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Leslie Gilmour

5 Guidelines for Transitioning Into Your Chosen Career without Losing Your Mind

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Entering the turbulent waters of a new job market and into a field, you are not sufficiently familiar with can come across as tough prospects that have the ability to drive people positively mad. And this is completely true, of course.

Now, if you are one of the folks on their merry way toward jump-starting their career, you’ve come to the right place, alright!

In this here article, we’re going to talk about how you can go through this transitioning process without stressing too much over it. Truth be told, you can’t avoid the stress completely, but you can definitely do some things that would help you deal with it more efficiently.

So, here’s how to approach the sensitive transition into your new career.

5 Tips for Transitioning Into Your Chosen Career without Losing Your Mind

1) Make Sure You’re Sufficiently Skilled for Your New Career

If you were to operate a nuclear aircraft carrier without having any idea of how to operate a nuclear aircraft carrier, that would surely lead to some anxiety. The same goes for accounting, woodworking, repairing fridges, driving cars, and writing articles online in MS word.

Indeed, not having the necessary skills for the job you need to do would be one of the most disastrous situations that can befall a person entering a new professional field.

To prevent this, you have to do the obvious – fake it till you make it! No, not really. Simply ensuring your skillset is at the desirable level would suffice.

2) Connect to the Pool of People Already in Your New Profession

Nowadays, there are all sorts of forums out there on the Internet, where you can look up what different professionals are talking about. For example, if you’d like to become a translator, you can join a Facebook page for translators (in your target language, of course) and then you can see what the profession is like first hand.

You can see what the most difficult parts of the profession are, how the folks doing it are dealing with their problems as well as other things related to doing the job itself.

This can be a great way to determine whether or not you’re fit for the profession at hand, or a specific position within that profession.

3) Don't Be Afraid to Seek Support

Entering a new career is not a light prospect and wise people of yore have recognised this. So, to make sure people have more insight into what they’d like to do with their lives, these smart folks have ventured to organise structures such as career resource centres. You can also turn to a coach who can help you focus and overcome the hurdles that no doubt await you.

Many colleges have these inbuilt in the structure of the college itself, so you won’t really have a tough time finding these and connecting with them if you’re a student.

If you’re not a student, on the other hand, you can still reach out to one of these institutions and find out more about your designated career of choice before ever joining a workplace with that career. Grand stuff, indeed.

4) Try Shadowing Someone

Switching from college to work doesn’t mean you’ll just have to jump into a new position without ever knowing what awaits at the other end. In fact, there are multiple ways you can figure out if a job would suit you once you get employed.

For example, you can ask a friend who’s already in the business, inform yourself online by visiting a forum, or simply ask to shadow someone for a day. What you’d need to do pretty much amounts to doing their work for a day to see how you like it. If you find the whole thing favourable, you can apply for a position at that company.

If you don’t like it, you’ve saved yourself some nasty contract breaches and other problems down the road! What’s not to love?

5) Volunteer

This entry is fairly similar to the previous one, with the difference that you won’t be doing exactly the job you’re interested in, but a watered-down version of it.

Volunteering, in general, allows you to connect to likeminded people, get a general idea of how you like what you’re doing, and do some humanitarian work, as well. Of course, you need to make sure your volunteering work is in the same vein of work as your job position of choice.

There isn’t much use trying to figure out if you like accounting by volunteering for delivering calves at a cow farm, now is there?

All things considered, getting ready for your treading down your career path is no easy feat. It requires proper skills on your part, preparation, and perhaps a little support from the outside. Bottom line, as long as you’re willing to learn and work (and are not woefully underskilled), you’ll be good to go!

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Leslie Gilmour

How to Get a Job in the Event Planning Industry

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Event planning is one of those industries that many young people want to get into, but might not be quite sure how to set about it. Staging your own events is a great learning curve, but it may be hard work to begin with as you build your name and reputation. Interning with an established company is often the best way to enter the industry, as you’ll gain exposure to a huge variety of things in a short space of time. Here’s how you can make this pathway to your new career work for you:

Do What You Love

Ask anyone who works in events and they’ll tell you that you really have to live and breathe what you do. There’s no use going into it halfheartedly, because you just won’t have the motivation to give it your all when the deadlines are looming.

