Do You Need To Plan Your Future? by Tom Foston
“Where do you want to be in five years?”
This was something I was asked towards the end of my time in education, when teachers and family expect you to have an understanding of what career you will choose. To me, this was an impossible question. How could I possibly know? What I enjoyed doing the most was socialising with friends, but sadly that doesn’t pay too well. To be completely honest, I didn’t want a job at all.
This could be down to having worked part-time throughout my teenage years in intensely boring jobs, none of which I was particularly good at;
Age 13-16, Paper Round
A job that requires you to work outside all year round, not ideal for someone with a severe hatred of winter.
Age 17, Cook at KCOM Stadium on Match Days
I can barely make toast… I lasted 2 shifts.
Age 17-18, Waiter at an Ice Cream Cafe
I spent more time mopping up milkshakes i had spilled on the way to the table than actually delivering them.
So, after completing my education, I was naturally apprehensive about joining the ‘real world’ of work as I feared things could only get worse. On top of this I still didn’t have a clue what field I wanted to work in.
Like many, I decided to just go with what I had done best in at school which for me was maths. I started looking at accountancy apprenticeships and had a few interviews but with no luck. I then went to a training provider to help me find an apprenticeship in accountancy or business admin. During a quick initial interview with one of the staff there, we got talking about how I was in a band and despite choosing a more academic path at college, I’d always preferred the more creative subjects at school. That’s when he mentioned the Marketing role that I currently hold.
I didn’t have a clue what Marketing was really (I guessed something to do with advertising) and I didn’t think it sounded great. However, I went to the interview reluctantly just because I didn’t want to be rude and even though the staff that interviewed me (my now Manager, Jess, Practice Manager, Anjeanette and Adviser PA, Beth) were lovely I still wasn’t sure this was going to be for me. But I was offered the job and to appease my parents who were urging me to find work, I took it.
After the first month, I knew I had made the right decision. I feel comfortable in this role and it fits my skill set very well. It also turned out that all those years of mind-numbing work as a teenager had given me a great work ethic. This combined with the support of Jess allowed me to excel in my role and become the first apprentice at the company to be taken off their apprenticeship 6 months early and thrown straight into a permanent position, an achievement I am very proud of.
Now, in my one-to-one’s with Jess, that question still comes up of ‘where do you want to be in five years?’ and the truth is I still don’t know. I know I’m happy in my current role but I don’t know what further responsibilities I would like to take on until I try them. But that’s okay.
My point is, sure it’s great to have a plan for your future, it will always help if you know where you would like to be so you can map out your route there. But as long as you work hard and take the opportunities that come your way, things will normally work out.
So don’t worry if you don’t know where you want to be in five years, you’ll only be asking yourself the same question once you get there.