Inspiration for Active Career Decision-Making

This final instalment on career decision-making will provide you with two practical approaches to active career decision-making and hopefully give you some inspiration in your career journey too.

In this edition we will look at Emma Rosen’s radical sabbatical 25 before 25, where she tests out twenty-five different occupations in the pursuit of the ideal career, and, secondly, a practical instruction to active career decision-making from Carol Eikleberry who places experiential learning at the forefront of making career-decisions.

1. Emma Rosen the radical sabbatical 25 before 25

“When you were seven and someone told you that being a video game designer was a ridiculous idea and wasn’t a real job, you believed them and tried to forget about it. Or there might have always been two or three things that you have longed to do and, even though you may have picked one of those, not being able to explore the other two things has left you feeling unfulfilled in the career that you do have.

“I had a major quarter-life crisis. So major that I quit my job and spent a year trying out 25 different careers before my 25th birthday. The jobs I tried ranged from archaeology in Transylvania, tour guiding amid violent protests in Venezuela and investigative journalism with a national newspaper, to working as an extra in a major movie, alpaca farming in Cornwall and assisting a crisis team during the terror attack on Parliament in March 2017.

“I hadn’t given career advice a thought since I was 17 and even then I hadn’t given it much consideration, just always doing what I knew would enable me to enter the next stage in the game.

“There were plenty of more technical skills that I learned  too, like website design, social media management, SEO, building a brand and audience, press engagement and conducting interviews.

Emma added she also saw her softer people-focused skills improve.

“I could demonstrate that I could be very adaptable, quickly build relationships and embrace change – I could walk into a new team or situation and get on well with everyone (I had done the awkward ‘first day of work’ 25 times).

She said: “On the JOB TODAY hiring platform and instead of pursuing one, linear career path, we’re seeing more young Brits than ever before take on multiple freelance, part-time and casual roles to shape an exciting career that works for them.

“We recently commissioned new research with our job seekers and found that 40 per cent of Brits are already working in part time or freelance roles – a clear sign that today’s generation aren’t afraid of taking charge of their careers.”

Emma now works as a Writer and Speaker. Emma says that communication skills in both verbal and written form have been the most important by a large margin.

2. The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People (Carol Eikleberry 2001).

This is a book I read during my early years in practice and found this particular section on active career decision-making a useful and sensible take on career development for others to follow – despite its name!

  1. Make a list of occupations that are most attractive to you. This should be between two-ten occupations, as this will help on research time. If you have more than ten rate them all in terms of preference and create a secondary list to come back to.
  2. Learn about them. Carry out online research in order to identify required skills, qualifications, availability of jobs and projected salary, inter alia.
  3. Talk to people who do that kind of work. Ask the questions that haven’t been answered by your reading. Your goal is to find out what the job is like, so that you can determine whether you like it. Talk to between two-three professionals from the same occupation.
  4. By now you should have narrowed your list down further. The next step is to get some first-hand experience for the final few contenders. This could be paid, volunteering or shadowing.
  5. When you are ready, take some time to think about the advantages and disadvantages of your remaining options. Your final career choice won’t be so much right or wrong as it will have positive and negative consequences.
  6. Make a choice. Now that you are informed about your options, reason, intuition, or a combination of both will help you decide.
  7. At the appropriate time, start looking for a job or the appropriate training

    We’re still here to help!

    As always, the Careers and Employability is here to help, even in these difficult times. You can access us, via emailtelephone or video call by emailing as well as My Careers Centre.

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