Choosing event planning as your new career only works if you love what you do. You’ll find that the passion you have for getting everything just right allows you to push on late into the night when you need to. Ideal if you want to get that all-important second wind that ensures no stone is left unturned in the days leading up to the big occasion.

Show Enthusiasm

Being enthusiastic is one of the best ways to get noticed and take your career to the next level. You never want to cross the line and come across as over-familiar, but you do need to show willingness to go the extra mile whenever possible. There is always something to be done, and often there’ll be fairly straightforward and unglamorous tasks that more experienced hands will try and avoid. If you get a reputation as someone who’s willing to get the job done no matter what, you’ll get more and more responsibility and before you know it, you’ll be a sought-after member of the team.

Be Proactive

Being proactive is the perfect way to get yourself noticed. This goes for applying for jobs, and during your internships and work placements. If you notice that there’s a small job that can easily be taken care of, then jump right in and get it done. Run it past someone more senior so that they know what you’re doing and then let the results speak for themselves.

Make it a regular habit and you’ll be able to gain a reputation as someone who gets the job done with the minimum of fuss. And they’re just the sort of people that every team needs when planning a major event at a short notice!

Learn in Real World Settings

The classroom and the lecture theatre are great because they expose you to all manner of new concepts, but there’s nothing like putting things into practice to really master your craft.

Seek out ways to gain hands-on experience and you’ll be a much more attractive prospect as a future hire. With so many employers looking for people that really stand out, there’s no better way to put yourself front and centre than by showing that you have already gotten stuff done in the real world. Nobody’s expecting you to have hosted your own music festival, but by getting some practical experience, you’ll have already shown how much you want a career in the industry. It’ll also mean you can provide references which is something every employer will really like.

You can also always check out the work of established event planners like Kevin Rowe, and use them as an inspiration for your own future work – just make sure you don’t turn into a copycat.

Have Confidence in Yourself

Getting the opportunities that your hard work deserves is as much about believing in yourself as it is about getting that all-important lucky break.

If you have confidence in what you do, you’re far more likely to be seen as the safe pair of hands that every event planning company needs onboard. Sit back and write a quick list of your achievements and remind yourself of them on a regular basis so that your confidence grows and you can continue to move forward.

Remember That Criticism is Invaluable Feedback

One thing is for sure: there will be things you can improve on when you start working in events. In fact, even the most seasoned professional will get things wrong from time to time or have to ask for assistance from a colleague. There’s nothing wrong with it, there’s no shame in it, and the only stupid questions are the ones that never get asked.

The secret is to never take criticism or suggestions on how you could have done something better personally. People want the event to go off without a hitch which means that when something needs changing, it has to be highlighted, discussed, and corrected.

Take onboard everything you’re told and hear and you’ll soon find that your skills grow beyond all recognition.

Enjoy the End Product

Too many people get so caught up with making sure that everything is perfect that they forget to enjoy the event itself. You’re going to have to be a lot more proactive than if you were a guest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stand back at some point and take pride in what you’ve achieved.

By putting yourself in the position of one of your guests, you’ll also be able to see what little tweaks and adjustments you could make next time around. These are the little things that can really set you apart as you build your career.

Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is something that everyone in events has and it’s basically your business card. Make sure you detail the projects you’ve contributed to during your placements so that you can give future prospective employers a taste of what you can do. Take pride in it and over the years you’ll be able to look back on some of the great things you’ve done in your career.

Now that you know what you need to do to get your dream job, all that remains is to go out there and do it. Stay motivated, be proactive, and show everyone what you can do and you’ll go far.

