Alix King

Freelance Copywriter

Does everyone have a career catalyst?

bermuda

With the latest release of the A level results, it reminded me of how nervous I was when I received mine, worried that if I didn’t choose the correct path at university, then I would be ‘stuck’ with that career, and could never change.

Looking back at my career history, I realise that change is easier than I once thought. Brave, difficult, but not impossible. We CAN change along the way.

But do we think about the catalyst behind a job or career change?

I’ve had a few job changes along the way, and career changes at that. But what caused¬†those changes?

Journalism first

I went through my career history. In most circumstances, It was ME who was the catalyst for change, it was ME who made the decision. I have ants in my pants (not literally) and have a thirst for knowledge and experience, so it was ME who first decided, after my journalism degree, that I was having far too much fun in magazine journalism (to be honest, working at FHM and Loaded WAS fun) and needed something ‘serious’ on my CV, so embarked on something else.

Not just anything though, oh no. I thought I’d go for super serious. I thought i’d go and do a law degree!

It was then also ME who decided to mix my two skills; become a legal writer for a sports agency. It was still ME who decided I needed some more experience after that (and some sun!) so worked in Bermuda as a media reporter for a criminal barrister.

I know, right? If you’ve just Googled ‘Bermuda’, it’s a whole first page of images of paradise.It was a good change, methinks. (that image above is REAL). Well done me! It’s a British colony, It’s a tax haven, it’s Bermuda-ful, as they say.

Let’s do law

Bermuda law is loosely based on English Common Law. It’s self regulated and a fused profession. This means that there is no distinction between a solicitor and a barrister. What this meant for me is that I got to go to (let’s call it ‘high court’) every day – for shoplifting cases, for murder cases, for boundary disputes, you name it, they dealt with it there. It was fascinating.

I was having a great time. and so was my bank balance. So you’ll understand when I tell you that the catalyst for leaving the island, and my job, wasn’t ME this time.

I had a moped accident. A serious moped accident. It was my fault, there was no alcohol involved, (this is one of the first things that people ask me) it was purely down to my inexperience on two wheels. It was the catalyst that I couldn’t control.

Back to England

I was shipped back home to my mum’s in Hampshire, and so began my long recovery. I felt I had hit rock bottom. But there was still a chance for change – and I was again in the driving seat! (bad pun) It was ME who could be the catalyst for change.

Before I could work full time again, I did some volunteer work. Considering my background – I decided carefully on what that would be. I shadowed a Legal Aid criminal barrister for a few months. Hey, it wasn’t Bermuda – but I was on my way.

When I could work part time, I found a job in a local solicitors. This was private client work, (drafting wills, powers of attorney) not that exciting. But I had made a decision. I was making a natural progression.

I then recovered fully, and was given the go-ahead to work full time again. I was given a natural re-set button. (we don’t get those very often). I thought long and hard, and came to the conclusion that law wasn’t for me.

I had made a conscious decision to completely change my career path. It was now ME again that was the strongest catalyst for my career change, and I felt that going back to my first love, my first career of writing, was a good decision.

I spoke to some of my old contacts, went head-first into building my journalism and writing career in Bournemouth (and surrounding areas), and did my hardest to make a success of it.

Fast forward six years, and I run my own business from home, have some fantastic clients, have had the chance to travel and can even pay my mortgage! You could say that it’s the best decision I ever made. And it happened because of a career catalyst – that was out of my control.

If I could go back and give advice to waiting-for-A-level-results-Alix, I wouldn’t say a thing. Making mistakes, bad decisions, and HUGE changes along the way can only help your career. I’ve done it, and I survived.