We have been blogging on and off in the careers team for about ten years now and over time our blogging energy has ebbed and flowed. Before we had this blog, we posted on what we called the postgraduate careers blog, which was created for postgraduates at the university. We archived that blog in 2013 but the content is still public. This week I’ve been re-visiting posts that colleagues and I wrote in the past. It is a bit like a diary – sometimes it makes me cringe and at other times, I think, “wow, that’ still relevant ten years on”.
So here are six old posts I thought it worth sharing again:
This was one of my first posts and it is about planned happenstance, which is a careers theory, which is relevant to modern careers. It is about how we can all plan our careers to some extent but how for many people, the next career move is also about being opportunist in proactive ways when unexpected things happen.
In this post, my former colleague Mary Macfarlane unpicks this cliché, which risks blaming people if they do not get the career, or job they want. She points out that sometimes a plan B may actually turn out to be the best option anyway and it can be liberating to relinquish a goal that is no longer the one you really want after all.
Everyone has career lows and career highs. I was going through a career low when I wrote this post myself! The post talks about Peter Hawkins book “No Regrets on Sunday”. More recently, my colleague Eileen Cunningham (who is one of the 21 Days to Career Success creators) has used the phrase “the career misery push”, which can be a trigger for much better things. In my case, my career low led me to do a PhD which I finished very recently and is one of my greatest achievements, one that I would have never have embarked upon if it wasn’t for “the career misery push”.
This post attracted quite a lot of comments, which is why I thought I would include it here. I have become a bit sceptical about the vast amount of things individuals are exhorted to do when presenting themselves professionally and when looking for work. I completely agree that time spent reflecting on your own interests, abilities, values and skills in order to work out what you really want to do is time well spent. But I have become much less keen on the phrase “personal branding”.
My colleague Tahira Majothi writes about coping with bad job interviews in this post. It is all too easy as a job seeker going to job interviews to berate yourself when an interview goes pear-shaped. She usefully points out that employers do vary and there just are some very bad interviewers out there!
Tahira also did this post about how to handle discrimination. She gives an overview on definitions from legislation and offers a simple and pragmatic list of recommendations for what to do if you face discrimination. I completely agree with the use of the word respect and campaigns such as #MeToo show how people can collectively stand up to discriminatory practices. Tahira continues to be a passionate advocate of inclusivity and diversity, putting her words into action as a founder member and Vice-chair of the University of Salford’s Women’s Voice Network.