The Career Path

Every little boy and little girl dreams of being something special when they grow up. A satisfying, enjoyable job that they’d do just for fun if they could. Some dreams change, some come true, some remain elusive. Mine? Shall I start by excluding the dream of playing football for a living and captaining England to five successive World Cup victories? I have, just recently, accepted that this may not come to pass.

The first career I chose for myself was palaeontology. I must have been about twelve when I became fixated on dinosaurs. If you were wondering where my passion for turtles originates, then there you go. You might think that a young lad who not only knows that such a word as palaeontology exists, but could spell it as well, was nailed on to be an ologist of some sort. Unfortunately, I was an awkward and stubborn school boy if not kept sufficiently entertained. I could entertain myself. My science teacher allowed me to spend the entire last term before exams reading and writing about dinosaurs.

New Turtle Rock

I completely ignored the actual science class in the run up to vital CE exams, but if I was being quiet and not being disruptive/burning things/encouraging the new boy from Indonesia to eat insects/stealing chunks of sodium to throw in sinks, then that was fine by her. The day of the exam arrived, and I hadn’t a clue what anything on the paper meant. The entire one hour exam was multiple choice and I finished it in less than two minutes, randomly ticking boxes and excused myself. I will never forget the look of utter disgust on the face of Mrs Daniels when I passed the exam, scraping a C. Of the eight or nine exams, I passed them all with several As and went to a pretty decent independent school. Did you click the link and check it out? Yes, it’s really that old. As old as the Elizabethan building that makes up part of it.

My education finished abruptly and without qualification at the age of sixteen. I was bored, and the opportunity of working in a local convenience store and earning money seemed more appealing. I know. I have long appreciated, with the joy of hindsight, that this probably wasn’t the smartest move of my life. But there you are. I could have, should have, would have, but….well. Such is life. All too late to worry about what might have been now, isn’t it.

The final straw at that school was with the Divinity class. Religious education. Technically speaking, Divinity is the closest I came to a qualification. I did return one piece of coursework for the GCSE. A number of days late, and after a suspension for failing to do so. I had by this stage developed my own line of thought regards Christianity which ran rather counter to the official school position. As a compulsory subject, it was, I suggested at the time, little more than a brainwashing exercise. The course work required four pages of A4 with something or other about Jesus on it. I returned four pages. Each with one very large word on it. Jesus Did Not Exist. My effort was grudgingly accepted, I left the school shortly after by mutual agreement and about six months later I received a letter through the post grading my Divinity as U for unmarked.

The Old School Tie

I’ve wandered off topic. I do this too frequently. Back to the subject of careers. My next choice of career was rather more practical. I had a  fascination for cars and decided to be a car mechanic. I was in many ways being a realist, and understood that Ferrari were probably not going to ask me to design their next generation of sportsters, not request me to race their F1 models round Silverstone. Being a mechanic was probably my most likely route into working with cars. And yet, anyone who knows me will probably be only too aware that I’m no more car mechanic material than I am divinity teacher material.

My next career crush was to be a barrister. This remains the most far fetched career dream of them all. More so than even the football one. Don’t laugh – I did, after all, at least actually play football. But I did want to pit my wits and exercise my sarcasm in a court of law, prosecuting or defending common criminals. It would have been fun. I think I’d have been good at it. The only draw back being the incredibly lengthy educational process required to get to such a position. It takes drive, determination and sacrifice. And there was absolutely no bloody way I had the time spare to do any of that. I briefly looked at being a Legal Executive. Much easier to do. I settled for giving errant acquaintances advice on how to get themselves out of legal scrapes instead. I invented a number of good stories and had reasonable success. Unpaid success. I then experimented with the military and signed up with the RAF. It was an all too brief encounter. Not, entirely, down to anything I did wrong. For once.

Always Ready For Action, Man

The legal and military urges passed and my attention turned to politics. No qualifications needed. Just have a few ideas, a £500 deposit and a couple of friends nominate you and before you know it, you’re enrolled as a candidate in the General Election. You might even get on TV, especially if you dress up as a clown and think up a cool name. Most politicians are well educated though, and not clowns. Of course. Well…not openly dressed as clowns. Proverbial clowns? Maybe. Although I’ve always rather thought that far too many of them became MPs because they went to good schools that daaddy could afford, passed their exams because they were obedient, but became politicians because they are generally not bright enough to do a proper job. Anyway, I’ve never had £500 to spare. So I’ve not had my moment in the political limelight. Yet.

