Monday, 20 April 2009
Better Careers Advice (From Anne Fine)
Following on from the last post I would like to tell you about the best careers advice I ever received. This was also at school. I don't think it is surprising that it was from a writer.
Chilren's author Anne Fine (pictured above, doesn't she look like a lovely lady?) came to my school once to talk at our annual prize-giving. We normally had really boring people who were generally terribly sucessful in industry to come and talk to us about success, working hard and all those other quite dull things, but this year (god knows how) the school had managed to persuade someone famous and interesting to come and speak.
I remember Anne Fine's speech being witty and interesting, and I remember her talking about education and success not always being best measured by exam results but in terms of personal achievement and the satisfaction a person gains from a task. As I was sitting on the prize-winners' bench I remember not being that impressed by those sentiments; I wanted maximum fame and glory, thank you very much, but I appreciate what she was saying now that I am very much older and my life isn't measured in percentages and grades any more.
The one thing that really stuck out for me was her advice on what one should do with one's future.
"Find something you enjoy doing and do that."
At the time I wondered what on earth that would be; I was maybe thirteen or fourteen and enjoyed giggling my way around record shops, reading Point Horror, making mix tapes and going to friends' houses to chat. Not much you could build a career on.
But the fact that her advice stayed with me showed that it must have struck a chord somewhere: I think the idea of a job as something to be enjoyed was entirely new to me, but her sunny personality and obvious love of life gave her words weight. She had followed her own advice and it had worked well for her.