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Leslie Gilmour

What it Takes to Become an Architect

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Edited by Leslie Gilmour, Tuesday, 5 June 2018, 13:46

Becoming an architect takes a whole lot of commitment, dedication and desire. Being an architect is a serious professional career; nobody pursues it just because they like to draw or because they think it sounds fun. There is so much more to being an architect than many think and it is no easy process.

Architecture is regarded by many as a multi-discipline career. That is because being an architect is not just about being a good designer, but being a good mathematician and having a scientific way of thinking too.

You cannot simply design a building and hire a construction company to throw it up, either. Planning permissions, building codes and engineering costs all feature heavily in an architect’s career and you need to know all about them.

How do I become an Architect?

This is, of course, the question which you have come here to find the answer for. In Ireland, the title ‘architect’ is protected by legislation and only those with their names on the Register of Architects can use it.

With everything you need to learn, becoming an architect takes a number of years in education and undergoing specialist training. The requirements vary around the world, but in Ireland, the requirements stipulate that –

  • You must graduate with a prescribed degree in architecture
  • Undergo two years’ postgraduate professional training
  • Complete a professional practice examination mandated by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

To put things into perspective, a prescribed degree in architecture lasts for five years of full-time studies which can easily turn into six years if you elect to take a year out for industrial work placement.

It is a huge commitment, so you need to be absolutely sure that being an architect is the right career for you. If you are up for it academically and know that it is what you want to do, it is a very rewarding and challenging career where no one day is the same.

Three Reasons to Become an Architect

Looking around online, there is a lot of talk about the negative sides of being an architect such as the huge amount of study, the competition for industrial placements and jobs and the long hours that you will work. Instead, let’s look at some of the reasons to pursue a career in architecture.

Simply put, architecture is amazing

Whilst studying at university, you are taught to be a problem solver and use design, construction and history to solve them. It changes the way you think, the way you look at the world and the way you interact with others. Studying at architecture school fine-tunes your brain and makes you think like an architect.

Architecture is a huge industry

And it is constantly growing. The internet, technology and computers have completely transformed the way in which the architecture industry operates and how the profession itself is practiced. It has grown beyond just being a career to an artform in its own right, with thousands of online blogs, vlogs and resources. You can even choose to explore internships or jobs in industry-related companies, such as Corell Timber – or even just talk to different employees to gain a vaster knowledge of the industry as a whole.

The best part of the architecture industry is that it is so vast and dynamic; there is plenty of work available for everybody and no one project is the same. In an architecture career, you can thrive based off of your own unique skills and strengths, rather than having to change yourself to suit the idea of a ‘perfect architect’ because there is no such thing.

Architecture lets you do what you love for the rest of your life

As the saying goes, if you choose a job which you love then you’ll never have to work a day in your life. If architecture is your one true passion, then there is no reason why you cannot do it for the rest of your life.

The architectural career is held in high esteem, it is universally recognised as a professional career with high standards which attracts some of the world’s brightest young minds. As an architect, you will probably meet clients who are truly influential and well-known figures themselves, which reflects just how high-brow an architectural career can be.

Many of today’s most innovative housing and other construction products will have far-reaching positive effects on people for decades to come; it is a profession which truly does its best to help people and that is truly satisfying.

Is it All Fun and Games?

No, but no career is. There are plenty of downsides to becoming an architect, just like there are with any professional career.

Architecture is a career known for having very long hours; the design process can often be lengthy and drawn out. In architectural school and the professional working environment, pulling all-nighters working on projects is the norm. Of course, this type of working environment does not attract everybody – architects included – so there are plenty of firms who adopt a fairly normal Monday to Friday 9 to 5 pattern of working. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to work more hours than normal.

As you have already seen, there is a lot of school involved. If you compare becoming an architect to becoming a doctor or lawyer, you will see that there is just as much – if not more in some cases – school involved. Lawyers typically qualify after six years, doctors after seven whereas some architects can be in education and internships for as many as eight years.

