88: Career Advice from Graduates 10 years out of University With Paul Murphy
My guest in this episode is Paul Murphy, author of 1000 Years of Career Advice, based on interviews with 100 graduates about their work experiences in the 10 years following university.
Paul has over 10 years of experience working in various finance roles for multinational firms. He qualified as an accountant (ACA) while working with a big 4 professional services firm in their advisory department. He is also a qualified project manager (Prince 2), programme manager (Managing Special Programmes), and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
He was inspired to write this book while he was working in finance in a career field which his parents had encouraged, but not in something he felt particularly passionate about. He realised that many of the people he knew also found themselves led into careers more by circumstances than by their own design.
Was he alone in not liking what his career had become? He investigated to find out and--spoiler alert: his situation wasn’t unique or even unusual. When I spoke with Paul, he shared his findings on why people end up in a place they never intended and what they can do about it.
The Choices we Make
Paul’s interviews reveal so much about careers in the real world because they reflect real experiences. There’s also invaluable advice for people who want to make a career change and for new graduates (or about-to-be graduates) who want to move into a career they love.
For the lucky few who are inspired from a young age or who have a great passion or talent, choosing a career is easy. However, Paul found that most people aren’t in that situation. He found that ten years down the career road, some people felt trapped, that maybe it was too late to start over again. Paul’s advice in that situation? Look forward. Don’t worry about the sunk costs/years. If you really want to, it is not too late to change career.
Paul’s interviews are individual case studies in how to shape your career.
Some of his tips are:
- Get as broad an experience as possible, especially in your twenties, so you get a good idea of what you do and do not like. It’s a great time to give things a try before you get too many responsibilities.
- Network—that is, don’t be afraid to get in touch with people to learn about what they do. Most people love to talk about themselves and will be happy to tell you about the highs and lows in their jobs, and practical issues you may not have thought about.
- Do things which make you uncomfortable. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and what suits you.
- Travel and get experience from around the world to learn about different processes and cultures and how things work.
Paul also stressed that you shouldn’t stay in one place too long. If after two years you’re no longer learning and you don’t see a way ahead, think about making a change.
Make Your Own Work Experience
My favourite tip from Paul is an inventive way to get work experience by volunteering your social media skills to small businesses who may lack that expertise. Agree to work for two weeks to get their online presence established. It’s an excellent way to get useful work experience and gain great business insight.
For more on career paths check out Paul’s website 1000yearsofcareeradvice.com
1000 Years of Career Advice by Paul Murphy is available from Amazon.
About the Grow Your Own Podcast
The Grow Your Own Podcast is sponsored by Career Maximiser, an online course I have developed to help you take charge of your career. The course takes you step by step through the process of deciding on your next career move and how to successfully market yourself to employers. No more confusion, no more guessing, it’s based on 18 years of tried and tested careers advice which will give you the clarity and the confidence you need to stand out to recruiters. If you'd like to find out more, head over to careermaximiser.com