Six months ago, I shut down my computer, tidied my desk, gave everyone a hug and walked out of the office for the last time. I was sad to leave my job in medical publishing and there was copious blubbing as I headed for the train station. However, when all is said and done, it was entirely my idea to head off into the sunset. After years of gainful employment, I was about to embark on a much-anticipated career break.
The idea was to chill for a while—bake cakes, go for long walks, read trashy novels, recharge the metaphorical batteries—and then come up with a masterplan. However, six months on, and I’m still none the wiser as to what exactly the next phase will be. So, I thought it might be enlightening to look back over some of the careers that I once aspired to…
Showjumper. I was mad about ponies when I was a little girl. I thought I might be the new Lucinda Prior-Palmer. Two major flaws with this idea. First, despite asking my parents (and Santa) every Christmas, I never got my own pony. Second, riding over jumps is absolutely terrifying.
Actress. I am by nature a bit of a drama queen. I was also heavily involved in my local Am Dram scene for several years. But I gave up the stage when I went to university and I’m not sure that I could find my way back onto it at this point in my life.
Spy. Brought up on a diet of James Bond, I went through quite a phase of wanting to be a secret agent (which manifest as going on covert operations with my brother during the school summer holidays). However, a spy is really just a glorified civil servant. Given the massive job cuts currently going on in the public sector, now might not be the best time for a foray into the world of spooks.
Detective. My favourite questions are why? how? who? Such an inquisitive nature seems ideally suited for detective work but this career path is likely to be stymied by the aforementioned job cuts. I suppose I could look into the world of private investigation, something along the lines of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (but in Scotland rather than Botswana).
Novelist. Apparently, everyone has a novel in them. I’ve been trying to write a novel while on my career break—kind of chick lit meets crime fiction—but not much actual writing has occurred as yet. Despite following the advice in Louise Doughty’s How to Write a Novel in Year (granted, I still have half a year to go).
Running my own tea shop/handbag emporium. This is a long-cherished dream, marrying two of my favourite things: handbags and cake. Perhaps this option is the most likely contender for my ‘masterplan’, although the prospect of dealing with the general public does put me off somewhat.
Stand-up comedian. I think I’m pretty funny so making people laugh for a living could be rewarding. Nowadays, comedians get loads of gigs on TV panel shows (is Sarah Millican ever off the telly?!) It would be worth while to get into stand-up just so I could be on Noel Fielding’s team on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. On a negative note, not sure I could cope with the hecklers.
Archaeologist. Brought on by the Indiana Jones franchise. Not really a serious contender—I’m not that keen on mud.
Running a village post office. I had a toy post office set when I was little. How I loved all the stamps and postal orders (do these still exist?) Not really a goer, though, given that rural post offices are closing at an alarming rate. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance that one day I might end up staring down the wrong end of a sawn-off shotgun.
Forensic scientist/pathologist/psychologist. I come from a science background, so forensics wouldn’t be a huge leap of career faith for me. However, I already know from previous experience that the day-to-day doing of lab work is nowhere near as exciting as it seems on TV shows like CSI, Silent Witness and Waking the Dead.
The first female Dr Who. No explanation required really.
Well, that little exercise in self-administered careers advice has certainly given me something to think about. At least another six months’ worth of stuff to think about, I would say (at a conservative estimate). In the meantime, I really must sign off from the blogosphere and crack on with the important job of finishing that Jackie Collins novel…