When we were at school, we were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And we’d answer: a vet, a policeman, maybe even a journalist.
The truth is, though, that a “job for life” is pretty unusual and even out-dated now. This is both a curse (if you know exactly what you want to be) and a blessing (if, like most of us, you don’t).
A similar point was raised in a recent graduation special of the ever-excellent Woman’s Hour (well worth a listen for all of us).
So you want to be a journalist? Congratulations – you already have more clarity about your dream career than most. But what kind of journalist do you want to be and how are you going to get there?
I actually find the idea of meandering my way into as ‘career’ rather reassuring as it leaves room for trial and error. But it means being flexible, thinking strategically and keeping your mind open.
For some it is as bold as moving abroad in the hope of working their way to becoming a foreign correspondent.
For most it means thinking tactically about the different skills you’ll pick up from different jobs – even work experience.
At the beginning of our year at City, for example, none of us were really expecting to work on a trade magazine - now a fair few of us (me included) are having a great time at trade and B2B magazines. I view my internship at Pulse as an opportunity to really expand and solidify my online skills, from coding to video editing.
Don’t worry if your first job isn’t your dream; think of it as a building block. Your career path will be less of a bomb up the motorway and more a winding route, a series of diversions and crossroads. Embrace the fact that your final destination may be entirely different from the one you set out for.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look