Here are some comments made by two people at various times in their working life – when they were 16, 26, 36, 46 and 56. Notice how many feelings, desires, hopes and fears are expressed. Which paragraph do you identify with most? Which person do you envy less, feel more sorry for?
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I can’t wait to leave school. I’m dying to start work. I mean to find a nice steady job in a well-established firm and intend to work my way up from the bottom. I’m anxious to learn about all sides of the business, because I hope to be on the management side by the time I’m 40.
I’m between jobs again at the moment. I’ve forced myself to stop worrying about it. I’ll be glad if I can keep finding work until I’m old enough to stop. I could do with three or four more long term temporary contracts. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to a permanent one, but…. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind going abroad, but I should think foreign employers would be a bit reluctant to take on someone my age.
I’d rather not think about how many jobs I’ve had. I used to dream of making my way up to the top of some firm or other – a firm of accountants, perhaps. Instead, I’ve settled for odd jobs here and there, aimed for posts they didn’t even consider me for, compromised left, right and centre and made do with what came my way. At times I would have given my right arm for a comfortable job, regular salary, some sort of prospects. And each time I accepted second or third best. I do so yearn for a second chance. Silly, isn’t it?
My twelfth job in ten years; it was the last thing I wanted. All I’ve ever asked for is a bit of security. I’m determined to keep this job with Button and Co. longer than the others, so I’m keen to make a good impression.
I’ve just had my notice from Smith Bros. Ltd. I’m dreading having to look round for work again. I’ve given up being choosy. I’d be more than happy just to have any sort of job now. I’m desperate to find anything that’s reasonable. I really have no strong preference anymore.
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I’m undecided as to whether to go on to university or leave school now. I feel quite tempted to start work in the real world, but on the other hand I’d quite like three years doing nothing very much and give myself time to make a choice of career. To tell the truth, I don’t really fancy getting tied down to one profession just yet.
I didn’t really plan to get into accountancy. I’m not sure I ever really wanted to work in the world of business, but there it is, here I am. I suppose I was just drawn to it somehow, attracted to it like a magnet. I’m going to give it a few more years and then change. I rather like the idea of being a journalist; there is a newspaper office just down the road.
I’d love to do something like teaching for a while, as a change from book-keeping. Teaching English to foreign students appeals to me; I really like the sound of it. For two pins, I’d leave James, James and James and try a summer course at the Sunshine School of English just down the road. To be quite honest, I just don’t feel like going into the office today – or ever again. I’m in the mood for something completely different.
Well, I’ve made a resolution to leave the old firm within the next eighteen months. I’m really looking forward to a change. I couldn’t face going on in accountancy until I retire. I feel inclined to try publishing; I’ve got my eye on a company just down the road. I have half a mind to write to them today.
I suppose I’m resigned to being an accountant with J, J and J until I’m know it’s too late to have regrets, but I do wish I had tried harder to make the break. I had every intention of doing so. There seemed to be so many options open once, so many alternatives to pick from, so many possibilities from which to choose. I recall how I flirted with journalism, how I was once quite committed to becoming a social worker, how I turned my back on a teaching career. I hate to admit it, but I fear it’s true. I’m longing for my retirement.