To Plan or Not to Plan?

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.