It's a hard knock life

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Although education is important, BRND WGN’s Content Writer, Johann Agius, believes work experience is the only way to discover what you really want to do. And get good at it.

When it comes to your career, there’s more to life than getting good grades and a PhD. That’s the life lesson I’ve learnt from spending the last nine months as a Wagoneer. 

I’m finally being asked questions about my job, rather than what I’m studying, after many years in full-time eduction. I do think excelling academically is important though. In fact, I’m still reading for a Masters part-time. But it’s the countless internships and my current job which have honed the creative industry-employed individual I am today. 

Although I have eventually decided what I want to do, I still don’t really know what I’m doing - but in reality, who does? Instead, I’m savouring the opportunity to learn something new every day, both on-the-job and from my fellow Wagoneers, rather than from a textbook.

I felt like I was thrown into the deep-end when I originally enrolled at university. I wanted to choose a career path that would make everyone happy, as opposed to what I was sure I wanted to pursue. How can a confused 18-year-old know what he wants to do for the rest of his life anyway? I only chose law because, in my mind, it was the ‘right’ thing to do.

But it wasn’t. After four years of stressful studying, yearly resits and being judged as unambitious, I eventually decided a career in law was not for me. It did not make me happy. Luckily I had interned in various media establishments which had. 

So, through real life experience, I realised what I wanted to do. And that is how I ended up at BRND WGN. Now I am very happy, and aware that choosing a job has to do with what you like to do and are good at.

This is not a blog about my life. This is my way of explaining how difficult it is to expect teenagers to decide on their future profession. Only by experiencing different environments can an informed choice be made. If uninformed, the chances are the person will quit and choose something different. 

So, for what it’s worth, here are five pieces of advice on how to find the career that suits you, inspired by my story:

  1. Be motivated outside of academia. Employers appreciate who the true you is and you’ll shine brighter at interviews, because outside interests increase your transferable skills.
  2. Don’t be scared to study and work at the same time - they compliment each other and stop the gap between education and the workplace being too vast. 
  3. Make lists of anything and everything you want to achieve. Then find a job that would allow this to happen - if you don’t enjoy your career, you’ll never reach your goals. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to switch professions at any time if you know it is the right thing to do.
  5. Know what you like doing and are good at - if you don’t enjoy what you do you won’t want to do it. 

And remember: being good at something doesn’t happen overnight. On-the-job training takes over from studying, and it should never stop. Make sure you choose a job that gives annual appraisals with training and development plans. Good luck!