Something you may not have considered is that your career will be in the hands of how the economy is performing. Although this is something regularly overlooked, it is a key consideration. Who is going to be investing in new construction projects when the economy is weak or going through a financial meltdown? Nobody, that’s the answer. Although this is something you’re not going to have to worry about until you are an actual architect, it is still worth thinking about as it can impact your work and overall job security, especially if you’re an independent and not working for a firm.

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Leslie Gilmour

Why Studying is a Great Way to Spend Your Retirement

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People have various reasons why they consider taking early retirement. However, very few people take the time to plan on how they spend their retirement days. Long gone are the days when retired folks would retreatment to their farms and experience the therapeutic nature of the country life. It was undeniable that all retired persons would get back to their farms and spend their days farming and look after grandchildren.

You need to plan on how to spend your time to avoid stress complications and dying early. You need to plan for ways of ensuring your brain remains active. What better way than considering to further your studies.  Studies have proven a credible way of not only spending your retirement money wisely but also your time. Hence, you need to plan on what you study for the first ten years after retirement to ensure your brain remains occupied and your money goes into proper use.

1.    Taking time to study is the best way of investing in yourself. You are never too old to either sharpen your skills further or add more knowledge to your life. Studies have a way of calming your nerves and ensuring your time is properly utilized and none of your time goes to waste. Studies have a special way of blending your busy corporate life with the life of a retiree by making sure you are not too idle for wild activities like alcohol drinking. Studies help you invest in yourself wisely; you can become a professor and offer valuable impact to the younger generation by teaching at institutions of higher learning. Besides, studies open you to lots of possibilities other than confining you to your house and reading magazines.

2.    You should take the time to study seriously after retirement seriously as it helps you keep your moods and general health in check. Retirees tend to have lots of free time at their disposal, and this can expose them to paying attention to small issues. Such petty matters have a way of preoccupying your mind and can lead to stress. However, studies take a lot of your time, and you end up lacking time to check on everything. The result is that your moods remain relatively stable avoiding lifestyle disease like high blood pressure. Studies conducted globally indicate retirees who take the time to study live longer than those who just idle around. Studies help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and helps you keep fit as you go out frequently hence you have not the time to add weight and lazy around.

3.    Studies help retired people avoid some social challenges associated with idle retired people. For instance, you will find retired individuals in some conflicts that do not make sense. Such conflicts can be easily avoided if a retiree takes the time to study. Conflicts are mainly domestic as the retirees want to exercise authority over their family members as they are used in their former places of work. Studies can help the retiree have a blind eye for such people since their time is occupied by books. A retiree can positively impact the society with their added knowledge as people will occasionally consult them as they are perceived beacons of wisdom. Consequently, studies are likely to improve on their social ranking.

4.    The structure and availability of pension funds influence people on when they retire and what to do with their time and money. If you live in a country where retired people are highly regarded, you may still consider studying a viable option as you are motivated to give back to the society further. However, in most countries all over the globe, retired people are considered as second class citizens, and they have to meet all their bills. No better way a retiree can regain their dignity than taking time and limited resources to study as you are assured of getting juicy returns. Universities and research institutions all over the world lack adequate professors. If a retiree advanced their education and attained the status of a senior professor, you are more likely to be rehired as a consultant. Such consultants are highly paid, and you are likely to get a return on investment for your finances soon.

5.    Retired couples who make the joint decision to study are likely to enjoy their joint retirement as opposed to when one person makes the decision to study and the other person does not. Besides, taking time study as a couple is a bold step that paves the way for the children to appreciate the value of education. Retired couples who choose to study are adored by the society as they hardly have enough time for conflicts. One sure recipe for conflicts is having lots of free time at your disposal. Hence, retired couples who choose to study are likely to appreciate each other more, as opposed to having a lot of time for finding fault in each other.

