Posts Tagged ‘mentoring’

Career Realities podcast #5:
Matt Callard on mentoring, speech therapy and finding work you love

May 15th, 2015 No comments

This Career Realities interview is with Matt Callard, who is a mentor at speech therapy group the Starfish Project. Since attending the project for his own stammering eight years ago Matt discovered a passion for speaking and advocating for the project and speech therapy. In the interview he talks about his criteria for finding both paid and unpaid work (and how pay is not the important factor), about how people are much more approachable regarding unpaid work than you think, and how trying out ten jobs unpaid for a day is much better than trying out one job paid for six months.

Of particular interest was Matt talking about how the fulfillment you take from work is also down to the frequency with which you do it – that even work that you love pales in enjoyment if you begin to do that work repeatedly, day after day. Although Matt was not talking about artists here, this feels particularly relevant to artists: how you might strive to get paid for the particular art that you enjoy, but once you come to do it as a paid job, it becomes just that, a paid job, and the pleasure from it disappears. (It’s something I’ve had a problem with in keeping this website, and this podcast. I haven’t found the answer.)

The Career Realities podcast series attempts to uncover the hidden realities of day-to-day work culture in various careers – the hours, the workload, the shift patterns – and questions the often-repeated assumption that paid work is our primary source of life fulfillment.

(For a more extensive introduction to the Career Realities interviews see here.)

Podcast excerpts:

On asking yourself the question ‘what do I like to do?’

[When trying to work out what work I really wanted to do] I was literally getting a piece of paper, and writing down a load of things. And then I found it quite important in hindsight that some of them much more suited being unpaid, and some could possibly fit with being paid. And again some things fitted with not having any restriction on frequency. I remember thinking at the time that I really like being outdoors, I really like exploring places. But if I had a paid job doing that it’s likely that you’d be restricted in doing that, you couldn’t just go where you want, when you want. So if part of your passion is being outdoors, maybe that fits better with being unpaid, in your own time. […] The most important thing was going out and trying loads of stuff. I never intended being a mentor, but I went on this course and discovered that’s what I wanted to do.

On the importance of the frequency of your own work

So a good example for me is, regarding my speech, I’ve been lucky enough to do a number of things in the last few years that have involved quite exciting opportunities, like speaking on the radio […] But if I was to say I wanted to speak on the radio all the time that’s quite a difficult thing to get in to. It’s possible but actually my enjoyment is in the random opportunities that have come along and because they’ve not been paid or require that frequency they’ve been more exciting to me. Whereas if that was restricted by the need for a certain frequency, or payment, there would be a lot less opportunities. I certainly would have done a lot less of the things I’ve done if I’d needed to be paid for it.

On trying stuff out to see what you like

That’s so much easier to do when it’s unpaid. Because I’ve done quite a lot of work experience when it’s just for one day. Go and meet a few people doing certain things you might have some interest in. You might discover after that one day that you have no interest in it. But that’s quite useful. […] I’ve always liked sport and healthfitness, and I’ve approached a lot of local sports clubs, and quite quickly you pick up, do I get on well with these people, do I like this sort of work they’re doing. And you could get a paid job and realise that after a few months.

On approaching people for work experience

I used to write a lot of emails and go and visit people, just in areas I had some interest in, and people would generally respond I found, just because it’s not a paid approach, you’re just asking them for a bit of advice.

More about stammering support and the Starfish Project