At the moment I am beginning to start thinking through what I do with the rest of my life. Oh…I know that the main focus has to be the current research and finding a part-time job again by the autumn, but the reality is in a year I will be back out in the real world. I need to think about whether I want to fall back into FE teaching or use the skills and qualifications I have in a different direction. I need to seek the will of God and try to listen to what He might be directing me to. I need to realise that within 6 months or so I will be filling in application forms again.
This search led me into the uni careers advisory service the other day for an initial appointment. It was a short meeting which I must say plesantly suprised me. I was expecting to be put on a skills analysis type computer programme and for the programme to give me some ideas, or for a nice but ineffective advisor to waffle a bit and me to smile weakly back having been told stuff I already knew. My experience was the exact opposite.
I was asked what sort of thing I was thinking about and gave my reply which is vague to say the least. I know three areas which I don’t want to go into but beyond that I’m really not sure. I was then given a list of a range of possible career paths to think about and find out about. Within this mix were a list of both secular and faith based lay careers. Now, this suprised me…yes I am studying Theology but within my opening conversations with the guy I had made no mention of having any faith or of this being one of the areas I have tentatively considered. Yet he spoke to me from a position which assumed I had faith and this might be an area to consider within everything else. How had he worked this out? The answer is my clothing…I happened to be wearing my Methsoc hoodie that day….which simply has the Methsoc logo on, not any in your face Christian stuff. (Quick tangent…it’s amazing what people can tell about us by what we wear and how sometimes we can communicate our faith without saying a word).
Anyway back to the careers interview. Once I had been given a list of occupations to think about- which fitted in with my vague one sentence answer of I would like to do something which involved using my listening and tutorial skills to motivate and support people and signpost them on to other agencies and people for help, if they need,- I was then given a few pointers on what to do next…all positive things rather than wooly ideas. To be honest it felt more like a life coaching session than a careers interview.
This experience added to something which is growing in me at the moment, a sense of worth. Through a range of things including a wonderful course on discipleship and vocation, (v. much in the widest sense of the word), I am doing with church, I am beginning to see that over the years I have amassed skills and abilities. There are things which I might be good at. I have choices as to how I use those things. Some of those things might be used in a work sphere and some of them may be used voluntarily outside of paid employment. Some of those things might be used in some ways immeadiately and some of them might be used in different ways a few years down the line….I don’t know.
Now don’t get me wrong…I know at the end of the day one of the major things next year will be what job I can find, but I am beginning to realise that it needn’t just be back into teaching by default. Yes…it might well be back into teaching full time, but if it is it will be an informed choice to do that.
Additionally, having a year to work this stuff out I have realised I have the opportunity to try some stuff out and sort myself out with a few short bits of work shadowing to find out a bit more about some of the possible directions. All of this, I have realised is incredibly exciting.
Whilst I will be the first to admit I have made quite a few mistakes over the last year I am realising that I have learnt loads from those mistakes. This is an exciting time in my life with opportunities …. I am blessed!
Anyway, I’m off on retreat for a few days and so on that positive note I’ll say goodbye until next week.