Following My Heart Was My Biggest Career Mistake
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20th Jan 2016

As someone who has worked in the public and charity sector practically my whole life that’s not what you would expect me to say is it?


Well, my reasoning goes like this.


YES, you should enjoy your job. But that is not the primary purpose of work - it doesn’t serve the same function as a box set or an ice cream sundae. The reason we work is quite simply to earn a living so we can feed and house ourselves and have a bit extra for those fashionable new shoes.


In London particularly, it has become increasingly difficult to have a good quality of life. This is one of the most expensive cities in the world. This gets more complicated when you start considering buying a house or having a family. So think about salary when making your career choices. Not just what you need to earn now to get by, but what you will need to save month on month, year on year, to afford that deposit. Otherwise like me, it will come as a massive shock when mortgage payments and childcare costs wipe out your earnings the minute they hit your bank account.


You don’t want to find yourself with 15 years’ of work experience and less disposable income than when you were a student.As a graduate I turned down places on excellent corporate graduate schemes in the hope of changing the world by working for causes I believe in.


Graduate schemes give you a breadth of training which every subsequent employer will value and corporate salaries can set you up for life. You then have a whole lot more to offer the causes you care about and can transition to the public or charity sector later in your career, with valuable skills and a nice bank balance.


So my advice to those of you starting out and thinking about following your heart - invest in yourself first, snap up the salaries and skills that will give you the basis of a good life and a good career. Make ethical purchases, give generously to good causes, volunteer in your community.


There is more than one way to change the world, and your children will thank you for it.