What is a ‘forever career’ and does it even exist?
I touched upon dream jobs in my latest podcast episode and the fact that we weren’t put on this earth to have our lives revolve around our jobs, so is a ‘dream job’ something we should always be in pursuit of, or is it just something we need to put food on the table and a roof over our heads?
So in terms of career, is there something that we can do forever, for the rest of our lives? Is that something we want to do?
Podcast episode: Does a Dream Job Exist?
A generation thing
Looking at the careers of my parents and my aunts and uncles, the vast majority of them have been in the same job/company since they left school.
30-40 years doing the same job, working with the same people and going to the same place of work Monday-Friday for almost 40 years.
Growing up, I thought that was normality. That when I left school, went to university and graduated, I would choose a company and then spend the rest of my life working there.
But after leaving my hometown, moving to London and having my first ever ‘real job’, I soon learnt that this wasn’t the case for most people. It seemed like most companies had a revolving door and after a year or two, everyone leaves.
So I started to think, maybe what I’m doing now won’t be a forever thing. Maybe the company I go to after I graduate won’t be my workplace forever.
Is it the system’s fault?
It’s quite mind-blowing to me, looking back, that our schooling system makes us choose what we want to dedicate the next three/four or even more years to studying for our career and spend over £40k to do so.
How are we supposed to know what we want to do for our career at 18 years of age. We’re so easily influenced by friends and peers at that age that it’s so easy to make an incorrect decision, then have to live with the debt and further fees if we want to change course or leave higher education altogether.
I was lucky in that I chose a university that gave me an amazing experience and put me on the right path to a job and industry that I adore. But that so easily might not have been the case.
It was heavily suggested that I go down the accounting route since it’s a much more stable career, plus what the hell is PR anyway? I’m extremely glad that I didn’t, but so many people choose a career that they later have no interest in and don’t want to continue with.
For me, I knew I wanted to study public relations, but I chose the university that would give me the best social life and that was somewhere I would feel most at home. I didn’t choose the course with the best reviews or that was the best academic choice, and I’m so glad that I did it this way.
We could dive even deeper into this and talk about the class of covid and the things that they missed out on and how this is going to impact them for the rest of their lives, but I’ll leave that for another blog post.
How things have changed in my industry in the last five years
The biggest reason a ‘forever career’ doesn’t seem likely, is because everything changes. In my industry, I started out studying traditional public relations and this is what my first internships were based on, as well as my placement year.
However, my placement year was when everything was starting to majorly shift towards this new area of influencer marketing.
Fast forward five years and most of my job now centres around influencers whether it’s gifting them new products or working with them on a paid basis creating content on Instagram and TikTok. PR is still a part of my job, but only around 20%.
There’s been a huge shift in the industry with agencies set up solely to focus on influencer marketing, teams divided in two where employees either work in influencer marketing, or they work in traditional PR. Thankfully, I’m still able to do both as my love for magazines and publications is what brought me into this industry in the first place.
So how do I know what my ‘forever career’ will look like when my job has already changed so much in the space of five years?
How things have changed in the last five years globally
But of course, my industry isn’t the only one that has changed drastically in such a short amount of time.
With the evolution of AI we’re seeing massive cuts across tech companies. Because of inflation and the cost of living crisis, we’re seeing a lot of people being laid off quite rapidly and companies changing how they operate.
The high street is no more with online businesses much more prominent. The freelancing industry is booming as I see more and more journalists going freelance every single day, and more people wanting to work remotely following the pandemic.
More and more people are making money online being content creators and travelling all over the world. There is now so much to be made online from being an influencer, a writer, a content creator or even having an online store like an Etsy or eBay account.
No one knows how long the creator economy will last or if it’s sustainable for people to be full time content creators for the rest of their lives. While some would ask what ‘experience’ a full-time content creator has if they’ve never had an office job, they have ample amounts of transferrable skills from working for themselves and running an online content empire for so many years.
So what does a ‘forever career’ look like for people in those industries?
The world of monotony
On the other hand, while outside factors may force us to change and alter our career paths, there are internal forces at work that make us consider changing course.
Do we want to be doing the same thing every day for the rest of our lives? Is monotony what we strive for? Turning up at the same place every morning at 9am, leaving at 5pm and living every day like it’s groundhog day, apart from those 25 days of the year when we get to have some time off?
Is that what a dream life looks like?
For me, I hope not. I guess it helps a lot now that we can work from home which tones down the monotony quite a bit and stops each day feeling like groundhog day. Unless working from home is a full-time thing which drove me a little stir-crazy during the pandemic.
To me, working while being able to travel is probably the dream. Being able to slowly travel stopping somewhere for a month or two and basing myself there, then moving onto the next place for a month or two sounds like a great way to see the world while making enough money to keep up this lifestyle.
Is it doable? Yes. I could quit my job tomorrow and start travelling around Asia while making some money from freelancing gigs. However, is that what I want to do right this second? Not quite.
I have other goals that I’m working on at the moment career-wise and I’m happy with where I’m at right now, even though I do go on and on about hating London, I’m happy to be here for now.
A forever career doesn’t exist
To conclude, a ‘forever career’ doesn’t exist. For me, anyway. I think throughout the rest of my life I’ll constantly be changing with the trends that come along and with how the world of social media and influence work in particular.
Maybe someday I’ll be a full time YouTube creator and travel the world while making content. Now that would be a forever career I could get on board with.