Career Advice

Career Survival Guide! Escape the ‘Married at First Sight’ Trap

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We’ve all seen at least one episode of Married at First Sight by now. It’s car crash television, but we can’t look away. Why? Because we know that this is never going to work out, and we just can’t resist the fallout. 

The fact is that, for all kinds of logical reasons, getting married to someone you’ve just met is a significant gamble. Yet, if we consider how most of us enter our chosen careers, it tends to have a worrying, if unexpected, correlation with the mistakes that those couples make on-screen. Only, instead of rushing down the aisle with a career that we can’t be sure of, we spend years studying for this unknown. 

This is an issue, especially when we consider that modern-day students face escalating debts of around $32,731, while courses take anywhere between three to four years to complete. That’s a lot of time and money to dedicate to something that, in all honesty, could turn out to be entirely ill-suited to your lifestyle. 

This is an unfortunate position that an astounding amount of college leavers find themselves in, putting them back at square one before their careers have even started. To make sure you aren’t one of them and that your career most definitely isn’t a trainwreck episode of Married at First Sight, consider the following ways to create some much-needed knowns in even your long-term career trajectory. 

1. Find flexible study options

If we go to college straight after high school, then most of us won’t even have worked more than the odd Saturday shift by the time we get our degrees. This can make the actual career switch something of a culture shock, a fact that only gets worse when you consider that the vast majority of fresh graduates have never worked a day in their careers of choice, except for the odd work placement if their course offers it (more on that later.) 

For obvious reasons, this makes the education-career transition incredibly difficult to handle and may well lead to the realization that your career of choice couldn’t be a worse fit. To avoid this rather worrying eventuality, it may instead be worth your while to choose from the many flexible learning opportunities that are now available, especially across online platforms. That way, whether you’re learning how to run an office, how to become a construction manager, or some other specialist subject, you’ll have the time to get general workplace experience under your belt and perhaps even accept non-degree positions in your chosen career. This way, you get a tantalizing taste of what’s to come and whether it’s the lifestyle fit you always imagined.

2. Always make the most of work experience where you can

You could also benefit greatly from making the most of your work experience. Again, flexible or part-time study is a preferable option for this, ensuring that you have the time you need to pick up internships or other such roles that put you on the floor for first-hand understanding. 

Some college courses offer this option as standard, and many graduates even land their first roles by accepting these opportunities. Equally, many workplaces will advertise for internships, etc., and will favor college students for such positions, providing you with a bit of extra cash and some invaluable insight into what your future career holds and whether you can see yourself doing that in the long term. If not, then you can at least change your degree or speak with your professor to consider your options before you’ve wasted too much time or left education altogether. 

A degree is a commitment that requires a little more than that first lustful feeling. Ensure that your career, or the further opportunities your degree offers, have the staying power necessary to reach their ruby anniversary.Click To Tweet

3.  Be aware of specialist options

The simple fact is that a career is not a marriage contract, and a degree doesn’t bind you to a specialist subsect within your industry of choice. Of course, this is more relevant in some areas than others. For instance, a degree in working with children will often translate from the classroom or nursery into childminding, nanny positions and beyond. Several other fields also share this benefit, especially if you recognize a desire to change specialization in plenty of time before graduation. 

With this in mind, it’s always worth considering options on the table either before or during your studies. Specifically, you want to know that if you do find yourself in an ill-suited role, your degree will still serve you by helping you to settle on something better suited to your requirements/tastes. Even better, this knowledge could see you embarking on work experience in each of these different areas and ultimately tailoring your education as you work towards a career that you’ve built on a far stronger foundation than you ever could have otherwise. 

4.  Know how your degree applies elsewhere

In extreme cases, it may be that it’s the industry rather than your specialization within it that doesn’t suit your needs. Luckily this is rare, but it does happen, and it helps to acknowledge that. After all, even if you’re passionate about a subject or undertaking, working within that field can be an incredibly different beast and not always a well-suited one. 

That said, even this doesn’t need to see you divorcing your degree when you consider that, often, even a reasonably specialist degree tends to be applicable elsewhere. An IT degree, for instance, could be helpful for any office jobs that require software handling, while even an English degree could help you to secure a job in a business that requires a lot of written content. Failing all else, note that many positions, especially those in office environments, often simply stipulate the requirement for ‘degree level education,’ ensuring that your degree at least gets your foot in the door. 

A final word

Falling in love with a career is one thing, but a degree is a commitment that requires a little more than that first lustful feeling. Ensure that your career, or the further opportunities your degree offers, have the staying power necessary to reach their ruby anniversary by considering these stipulations sooner rather than later.

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