The Career Realities podcast

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At school and through university, my knowledge of the working life of adults was pretty much limited to their job titles: doctor, banker, call-centre operator. (Sometimes a job title told me even less: management consultant, quantum physicist, futures trader.) I knew something of what these jobs entailed: doctors cured sick people, bankers managed (or mis-managed) money, call-centre operators answered phone queries. But I knew very little at all of the work culture of these professions: of how much autonomy you had in your work, of the hours and shift patterns, of the burden of the workload – of any of the details of these professions that would, should I choose to follow one of these careers, have the most impact on the way I lived as an adult.

I stumbled forward into the careers that I pursued almost blind to what they would mean to my life, to how they would make me feel at the end of each working day. And discovered that, even though I found careers in highly sought-after professions, in television, film and publishing, these careers did very little for the kind of life I had hoped to lead. That is, one where I had  work that I found genuinely fulfilling. And so I eventually abandoned the idea of a full-time profession for the self-made career I describe in The Tyranny of Careers.

Some insight into the reality of work culture might have propelled me towards a self-made career much more quickly. So I have begun a new podcast series called Career Realities: interviews about the day-to-day realities of being a teacher, or designer, or computer programmer, of working in the music industry and of many other types of career. Most of my interviewees are people who have made a self-made career for themselves: one that combines paid work with work of their own that they find truly fulfilling, in contrast to the traditional careers they used to pursue. They’re not necessarily all ‘successful’, or exactly where they want to be with their work – but hopefully their interviews will give you some idea of the unpredictable ways in which we end up finding the work we love, and shed some light for others on the realities of full-time careers. And how you might go about avoiding them.

The Career Realities podcasts began in January 2015 – if you would like to be updated when they are broadcast, subscribe to the newsletter on this website. (There will also be notifications on my tumblr, Facebook and Twitter pages. Thank you for (future) listening. Or you can subscribe to the podcast itself: (iTunes | RSS)

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