So instead, I’ve spent the best part of twenty years in retail, with half a dozen years teaching English in Mexico and two years selling home insurance over the phone. None of which were ever the dream. Although the middle one wasn’t a bad job at all. But maybe there is still hope. Throughout all those years there was one other vocation which endured. I always enjoyed writing. Am I any good at it? I feel my blog lets me down. Others might disagree, and I thank you for doing so in advance. But my blog contains far too few posts which could be considered polished pieces of writing.

My blog is awfully spontaneous. If I could just write a post, leave it for a few hours then come back to it, to cut out the crap, to add some substance and to at least check the grammar and spelling….well, I’d have a few more articles to be proud of. As it is, I type furiously away, with frequently interruptions, during scarce moments of free time and slam down on the ‘publish’ button without a second thought. This post will be no exception. Tsk. But still. With more effort, more dedication and more time – I live in hope. Opportunities do come by now and then. I’d love a crack at this job. I have applied.

Otherwise, my writing career will plod on with this blog. Maybe I’ll write a book one day. I know, technically I already have. But I mean I’d like to write a book that someone else would publish, as opposed to the Do It Yourself sort of publishing. Kindle has opened up all sorts of opportunities. I hear that erotic fiction is the niche to go to for a quick buck. Don’t knock it. It’s also a good way into politics


20 thoughts on “The Career Path

    • Thanks Peter. I went back to this post a while later. Two spelling mistakes that I unmistaked, a couple of awkward phrases unawkwarded and a pair of grammatical errors that I have now unerred. I declare this post to be fully polished. No spit necessary.


    • Go for it I shall. But I’m not counting on it. The Mexile is hardly the go to place for hard hitting investigative journalism.

      Although having said that….does anyone remember my post on the Laughing Coyote School of English?!? So long ago….


  1. Dana Jennings says:

    You seem exceptionally qualified for the online community management jobs I see posted . There are degree plans now in social media
    and its mgt. Slightly related I think you’d excel at tech sales. I’m sending this from a new samsung galaxy note, which I chose in part due to some of your comments. Also, marikesh, thailand, prague…….??????? You kill as travel advisor for the average pocketbook joe.


    • Dana, you’ve knocked off the top three killer jobs that I’d die for. Online management is something I really looked at getting into when I returned to the UK. Alas, there are degrees in the subject now, which means that most corporations will pick up graduates over experience/enthusiasm every time. And it matters not one fig how incompetent, incapable and inappropriate that graduate is for the job. Also, most of these jobs are so unimaginatively utilised and most conversations are probably 50% copy paste phrases.

      Going off slightly at a tangent (although not entirely off topic), the job hunting scene in the UK is just a depressing, soul destroying and full of downright pointless and incompetent procedures. I could easily write a book on it, let alone a post. But quite frankly, I think I’d jump off a tower block before I finished it.

      I recently applied for a job cleaning trains. Not the dream, but it’s in London and pays ok. I spent twenty minutes filling out the basics, then got to what seems to have become the standard set of competency and situational questions. I understand the need for decent screening for highly skilled jobs, but this ain’t one of them There’s nothing really to be said. It’s just cleaning. A bit of freaking hoovering and a splash of lemon pledge.

      I think I put a vague amount of effort into the first question. Then they wanted to know about my experience in cleaning and something I once did. I’ve been wiping my own behind for well over three decades without incident. Does that count? I’ve watched Consuela do it on Family Guy, and it doesn’t look so tough. I bleach the bathroom every week. In fact I can tell you that bleach contains nonionic and anionic surfactant. I’m married to a Mexican. Wherever I am in the home, I am never more than 6 feet away from a bottle of bleach.Is there seriously any part of this cleaning trains lark that can’t be taught within five minutes of turning up for the first day of work?!

      What would I do if I noticed a customer had spilled her coffee on the table? Well, I would of course remove her sweater from the seat next to her, wipe up the coffee with it, and then dispose of the sweater by throwing it out the window. Is there another way of dealing with such a situation?

