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Earning a university degree is a significant achievement. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and you’ve earned the right to show the world you have a college or university degree. Displaying your BA, MA, or Doctorate in a college diploma frame is the perfect way to show everyone you’ve become an expert in your field of study.

But does it stop there!
Many people think that once they have their university degree or diploma matted and framed, they are stuck with their choice forever. In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having a degree doesn’t mean you now have the ticket to a well paid and rewarding career

New ways of working
Especially with the current economic climate, employers and employees are looking for more flexible ways of working. The challenge for you is to break out of that mindset that says you have to be in a full-time job that broadly operates Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm (or longer in many cases).
Why does this have to be so? Who says that this is the way work has to be constructed? Are you just assuming that this is the only way?

So what are the alternatives?
1. Employed but part time. This does not necessarily mean dropping your hours. You could be in 2 or more part time jobs that add up to the equivalent of full time work. They do not need to be the same kind of job – this could be your chance to try out something new.

2. Freelance/consultancy. You could explore the possibility of offering your services on a fee basis to a range of different employers. The work will be on a contract basis. As you build up your reputation, you will find that contracts are often renewed and recommendations for your services are passed on.

3. Self employed. Yes, you could set up your own business. Don’t be put off by the thought that you have to have a plan to build a massive business empire. Many successful businesses start on a very small scale and just build gradually. Why not explore creating a small business alongside some of your employed work? Our last chapter will give you the lists of youth agencies that could help you with starting your own business.

4. Voluntary work. This is a great way of testing the water with new career ideas. As it is voluntary, you can commit as much or as little time as you feel able. It could be simply a matter of shadowing someone in a field that interests you for a single day or it could be an evening a week for a longer period. You could even take a few days annual leave to go and test drive a new career idea somewhere else.

6. Study. I know this is not often seen as work – but maybe we should acknowledge its place in the grand scheme of our working lives. Further study can be a stepping stone to a new career, whether it is a short evening class or a three year degree course. How could taking a class open up new career options for you?

7. A combination of these. This is the really exciting bit. You can combine many of the above ideas in lots of interesting and creative ways. You could be self employed, part time employed or freelance, while doing an evening class and a bit of voluntary work. And do you know what? You will probably find that this makes for a much more interesting working life than being stuck in one job day in day out.

So I challenge you to free up your thinking and consider how structuring your working life differently could give you the breakthrough you need with your career change. Your first step is just to start investigating the possibilities, so no excuses!

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