Where to from here?

For the last couple of months I’ve been worrying about work, jobs and further study, but now it’s being mentioned a lot more within my department and people keep asking me what I want to do when I finish my masters. The honest answer is that I don’t really know, which worries me somewhat, although I do at least have an idea of the various options that I have to choose from.

I would quite like to stick around where I am now and do a PhD, but I get the feeling that I haven’t done enough languages and with my first degree being in the ‘wrong’ subject I don’t think I’d be allowed to stay on. Funding for the arts is also abysmal, especially in comparison with the sciences where universities and companies were about as close to literally throwing money at me as you can get. The other reason for possibly wanting to do a PhD is that the idea of going off into lecturing has started to appeal to me as well, mainly because I love teaching (especially giving seminars/tutorials) but until now all the careers advice related to teaching has been trying to get people to go into primary or secondary schools. Unfortunately you seem to need ‘Dr’ before your name in order to lecture in the arts (which is utterly stupid given that one of the most important people in my old department has an MSc as his highest qualification), so I’d have to carry on and do some further study if that’s the direction I wanted to go in.

I also went to the law fair yesterday and picked up some information from the various colleges and universities which offer the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). I already knew a lot about the subject as I thought about doing the GDL this year before I saw the MA, but I found out one or two interesting things that I didn’t know before. One of these is that the College of Law now has the authority to confer degrees, so I could study there for two years (doing the GDL followed by the Legal Practice Course) and at the end of it I’d have a bachelor’s degree in law and be able to stick ‘LLB’ after my name. As far as I’m aware they’re the only law college that can do that, which is something I’d have to bear in mind if I wanted to go down the route of training to be a lawyer.

The other obvious option which I’ve been working on for some time is the idea of spinning out my freelance work into a proper company (which I’m hopefully going to see someone about next week so that I can finally get the paperwork sorted) and living off the profits that it would make by hiring me out as a contractor. This isn’t entirely an either/or option though, as I could do it whilst studying full time as I have done for the last three years—albeit as a sole trader rather than as a director of a limited company.

Miscellaenous ideas also include going into politics (though this is less likely than the others) or being a ‘spikey’ for an NGO such as Friends of the Earth (see Colour me green for a definition of ‘spikies’—basically suit-wearing pragmatic greens). I think I’d enjoy the latter as I’m having fun doing it as a volunteer. It won’t pay very well but to be honest I’d rather have a job that I love rather than one that I hate, regardless of salary. Ideally I’d find a job that I love and which pays well, but I don’t think such a thing exists. 🙂

I’ve thought about going to talk to the careers people about all this, but in the past they haven’t really been that useful. Everyone who works there is lovely and does their best to help, but the first thing they try to do is put you in a pre-defined category and I don’t fit into any of them (this isn’t just exclusive to the careers service, it’s a general thing that I’ve noticed across the University and it bugs the hell out of me because people make huge presumptions based on you supposedly fitting into one of these categories). I might go and make an appointment for next week anyway just to see what they say, but my expectations aren’t particularly high.

I almost feel bad about being so indecisive as I know most people don’t have as many options as I do (which is part of the problem, if I only had a career in IT to look forward to then choosing one wouldn’t be too difficult!) and I’m lucky enough to know plenty of people who could either get me a full time job or provide me with enough freelance work to keep me tiding over for some time. I could always wait a bit longer before deciding, but I dislike not knowing what direction I’m heading in—I like to have a degree of certainty about my future if possible. Maybe that’s asking too much though, I don’t know.

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1 thought on “Where to from here?

  1. I can see what your issues are (I have similar (though not as large yet) when I finish at HAUC), but do you not have another 10 months of certantity till you finish your MSc and then towards the end of that it might be worth thinking further ahead, why not have a year working and ticking over but not taking on to much so that if you decide to do more education yo can plan and not have to lose to much work. Also if you do that and your enjoying your work you can decide to keep going in that direction.

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