Chicken and Egg – Career Update

Or should that be egg and chicken? I’ll let you decide.

So here we are, people are living longer, retirement is becoming more expensive and we are being informed that we will have to have a longer working life, or perhaps semi-retire initially. Having worked in the pensions arena I can fully understand this. So if we are having to work for more years, wouldn’t it be worth trying to do something we enjoy?

Commentators seem to be with me on this, arguing that people will have more than one career in a working lifetime and the times of working for one employer, or having just one career may be coming to a close.

So thumbs up for the theory, but what about practice? I have been in to see a number of employment agencies seeking opportunities and they have each noted that I have considerable skills to bring to the table, but unfortunately lack experience in the sector and without that I have no real chance of being considered. I appreciated their honesty.

I called on some companies and got to speak to some helpful individuals, but ultimately the response was that without industry experience I was very, very unlikely to get a job in the sector. Even if I undertake relevant courses, I will still lack the required experience.

So back to agencies to find out the likelihood of getting temporary or contract work to fill in this gap on my cv. Sorry, but you are way too over-qualified and have held too senior a position for anyone to consider taking you on for such a role, just being honest. So what about stacking shelves in the local supermarket just to get money in while I attend part time courses? Sorry, overqualified. Of course the fact that the country is just getting back off its knees does not help, but in practice the reality on the ground for changing careers does not give grounds for optimism.

The Scenic Route - Tough at Times
The Scenic Route – Tough at Times

Meanwhile a couple of queries have come in for some photographic work. Sometimes you just don’t know which way things will turn. Either way I am not giving up, I am here to enjoy life (and work damn hard too).

Back to the original question – which came first the egg or the chicken?…..

41 thoughts on “Chicken and Egg – Career Update

  1. It’s a difficult one, MM. I wrote a post last June entitled ‘Am I Unemployable?’
    because I felt I couldn’t get back into teaching (at least as a Faculty member) because of a gap in my CV. I read related articles and the consensus seems to be, if you have proven that you can survive for a while without employment, ie, you haven’t simply walked out of one job into another, you are viewed as a risk by prospective employers. Crazy, I know. Self-employment seems the best option especially after a certain age too. I’m sure you could combine your interest in photography and tourism in some way and find much fulfilment. Wishing you all the best with it.


  2. MM – don’t give up! I’m a firm believer that the universe will bring to you (or bring you to) the best place for authentic MM. It’s just usually not in our time frame. Frustrating – yes, but it would be more so to stay doing something that no longer means much. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow.


  3. I left a career of 20+ years (working for the same business) to embark on my own about three years ago. I’m not where I thought I’d be, but it’s been a great journey and very rewarding. Sometimes the path took some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting. I had some valuable advice through the transition: pick a path and see where it leads. If it’s a dead end, simply choose another and continue on. To stand and ponder the “right” way will leave you nowhere. It’s an ongoing adventure, for sure! Best of luck on your journey and keep up the great photography!


  4. Interesting Mick. I feel this started with the Chigaco school of economics, Pinochet, Reagan and Thatcher. No job security anymore, its all part-time and zero hour contracts. Utimately it will have to change. If ordinary workers don’t feel confident enough to spend, all this power that corporations and multi-nationals have, won’t stop them going bankrupt.


    1. Not worried about job security, it’s being pigeon-holed and making it difficult to change career that is goading. Thanks for your comment, perhaps we should all be asking why ‘growth’ is such a good thing, could we not measure contentment somehow. The more we grow the more resources we use up of this fragile world.


  5. I was in the ‘over-qualified’ range some twenty years ago when I tried to change jobs, but ultimately, it all turned out for the best (with a deterioration in health in the last few years of working). But one wonders all the time…….”what if”. What if I had changed jobs into something more creative – would I be prematurely ‘retired’ now with chronic health issues?

    All I know is that I spent too long in my last job and I ended up hating it.

    I’m a great believer in Karma or What will Be (will Be).

    One door closes and another door opens. Paths twist and turn and sometimes…….head off into inconceivable directions.

