FACING THE CAREER CRISIS
Last night I took part in a careers fair following an invitation from my old school. Around 100 students between the ages of 16 and 18 had the invaluable opportunity to meet people working in a multitude of roles and understand more about what they do and how they started out. The current headmistress expressed a little sadness that they need to be thinking about career options at such a young age, but better that than to drift into careers with no real thought or planning and end up in positions that don’t stimulate them.
It was impressive to see such young people so engaged and forward thinking, far more so than I ever was at that age. I recall visiting the Tampax factory whilst an awkward 16 year old – a fellow pupil’s father worked there – and thinking what an odd job it was. The fact he was most likely a highly qualified manager working for a global healthcare company completed passed me by.
Last night’s attendees posed many intelligent questions – what exactly is PR? How do I get into it? What should I study? Do I need a degree? Hearteningly several asked me if I loved my job. The answer is a resounding – YES. I fundamentally love working with my clients, getting under the skin of their brands and understanding how to engage their audiences. I have had the privilege to work with many incredible people throughout my career and my team inspires and drives me every day. I relish the challenge of my work and the pressures that come with business growth.
This alone was the most important piece of career advice I could share with the young people I met last night. That no matter what you choose to do, make sure you love it and that it in turn ignites excitement in you. Money can only motivate up to a point and every successful business figure I’ve had the privilege to meet does so out of sheer passion for their organisation, not for the pay cheque. Chrissie Rucker speaks of her obsession of The White Company and her unwavering commitment to products that reflect her vision; Dame Mary Perkins of Specsavers fame is an optometrist first and an entrepreneur second. She founded her business wanting people to have attractive and affordable eyewear and she has never shifted from that objective; Hillary Graves, founder of Little Dish, is fanatical about what we feed young children, believing fervently that good nutrition is essential for happy healthy toddlers.
Young people entering the workplace today are likely to have careers spanning close to half a century. If nothing else I wish all the bright and inspiring students I met last night to ensure they are rich and fulfilling years.