Career – take a care

Career – take a care

April 3, 2019 0 By Shan Ellis Williams

From the age of ten, I always knew what I wanted to do. My career was always set out like a landing strip in front of me. I wanted to be a medical doctor. There was never any question that I wouldn’t achieve what I dreamed to be. It seemed that hard work, effort, and a lot of dedication would be all that was needed to get me there. But I never got ‘there’. Hard work and effort were never the problem. It was a bit more complicated than that.

ten pieces of valuable advice Id give the teenage me
Guess which one I am

At sixteen, with eleven A, A* and two B grades under my belt from perseverance during GCSE, I made my first mistake. Distraction. I couldn’t decide which path to take so I followed my heart and my head. Science and the arts. At the time it was unheard of. There was no way the school I attended could schedule Sciences and art subjects so that I could attend both lessons. No way. So, I ended up teaching myself half of the lessons I should have attended at A-level.

The long and winding road

I think I had my first bonafide nervous breakdown before doing my A-levels. Suddenly, I became very depressed, putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect, which by now I know doesn’t exist. I pushed all those friendships I’d formed aside, in the pursuit of hard work.

Needless to say, I missed out on getting into medicine at Liverpool University. By one grade. One lousy grade. Such was my pride in wanting to be the first of my family to go to Uni, off I went that year to do Biomedical Sciences. Three years I thought. Then a 2:1 and I can do three years Post Grad to become the doctor I wanted to be.

I found distraction instead. Student nights, the Foo fighters, wild men, even wilder friends, and I was so lost in this whirly gig of being a small fish in a big city I got completely lost along the way and forgot. Forgot who I planned to be and dimmed the lights of the landing strip . I’m pretty sure that I waited until I was 19 to rebel completely against the image of the goody two shoes I’d portrayed very well at school. But rebel I did. Big time.

Wah, where’s my career?

Fast forward twenty years. I got that doctorate, but in something completely random, that now I can’t use. At the grand old age of 41 I know what I can do and what I can’t. And now is the time for exercising the fact that I am mature, qualified and totally excellent at what I do. How do I show other people however, on one piece of paper that I’m still a firecracker? I was far more confident in applying for professional positions in my early twenties. Before wrinkles, kids, and mortgages started burdening me with thought of OH MY GOD I MUST KEEP EARNING OR THE KIDS WILL STARVE….kicked in.

Moving on…

I sat in an interview a few weeks ago, and the employer asked me to speak about myself. All I could say was, well I’m like everyone’s mum really. I sit down with people and a very well made cup of tea, and I listen to their woes, if I deem it appropriate I’ll offer them a solution. But that isn’t all that I’m about, surely! I’m also brimming with ideas, blue sky thinking, eager to create and write. Always forthright.

I’m crossing everything that I’m not washed up. I’m more than a sum of my parts as I’ve said previously, some of my parts are by now exceedingly wonky. I’ve so many skills to offer, and I truly believe I will one day just slot in and fit. Or maybe I should just keep carving out this little piece of the interwebs where I feel my catharsis simply drifting into black and white wordpress boxes.

The answers were there for me twenty odd years ago. A in English, B in music. When your strengths are in your art subjects, then go and study and excel at your art subjects. Don’t force your spherical body into a triangular hole. Incidentally it was Biology, my strongest subject in GCSE, which failed me. I’m still haunted by sitting in that exam room. Years later. Did I let myself down? Yes. Am I over it? I still have something to prove.


So, the advice I’ll give my children will be simply this. Do what makes you happy. Don’t spend half of your life cowering on the dark side of the moon when it’s your time to shine. Work hard, get to know yourself, don’t be shy about what you’re good at, but also accept you’re not going to be good at everything.

Here endeth the lesson.

Me x

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