    If you’ve in a financial position to do so, I would suggest keep searching and find a job that makes you happy. Do what excites you and makes every new day something to look forward to. Every time I talk to professional photographers, they tell me that there is so much competition out there (in photography), that in poor economic times, most have at least a part time job to bring in the ‘cash’ while they do their great love – photography – for the rest of the week.

    Having said that, sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

    I’ve had lots of interesting jobs which suited me at the time of doing them – my biggest mistake in my life was not to plan for the day when I could no longer work to support myself (as a single person with no assets). I never planned for the future.

    Funny how, now that I’m living on a frugal Disability Pension and can’t afford to do anything much, financially or physically, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my working life, though.

    What ever you do, which ever direction you head, I wish you success. Just remember, life is not a Play. There is no rehearsal.

    Every thought about doing two part time jobs?


  6. Me, I am too chicken to answer your question. πŸ˜‰ As it happens, I’ve been in your shoes, and know plenty of others who have been as well. One of the most frustrating things is getting people (even those of similar age) who are looking to hire to recognize that with the increased life expectancy and longer, more varied employment histories, they can hire smarter and abler employees who will still have plenty of productive years and ambition and invention and accomplishments ahead. I wish you all the best, my friend!


  7. I have complete faith that you will CREATE your own business using your fabulous photography. Keep plugging away, amigo, it will happen… then you’ll become so famous, you’ll have nothing more to do with us minions!


  8. Since moving to Colorado and completely changing careers, I’ve learned that the “scenic route” is most definitely tough at times. But I must say that it’s still worth it. Hang in there! I wish you all the best… and hope that what you eventually find is something you absolutely love… photography, maybe? πŸ˜‰


  9. I’ve heard of this occurring.
    I know in my workplace we often get applicants that are over qualified for the position. On occasion, they have been employed but it didn’t work out because they had been in higher positions before and so chafed in the role they were in.
    Not sure if this is the reason that many employers balk at putting on someone who is over-qualified but it could be one of them.
    Good luck in job search. It would be wonderful if your photography panned out into something that could generate a good income.


  10. MM, I don’t have an answer to your question, nor do I believe it is important. In the states, we have the same situations and outcomes when it comes to securing gainful employment. Of significant concern to many looking to extend their years in the traditional workplace, is age discrimination. I don’t know if that is a factor in your case. Having traveled your current employment journey myself, I know fully those common replies that acknowledge one’s valuable skill set but… There are actually many others factors in the mix, few of which you will ever have acknowledged to you. What I do do know and have seen over and over through the decades is that most of us land on our feet again, and almost always in even better capacities. Not sure if this is of any consolation but it does play out. I’ve recently acquainted two people who chose to uproot themselves from Tullamore and Galway and are now working in the states. It wasn’t easy for them but it’s a choice they made after considerable reflection. I am holding positive intentions for you and your eventual success!


  11. I hope something suitable will come up soon Mick! Usually a long waiting time will be rewarded. It’s great you’ve got some photography projects.


  12. I have changed career recently…from industry to teaching. May be I got lucky. I guess the PhD helped. They require over qualified people. However, my daughter always tells me that I can (or should) start a commercial photography business. It is not a bad option.


  13. I have a thought MM, do what you obviously have a great talent for, photography~
    Your captures are so unique, let those who are able to offer you a chance, see what you shine at!


    1. I am looking to develop my photography, do some back up courses and take it from there. Plenty of knocking on doors anyway. Thanks for your encouragement Gator Woman, hope you and yours are both well, MM πŸ€


  14. Between a rock and a hard place?
    The high road? The low road?
    “Make your own opportunities”…an Art instructor told our Master’s class.
    I say: you can orchestrate the journey but only if you open the door. With passion and….sparkle.
    What’s to gain? What’s to lose?
    Sending Sunday sparkle……


  15. The overqualified under experienced problem seems to be the buzz phrase the world over the past long while.
    How lovely though to have the chance to do some photographic work. Awesome! You will be your own boss and will write your own salary cheque. Excellent!
    Now about the chicken and the egg, um, well, maybe they came together. Haa haa.
    Have an awesome week ahead MM.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo


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