By Stacey Smith, Service Delivery Manager.

Tell you what, I for one am grateful that there is no wrong path!

Looking back, it may have felt that I’d wandered off the beaten track on a number of occasions, but without that detour I would not currently be sitting where I am; a Service Delivery Manager responsible for ensuring that our clients IT systems are always up and running.

So, how did I get here?

Having had to move secondary school right in the middle of my exam year, I was fairly certain that that was it for me on the education front.  Any aspirations I had prior to moving were well and truly out the window.  I actually wanted to be a nurse BTW.

I had to contend with making new friends, a difficult enough challenge when you’re the newbie, but added to that most students were keeping their heads down, studying hard for exams and looking forward to leaving school, I really didn’t get a look in.  So, with my school social life in tatters I did what my 16-year-old self thought best and did plenty of skiving off.  As a result, it was no surprise that I got quite mediocre exam grades.

The day the envelope landed, I remember sitting in front of the TV, watching as the news broadcast nervous kids opening their exam results live. All I could think of was ‘I hope Dad’s too busy after work to look at mine’, or that the ground would immediately open and swallow me – anything would have been preferable to my Dad’s sulks.   He was already pretty unhappy that I’d secured a place at college doing Beauty Therapy, a qualification which he didn’t see much value in; if only Instagram was on the go in 1998!!

A few months into my college course I received a new certificate with revised grades.   The guidance teacher from my previous secondary had appealed the exam results, providing evidence that the situation I had found myself in had significantly impacted my state of mind and altered my general level of bothered from fairly to not-at-all.

My path had various detours

They say variety is the spice of life and this is absolutely true for my working life. One thing remains unchanged though, I never wanted to not have a job!

Organising taxi’s in London got me into working in the NHS, supporting patients out of hours.

Helping nurses work their PC’s got me into service desk work.

Heck, the beauty therapy got me into working for a local funeral director where I quickly earned the name ‘Morticia’. It was a job I loved, and I did it with dignity and compassion. I won’t lie though, alongside mild trauma it left me with a lifetime of pub stories and a grim sense of humour.

As you can tell, I am not one for fake it till you make it.  I’m proof that a good deal of honesty and a willingness to learn will get you to a job you may not have thought possible. It might not even be on your radar yet.

My advice?

To all those students who are disappointed with their results, believe me, it’s NOT the end of the world. There are so many career options which involve hands on learning, not necessarily qualifications.

So, dust yourself off, roll up your sleeves and go after that job or learning experience. Just remember, in 2019 careers are fluid and gone are the days of a job for life. Who really wants that anyway? Find your path, change course, do a u turn, climb a hill but enjoy the journey and all you learn along the way.

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