      Then the best question. My career goals. What are they, exactly? If it’s to be in cleaning trains for the rest of my life, kill me now. I then bothered to press submit. I don’t hold high hopes. But we can but wait and see. I’ve also applied as a manager of a mobile phone shop. I filled that one in properly, but I don’t hold out much hope.

      My most recent application was to a home insurance firm, just from round the corner from where I work now. To put this in perspective. I’ve got two years experience, my attendance record is exemplary. I rake in plenty of commission – more than anyone else on the team for the last two months. My compliance is virtually perfect. I am a conscientious person with empathy for the customer. My customer service skills are, even if I say so myself, superb. I am in no doubt that If employed by this company, I would be in the top 10% of their sales force. My application was automatically rejected, without explanation, within sixty seconds of having submitted it. I very much doubt that a human will ever see it. Turds, all of them.

      And don’t even get me started on the employment agencies. Worse than turds. But I feel better now, having vented….


    • Oh, the travel writer job. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? I recently found.the Travelista on WordPress. I think she liked one of my posts. She has that job. There’s an interesting article she wrote about how she got it. Or, to give her her dues, how she made it. Am I jealous? You bet!


      I hope your enjoying the Note, by the way! You really can’t go too far wrong with a Samsung these days.


      • perhaps beating a dead horse here, or a dead topic: but have you considered NOB, as in Texas, specifically Houston or Dallas, for job opportunity.? It is so booming here, and Houston especially is open to experienced personnel, not necessarily degreed. It’s still like the wild west here in attitude, w/out the horses and cowboys/indians.
        So close to Mexico, too, for Lady D. The guy at the Verizon store where I added my Note purchase to our existing account, He’s from San Miguel de Allende, and goes back and forth to and fro, to see his wife and 2year old son, until he can import them here legally. He’s invited me to tag along with him sometime, which i likely will. Flights are that affordable.
        So for you:
        Tech sales by day…..regular paycheck. Travel blogger in spare time, while you keep going for the gold; your true niche…..social network management with big check and benefits,….it will happen for you.


        • A move NOB was something we once considered, but the bureaucracy and length of time it would take was all too problematic. I’d like too, but it’s just not very doable.

          So I will keep looking and see where Lady Luck takes me!


      • Hi Gary, thanks for the mention – very kind of you. So glad you enjoyed my article. It’s funny, I never even thought to share my story of how I got in to travel blogging until recently. But it’s had such a great response I have been overwhelmed! I decided to publish my story as a bit of inspirational reading for people hoping to achieve the same or something similar. I really was just a ‘tea girl’ who made the most of an awesome opportunity – and got a foot in the door to my dream career! I have really enjoyed your career post 🙂
        Best wishes and stay in touch,
        Jess , The Travelista x


        • I’ve enjoyed a fair few of your articles. With most success stories there’s a big dollop of luck – being in the right place at the right. But it’s not all down to luck. You have to take a risk, hold on during the bumps and keep on going.

          I am, generally speaking, risk averse. I think so anyway – others might point to my selling everything I own and moving to Mexico about eight years back something of a risk. But that was just a load of pointless material possessions and a fairly miserable job (although I’d happily take it back now!

          I’d love to be young and single again. That’s when it’s easiest to jump at opportunities. I’d take far more risks if I had a second bite at the cherry. But don’t tell my wife this!


  2. Looks like an interesting job. You clearly have digital publishing experience, and your six years teaching English in Mexico seems like an interesting life experience to bring to the job too.

    And if you get it, and it ends for good in 12 months, well there’s your excuse to return to DF.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where one fantasy real estate opportunity in DF was just sold out from under us.


    • I’d love it. I’d love to have the time to actually focus on writing. It does need time.

      There’s always a good excuse to go back to DF. It’s raining today, for example. Let’s skip back, says I. However, I am but a man, in a woman’s world! 🙂


      • Yeah, it friggin’ rains here ALL THE TIME. That is, when it’s not snowing.

        At least the rainfall in DF has the sense to be positively torrential for a half-hour or so, and then has the decency to stop. None of this drizzling on all day nonsense.


    • Steve, I pay special attention to your posts, looking for mistakes and typos. On the rare occasions I find one, it get a sense of smug satisfaction that if even the gods of blogging can err, then my little mistakes here and there become just that little bit more forgiveable!


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