Career advice to my younger self.



My friend Paula Gardner, a woman I highly respect, asked a few of us what career advice we would give ourselves if we look back on our lives.  What have we learnt?  This was my entry for her blog.

‘Hindsight can be an expensive lesson in life. Now, at fifty odd years, I should have built a financially rewarding career. Growing up in a home where the father was the breadwinner and mum took care of the family, I ended up doing same thing. For which I have no regrets, but in hindsight, being both amum and an important part of the business community, I would not be starting all over again.

Life meant a series of ‘jobs’ – littered between supporting my husband’s business and picking up the children. And I was good at it. Plenty of rewarding jobs, huge accumulation of experience, but no career per say.Back then, any form of my extra income was to spend on holidays, on decorating and the garden. Lack of advice, or needs must, meant a charmed life: Someone else taking care of me, and being financially reliant on someone else.

Today is different. Women can have both; a career and a family. Educators and parents should encourage this, partners and children should accept and embrace this and yes, it’s difficult but balance will bring rewards. Can I call it a mistake, not to have built a career? Mistakes are knowing the options and making the wrong choices, so no, I made no mistakes. But I will begin now, to build a viable career, which is still possible, and advise all young women of the following:

Get a degree, not just to broaden your knowledge, but prepare you for a challenging and rewarding financial future. Always follow the rule – from future to present – creating wealth for your retirement. Think backwards about what you may have to do to procure this. No matter what your dream, built enough wealth to indulge in this at a later stage. Rather than work in another’s kitchen, garden, office or practice, give yourself a timeline to make enough money to buy or build your own, to be your own boss. Dreams are dulled when others dictate your business life. It impacts on your personal life.

Prepare yourself for hard work and turn the work into success – success will be your reward, both financially and spiritually. Given time, I would re-do my degree to compete in a business sphere, work hard and built my own empire (no matter how small) and finally, bask in the financial security which affords me time to dream when the day is done. Then I could say, in hindsight, the lesson was not expensive at all.’

Read similar stories (and far better ones) on her website below.

What career advice would you have given yourself? Or come to think about, still offer to young women starting out, or women like me, starting out for what could be said, the very first time?