I’ve never been very good at making plans.
Ok, so that’s not entirely true. I think I’m actually pretty decent at making plans, and usually stick to them. That’s if you take social plans, holiday plans, day to day plans into consideration.
Why is it then that I find it ridiculously difficult to make life plans and career plans?
I guess first of all we should unpick what I mean by life plans.
What I mean by this is, and I’ll refer to one of my dearest friends, who has always known what she wanted from life. All she ever dreamt of was finding a husband, buying a house, getting married and having children. And she’s achieved that.
I got as far as buying a house once. With my ex. We broke up. He brought me out. And I no longer own a house.
I’m actually quite comfortable with not having achieved the things my friend has achieved. What’s right for her, isn’t going to be right for everyone. But I guess my point is, she had life goals. She knew what she wanted, when she wanted to achieve each of these goals, and she’s just cracked on and done it. Job done.
My current life plans go as far as supporting my boyfriend through the visa process. But after that? Who knows! You could say its hard to make plans when we don’t know what’s going to happen later this month with his visa application. But the realistic part of me knows that this would just be an excuse. In reality, I am confident I wouldn’t have a plan regardless of the circumstances.
I have no plans to get married yet, and as you may’ve read in my previous blog ‘Kids’ I’m not desperate to have those either.
However, I don’t just bumble around aimlessly either. I like to visit new places, try new things, meet new people. I’m just not very good at planning these things. And maybe that’s ok.
My working life is similar. I have never had the desire to be a career person. All I ever wanted was enough money to live and enjoy the odd holiday.
Even as far back as my school days, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and which direction to go in. Up until 6 months before my A Level results, I had no desire to go to university. But I didn’t know what job I wanted to do either. So I decided that maybe I would go to university as that might help me to decide. Choosing the subjects to study was easy. I loved Human Geography and I had an interest in Africa.
So a few months later, I found myself standing at the entrance to the University of Northampton (or the University College of Northampton – UCN – as it was known back then) registering for a BA Course in Geography and Third World Development. I loved everything about my University experience. I developed an even greater love for Geography and the Third World, but I knew that my career choices in these fields were limited. It was either continue to study and become a teacher, go and work for the local council (who were making hundreds of job cuts at the time), or go and work for a third world charity. None of which set my world on fire.
Whilst at University, I had a part time job working for a gift card shop in the town centre. I loved my time there, but there was little money in it (not that I was money orientated. I’m still not today, but there were things I couldn’t do if I didn’t look for something that was a bit better paid). I increased my hours slightly after Uni, and also gained further responsibility moving up from Supervisor to Assistant Manager. Whilst there, I saw an advert in my local newspaper for a job in sport. I applied, interviewed and was called back within half an hour to say I had got the job!
I stayed with the company for 9 years, before I made the move to London. Even that move wasn’t planned. I had been comfortable in my job, but there was little opportunity for growth or promotion. So when I was effectively head hunted for the London opportunity, I grasped it with both hands.
I worked with some great people in that 9 year period. I remember one lady saying to me that if I got too comfortable there, I would never leave. I was comfortable there. 9 years comfortable.
I get a weird sense of enjoyment out of proving people wrong though.
Although I don’t have a career plan, what I do have is a burning ambition to do well in all that I do. I am constantly seeking ways to improve myself. Whether it was when I had my first ever part-time job in a supermarket, my part-time job in the card shop, or my job in sport, I have always pushed myself to learn as much as I can, so I can do the best possible job in the role I am in.
I guess my next question is, do you really need a plan to be successful?
I don’t have the answer to this question, but I would love to get your thoughts on this.
What I do know, is that for someone who had/has no plan, I seem to be doing alright at this career malarkey.
7 Comments Add yours
A plan is a beautiful thing, and gives me a sense of (inevitably false) security; it gives you an idea of efficiency and direction of travel but you never know what you’ll find on the other side of the door or the people with you…might be better might be worse but that’s life. I’m increasingly trying to love the principle I tell the kids which is we are who we are everyday and we are what we do everyday, so be at peace with who you are and what you do (and if you don’t like it, life’s too short so get a move on and do something about it tomorrow) there is no future self or better version of me, there’s just me. Gulp. And that’s it. X
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Thank you for sharing. I guess it’s not knowing what’s behind each door that makes life so interesting. The way we tackle the challenges that sit behind each door is what truly makes us who we are
When I decided to have a stab at Horticulture, I gave myself 5 years to volunteer, study, get a qualification and get paid employment. I was dead chuffed to do it all in 4 years, and after 2.5 years at my job i’m now full time and standing in for my manager while she takes a year long career break. While on paper it appears I went all out and achieved what I wanted, my job came my way through a friend of a friend and i’m only standing in as manager because mine isn’t here for a year! My point is this: It’s good to have a plan as it keeps you on track (especially career wise) but there’s a hell of a lot of luck and knowing the right person at the right time involved too!
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Thank you for sharing this Kelly! You’ve done so well to achieve all that you have, in that time. I agree that sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time, but it’s not all down to luck. If you hadn’t put the hard work in, your manager wouldn’t have seen how wonderful you are, and would’ve been more hesitant to leave you in charge. It’s definitely given me food for thought 🙂
I would say the most important thing is to have a clear vision of what / how you want to feel in life. Planning every single detail can be bad as well as not planning at all. I guess we just need to find the right balance for us and ask ourselves “am I happy? if not, what do I need to do to feel happier?”… 🙂
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I think you’re right. Possibly for the first time in my life I have a clearer vision as to what I would like to do. Maybe I just need to spend a little bit more time putting in the graft, rather than waiting to ‘see what happens’. Definitely something to think about 🙂
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