What does it mean to have a career?

Last night I was invited to attend a speed networking careers evening at a local secondary school. Around 50 15-year-olds got to spend 3 minutes each with me, asking about my career and how I got into it and what I like about it.

This morning I had a bit of a breakdown about it. If you watch my Instagram stories you’ll know all about it as I talked at length as I walked the dog, feeling very sorry for myself and rather hormonal about the whole thing. People sent me lovely reassuring messages and I may or may not have cried reading them in the park.

I think it started to feel wrong when I realised that instead of using the quirky but professional headshot I had sent them for the brochure, they’d used this photo of me from Instagram instead, where I’d found the kids’ dressing up box in a castle:

imposter syndrome

Normally this wouldn’t have bothered me, I would have found it funny, but when your HRT patch is due a change and you’ve spent some time in the afternoon crying in a Starbucks toilet because your dog needs a £4,000 root canal, you feel a little more vulnerable I guess. I was experiencing imposter syndrome and here was a picture of me LITERALLY dressed up as someone else.

As the evening progressed, I felt more and more out of my depth.

‘What are you interested in?’ I asked two boys. ‘Aviation,’ they both said, looking wistfully at the aviation engineer on the table next to me.’

‘Are you interested in social media?’ I asked a shiny-faced girl. ‘Yeah, I have over 30,000 followers on TikTok so I wouldn’t mind going into marketing maybe.’


At least half of them asked me how I got into writing and I had to tell them that I’d really just been watching a lot of Sex And The City. ‘What degree did you have to do?’ they’d ask. ‘I did economics,’ I said, ‘which is sort of irrelevant I guess.’

‘What do you like most about your job?’ some asked. ‘I like not being told what to do by men,’ I answered, possibly too honestly.

I told one of them about my first ever job – a paper round – and how I gave up halfway around when I got to my Gran and Grandad’s house and they had to call the newsagent and get him to come and collect the rest of the papers.

By the end of the evening I felt like I’d lost it a bit honestly. I felt exhausted and out of my depth and had no idea anymore how I ended up where I am or even if I liked it at all. I ate two large pieces of tiffin, made the farm vet talk to me about the dog’s filling, and went home.

I must have brewed on it overnight because I woke up still unsettled. How HAVE I ended up doing what I do? Is it okay to have had (and left) so many jobs, or am I meant to have a PLAN? Shouldn’t I be at a point in my life, aged 45, where having to pay £4,000 for a dog filling DIDN’T lead to me crying in a toilet? Why hadn’t I become a dentist? OR MARRIED A DENTIST?

I was spiralling.

I walked the dog for 90 mins and talked to Instagram and did my best to pull myself together. I reminded myself that while yes, root canal isn’t a FUN way to spend £4,000, isn’t it amazing that by my own efforts and no one else’s I am able to do pay for that? (And by ‘pay for’ I mean ‘put on a credit card’.) Isn’t it cool that I don’t have to sit in an office from 9-5 with men telling me what to do, but instead I get to sit in a comfy chair at home, half watching Love Island at the same time as doing work that’s actually not terrible?

I may not have a traditional career, or a husband, or any kind of plan whatsoever, but I’ve built a career that has let me work around children, have pets, go for walks, meet friends for brunch and be creative, all whilst paying the bills, and I guess that’s not such a bad lot after all.




  1. 29 June, 2023 / 4:51 pm

    This is so relatable and often I ignore the question when people ask what I do or I question why I put myself through degrees I no longer use. It’s something we all grapple with at times.


  2. Maddie
    30 June, 2023 / 4:21 am

    I think you should be damn proud of yourself, your doing things your way and that’s the best way! You’re a loving, supportive friend and quite frankly, I don’t know if I’d like you much if you’d become a dentist! Head up, shoulders back Beav:)

  3. Caroline Pye
    30 June, 2023 / 8:33 am

    I WAS a dentist, and my new husband was one too. Believe me it’s not all that. I took early retirement aged 53 after 30 years of practising in the NHS. My back was shot (on multiple pain relief which didn’t help), I was stressed beyond belief by working through Covid in full respiratory masks and highest level of PPE due to creating aerosols in the mouth and the final straw was a negligence case from a patient because he had to have a loose tooth out. Which went loose over Covid when I hadn’t even seen him. Over 2 years on the case is ongoing. I used to wake in the night worrying about patients I had in the next day. Anyway, I took a reduced early pension and top it up working part time for a partially sighted chiropractor doing his clinical and medical notes. I don’t have as much money, but am so much happier. And he fixed my back!! Sometimes things happen for a reason, and I’m thinking you came to that conclusion at the end of your blog. Chin up!

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