Giving thanks to the careers adviser.

Giving thanks to careers advisers. Skilbey Blogs


Tuning into the radio recently, I listened to a mother’s phone-in, wishing her grown up son a happy birthday. She also touched upon his successful career and how he “had proven his careers adviser wrong”.

It was then, that a faint red mist began to form around me.

I think careers advisers should be brought up to date with how their predictions have fared in the real world.

Some may want to use the description, “…should be named and shamed”, and maybe that does sound a little harsh. But then how about telling a young pupil, full of passion and a life ahead of them, that they will never achieve anything or succeed at their chosen vocation?

If advisers can dispense this sort of stringent advice on a child, then perhaps as adults, these dream crushers are big enough and ugly enough to have their names noted by those who have that fire in their belly, so they can look them up many years later and thank them – thank these advisers from their seats of success – for going out of their way to tell such pupil, that they will never amount to much. Seems fair to me.

Nothing to do with revenge. Success itself deals with that nicely. It’s just a rebalance. Cost and resources wouldn’t accommodate it, but perhaps an appraisal could be done on how effective, how accurate and how helpful these advisers really are.

There are far, far too many people out there who have had similar experiences. Bring this up in a conversation, sit back and listen. And how many stories like these do we hear about involving successful people in the public eye today and over the centuries? Some of them pioneers?

Steve McQueen, the director of Twelve Years A Slave, was in the same year as me at school, and explained, as a castaway for Radio 4 Desert Island Discs a couple of years ago, that he was treated as a non-achiever at school. It certainly had an impact.

Although I loved writing, I was never given any helpful steers. I think the advice I received was limp. I can’t remember. Though I did like drama and had my eye set on a course already.

Of course, these negative experiences have a flip side. Those determined will go forth and prove these people wrong. This is where the opportunity to give thanks could come in.

Reality TV tracks down human angels 30, 40, 50 years after they saved the life of an abandoned baby or angels who perform life- saving actions before disappearing into the night. Programmes are created to reunite the rescued with the rescuer. We have celebrities name and talk about their most inspiring teachers. We like to focus on circumstance and consequence and platform those whose lives have been shaped as a result.

Why do advisers dispense crushing verdicts on the people who want to make their chosen career work? Some people don’t blossom in the school environment; excel with a different type of teaching, shine in specialist schools or really come into their own at university or excel in vocational training. The people who really aren’t going to make something with their lives DON’T turn up to these career meetings – though, I will hastily add that there are some exceptions for absences.

Nothing to learn from careers advisersThere are some extremely bright children, sometimes disguised  as under achievers who have already spotted something truly helpful; that they have absolutely nothing to learn from these advisers.


To be honest, knowing what I know now, and with a bit of fire in my belly, I would never turn up to a careers advice talk. What, to be crushed? Na. If I never get there, I know that somewhere along that journey will be my vocation. I’ll be the happiest I could ever be, knowing also that I chose – not someone else – and gave it my best shot.

What do you think?




9 thoughts on “Giving thanks to careers advisers. Skilbey Blogs

  1. Haha! “I think careers advisers should be brought up to date with how their predictions have fared in the real world.” That would be awesome.

    So, love this post but I must say that those ones you hear about in the news (or see on reality TV) are newsworthy for a reason. Because they’ve done something amazing and because they were told they’d be “x” from a school advisor. That said, there are many average people we don’t hear about, discouraged as children by these “professionals”, who grow up to become adults with a complex because of that authoritative discouragement or who grow up to become something pretty incredible despite what they were told as children. Great post!

    1. Thanks! And agree that there are some exceptionals, and I do so want to believe that there are some good advisers out there -and by that I mean really tuning into the pupils goals. My eldest knew what she wanted to do, didn’t need advice other than pointers to the appropriate universities and my youngest didn’t bother going to see her- knew she wouldn’t be helpful. But certainly I’m getting the impression that things haven’t changed very much from when I was at school. Thanks so much for commenting- So glad you liked the post! 🙂

  2. Much to think about. Actually I never did have a careers adviser. It was taken for granted i’d go in the Civil Service. Took me years to get to where I could do what i wanted… which, of course, is to write. How’s your writing coming on? jx

    1. Thanks for commenting, Judith 🙂 Re the writing, Re-jigging and creating another scene -as you wisely suggested! Keep adjusting it in between the rest of the editing. All challenging but loving it. Wish I could go a little faster though 🙁 I hope you’re well and getting lots of writing done xx

    1. Many thanks! And understand; a career was already being carved out for you. And was it a prize that became a writing turning point for you? Intrigued to hear this story about the short story paperweight.Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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