Blogging can be a really rewarding, creative and social business. The same can be said about being a nanny. You could say that I am one very lucky girl to be able to work in two industries where my skills can be shared happily with others. Of course, the two industries don’t always, as you might imagine, blend together too easily. Kids and fashion, hmmmmm? But there’s always a good reason as to why anyone ends up doing what they do, and there are usually even better reasons for people changing what they do too.
I’ve been accessing what it is that I want to do recently and more importantly how to do it best. I think we all need a little time to step back and analyse our work, time, friends and family now and again, whatever our industry or lifestyle choices. Sometimes something as simple as writing a list of what you want is all it takes to realise what you need to do or what path is best to take. It’s pretty much what I’ve been doing over the last few months. I’ve used the words ‘do’ and ‘doing’ a lot in this post so far, I’m beginning to sound weird, abnormal, even… but really, isn’t that what life is all about? What you do with it.
So to help you in finding your dream career, bettering the one you have, or perhaps, if you’re just starting out, give you a fair warning of what not to do, here’s my life lessons for your career, learned over ten very tremulous years!…
It started with a fairly disillusioned and cynical young adult wanting to do something creative with her life. The rebel inside her led to a lack of respect for formal education, she shunned a great course offer at University and went out into the world. That led to the beginning of my working life being in a photography studio, sounds great right? No, it wasn’t.
- Career Lesson One: Working in a creative industry isn’t always creative. Being a photographer/digital art-worker/salesperson in a large corporate franchise of family photographers was not the burgeoning creative hub I had hoped.
As a stop-gap job whilst I was deciding what to do with my life I became a nanny.
- Career Lesson Two: If you find yourself in your stop-gap job for three years it is no longer a stop-gap. I loved the first family I worked for as a nanny, they were good to me, I earned decent enough money, found an unexpected talent in childcare and so it was all too easy to rest on my laurels for those three years.
So I entered the office workforce for the first time. Sure it was as an Admin Assistant but without a degree you work your way up the ladder, right?
- Career Lesson Three: Choose your workplace wisely, not all employers have such high hopes as you do for yourself. Unfortunately, though I had found a great role in corporate events I had found it with a small and struggling company with no room to grow. I reached my boredom limits very quickly, was given many challenging extra tasks at which I excelled and was told there was no room for promotion or remuneration for my efforts. I was belligerent, they were indifferent. Sadly, we parted on bad terms.
Stressed, unemployed and newly disillusioned by the world of work (not to mention realistically concerned about having no references to show) I returned to the safe, warm and cosy world of childcare.
- Career Lesson Four: If it didn’t work the first time, perhaps there was a good reason. Again, I found a wonderful family that were good to me, made great relationships with super kids, was good at my job and was making reasonably good money. The only problem was that slowly and surely that feeling of ‘under achieving’ and not using my brain to it’s full potential crept in.
Sensibly, and still nervous about returning to an office environment I chose this time to boost my skills before changing my comfortable job.
- Career Lesson Four: Sometimes your mother really does know best (and your father and brother too) I plumped for taking the first adult learning course that looked interesting. Creative Writing. I loved it. It was my brother who suggested I start a blog, he also put me onto my first ever paid writing gig, for an online fashion magazine. It was my mother and father who had pushed me into enrolling in that degree several years ago – it was Marketing and Communications – I started to realise that might have come in quite handy actually.
So, I’m beginning to realise the path I want to take now. It lies in writing, it lies in fashion and lifestyle and it lies in a much more professional environment than nannying can offer.
- Career Lesson Five: You know more than you think you know. Perhaps those previous career ‘mistakes’ have prepared you better than you thought. I continue the blog, I find that skills in photography and digital artwork come in very handy. That ‘boring’ job in corporate events has actually given me great IT and web skills, I’m great when it comes to organising anything and I have all the general office skills required for the big wide career world. Looking after children (and dealing with their parents) has even given me all the communications skills I could ever want for too.
I start to think about where I actually want to be. It’s simple, I write a list. I want to work with like-minded people, I want to work in fashion and/or women’s lifestyle, I want a job that is challenging in a workplace I can progress, I want to work somewhere I can best use the skills I have acquired.
- Career Lesson Six: Make a plan, do the plan, revise the plan, do the revised plan. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have it all planned out. And when you are also realistic. Don’t expect it all to just work out, make it work out. Don’t expect it all to happen at once, you have to earn it.
I am still nannying. Juggling trying to be a stylish fashion blogger and a childcarer can be interesting at times, but hey, there are MANY mums working in the fashion business that do it just fine. I just have an array of very stylish flat, comfortable shoes, easy. Nannying is a great job to do while concentrating on other things. I work the hours that suit me so I can blog, write and learn as much as possible. I earn decent money to support me until such time that I feel I have learned enough and gained enough experience to apply for a job in my dream career.
I hope this little guide of mine helps you. That’s why I have written it. Because sometimes you just need someone to say, “I’ve been there, I’ve made the mistakes, here’s what I’ve learned”. And over the ten years since my first foray into the world of work I think I’ve learned quite a lot… the hard way!
And whatever it is you want, go for it!