6.    Labor force anticipation and raising your kids can motivate you to study while you are retired.  Not all retired persons are done raising their children. As such, they can choose to study further to ensure they remain relevant in the current labor market. Such a decision secures the stability of their families as their cash flows remain steady. Besides, the retired persons who choose to enhance their study further are likely to cause less conflict with their growing children. Studies help them relate positively with their children as their mind is still active. 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Simon Reed, Thursday, 29 June 2017, 07:08)
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Leslie Gilmour

How Mature Study Can Change Your Life

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Edited by Leslie Gilmour, Saturday, 23 Oct 2021, 11:59

I mentioned in my last post about the Camino, that I walked while being a mature student.  Leaving behind my accounting career and studying English Literature and Philosophy was not started with a new career in mind.  It did however, lead to a new career in marketing, by a circuitous route.

I had always loved writing and reading and wanted to be able to express myself better in written form.  That was one of my main reasons for the subjects I choose to study.  I had tried unsuccessfully a few times to write a novel. After tearing up the last one I woke the next morning thinking I should build a website. Where that came from I have no idea, but it was the beginning of a new direction.

I spent some time learning HTML & CSS, there are many free courses online that will help.  I then started writing, and immediately thought - this is what my study prepared me for, research and writing.  I loved it, web writing was short concise articles and that suited me better then than trying to write a novel, (it is still a dream). I built a website that nobody visited and that resulted in me learning marketing.

A Word on Dreams

My dream to write a book eventually came about.  I wrote a guidebook, it is the most difficult single piece of work I have ever completed.

Just because something is a dream does not mean it will be easy.

How the Open University's Free Courses Can Help

A friend studied addiction part-time while working in a completely unrelated field.  More than 15 years later she now runs a counselling centre, and another friend retrained to work with children, (after much more study). The cost of a part-time study is not expensive, but your time is, and making large mistakes in direction can be costly in the longer term.  

There are a multitude of free courses available via Open Learn.  For example, if you think becoming a therapist is for you then this free course on diagnosis in counselling and psychotherapy might be a place to explore how strong your desire is. This could lead you to study the degree in counselling.

Marketing - The New Dream Jobs?

Someone else I know decided early on that marketing was her main love and was going to be her career.  But, even once you know what you want to do and become qualified enough it does not mean that learning is not required. She is now the marketing manager of a company that installs SAP Business One for small businesses.

This type of job requires intimate understanding of your product and service.  You are not expected to install SAP Business One, but you are expected to know every way it can help a business and all of the details that are involved in setting up.

Learning really is life long.

Do you think a new career in marketing is for you?  Look at these free options to get you started: Marketing in the 21st Century, Stakeholders in marketing and finance, or Products, services and branding.

I have read in many places that we are all marketers - at least you should be of yourself, especially in this age of social media and openness online.  The above courses give a great introduction to different areas of marketing, and if they spark your interest there is a degree course in business management that specialises in marketing.

Commitment is Required

Just because a course is free does not mean you can just treat it lightly.  This is the road to failure.  I don’t know the statistics for OpenLearn dropout rate but I have seen stats on free course dropout for Massive Open Online Courses and the percentage is staggeringly high.

Start planning.  I have a two-year-old, this makes a huge difference compared to being child free.  My only time for study is 90 minutes between his bedtime and me becoming too tired to study more.  I study four nights per week - Mon to Thur.  Even though I have worked in this job for ten years, and don’t ever imagine doing something else, it changes constantly and study is required to stay relevant at the cutting edge.

Each course in the OU will give indications of time commitments.  Decide when you will have that time available and stick to it, miss it once and it becomes very easy to miss again.  Once you do that it can become hard to catch up, do everything you can to avoid becoming disheartened.

It takes some time to understand a new discipline.  So, stick with it.  You might not understand much for a while, but breaking study down into smaller goals helps.  Talk about your study, explain the class you have just taken to someone else - these all help to gain a better understanding.  Write, write, and write - this is how I learn.  You might be different, but I still remember research from essays I wrote at university.

My last bit of advice.  Turn off the television, this one simple action can free up many hours to create a better life.

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