figure out what I really want. And then have the courage to do it.. Any advice?

    • Kimberley said,

      I once read somewhere that you should ask yourself what you would do if you won the lottery and didn’t have to worry about money. Whatever you chose to do with your life is where your real passion lies.
      It’s hard when you’re part-way through a qualification though, so I guess you need to decide what you want to do and whether or not a Law degree would help that in any way.
      It’s always hard changing direction, but better earlier than later I think. Good luck hun! xx

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