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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

I’ve got a major decision to make & I’d love to hear your advice and thoughts.

The history: I spent last summer volunteering on a predator reserve in South Africa. I absolutely had the time of my life; it was a beautiful place, right in the African wilderness, working with Cheetah, Leopard & Lion. I graduated from Uni this July, I did have a job lined up but that fell through (long story), so I’m now trying to work out what to do with my life.

The situation: I got an email this morning from the owner or the reserve I volunteered on offering me a fulltime job there, saying he’s got a position available for me. I just don’t know if this is the right direction for me to take right now.

The dilemma: I feel I’ve kind of reached the stage of my life where I seriously have to start thinking about the future, and making decisions with a long-term view. This job, although I'm not 100% sure what it would be specifically yet, would be amazing. I absolutely loved the time I spent out there last summer, it's really a stunning opportunity. I met some amazing people & I'd love to go back.

I guess the major reason for me considering this job is the amount of adults that have told me to live my life to the full while I’m young. I’d hate to look back in 10/20 years, when I’ve got commitments and simply can’t disappear off to Africa for a couple of years, and regret rushing into “adult” life too fast, feeling that I didn’t make the most of the opportunities I had. You know, I’m going to spend most of my life working, what’s the rush?

However, this job really doesn't lead anywhere, set me up for anything, or add much to my CV. At the moment my CV lacks corporate work experience, something I was hoping to gain this year, before applying to graduate schemes next year. If I took this, it would put everything on hold & I'd find myself in the exact same position X months/years down the line.

You know, these jobs are really difficult to get right now, and I'm really feeling the pressure to do everything I can to help me case. If you want to be successful your CV has to be really strong and you really have to fight, rather than “wasting a year or so playing with animals”. You have to apply to those grad schemes like a year in advance, I wouldn't be able to do that while I'm out there, with no time or internet access. When I come back, I'd return with no future plans, in a relatively weak position compared to other applicants.

At the same time I know that this position won’t pay very much, they're limited by how much they can pay me, both because of financial and visa reasons. After flights, equipment, etc., I would probably only just break even if I took this job. It’s probably not my best point, but I am quite motivated by money. Not in a greedy way, but I really want to be able to provide for my family in the future. I want them to be able to be comfortable, to have what they want, etc. without having to miss out because I can't afford to give them it.

You know I want to grow up, have my own place, be self sufficient, and start to majorly set myself up for the future and, as much as I really want to take this opportunity, I don’t think it would do that for me.

What do you guys think? What would you do?

Any advice/comments would be much appreciated!

Apologies this post is such a mess, it’s representative of my brain right now!



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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

I think you should pass on it and try to work on setting yourself up for something else. If you want "adventure" or something off the corporate path that is at the same time OK-ed as legitimate experience by most organisations, there are those overseas English teaching stints which a lot of people do, and you could learn a lot from that too. I don't know if you have something that is the equivalent of "Teach for America" in the UK.

Since I'm not a big animal person, I probably can't empathise, but my thought process is: You've already spent a summer at this reserve, how much more can you get out of it, not just in terms of experience, but also enjoyment?

BTW, what kind of degree do you have / what kind of job do you want to do?

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

I'm not really sure what the best soulution is but the important thing to be considered is that if you don't do this now, you probably never will, especially if you're already thinking about setting up a family.
Also, I'm not sure about it being a weak point on you cv - after graduating I also lacked corporate experience, most of my cv was filled with sports volunteering but they liked that I was into various activities during uni and I got a chance to prove that I would be good at this job, I took it and got the job and it is at one of the biggest corporations in the world. Things in the UK might be different though...

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 07:26 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

I actually think you should go for it.
I'm one of those who had studied to work in a field and I decided to work for NGOs which is completely different path, volunteering first, then leading to part time then full time. And although I didn't know what career it would lead me to at the time, I know now there are a fair amount of options coming up for me to move on if I wanted to. And I also managed to move up and take more responsibilities in the organisation I never thought I could ever have when I started.

It surely is not wasted time. It's very valuable in a CV that you gave volunteer time for a cause you believed in. And if it opened doors for a job, then why refuse it if you think you'll like it.

Plus I'll add that even for an NGO, you do learn skills you would learn in a compagny. I mean, you'll still be in a work environment, facing exact same issues than in any work place: team work, adapt to collegues, and so on. Plus you're from UK, meaning changing fields for a bit doesn't lock all doors to come back to what you initially were going for (believe me in France, you're looked at badly if you had the idea to change field for a bit, as if it was a waste of time).

Anyway, I was given an opportunity like you are now, and I took it and surely never regreted it.

So don't know if it's a mature point of view but I talk from experience and advise you to go for it.


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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

My advice is- NEVER ask random, anonymous people on internet forum about things that have serious impact on your life.

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 07:52 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saint2 View Post
My advice is- NEVER ask random, anonymous people on internet forum about things that have serious impact on your life.
Or if you do just think about the information you get and it's up to you to make up your own mind.
Some people may have experience that may be useful, and those who just make useless posts are easy to spot.

So common sense is the way to go

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 07:53 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

If you honestly want to do corporate work, then I wouldn't do this at all as it won't be appreciated by big companies and will just leave you behind compared with other prospective applicants, as well as possibly leaving you with some debt at the start of your professional career. However, if you decide you don't really fancy doing corporate work at all in the future, then I think this could be really great from a personal point of view. Basically, I'm just repeating everything Moby's said, because I think he's absolutely right in his judgment.

Nevertheless, before you make a decision, I would reply to the owner of the reserve asking him a few things (definitive details about what the job would entail - although you think it will be amazing, he could just need an extra pair of hands to shovel lion shit; pay; accomodation etc. etc.) just so you know exactly what this job will involve. You might as well know what life will be like there before rejecting/accepting it completely.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by moby View Post
BTW, what kind of degree do you have / what kind of job do you want to do?
I have a BA in Economics & Politics.

Cheers for the advice everyone!



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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 10:46 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

I'll add one thing to the discussion.

Indeed you should definitely ask details about the job and tasks that it implies before getting into anything anyway. And unlike people here may think, NGOs do need people with skills in economics, law and all sorts Big ones are basically corporate, they have to be considering the amount of money they deal with. The only difference is that all the benefits are used into new projects and not people who own it.

So what could be interesting for you is to tell them what background you have and what field you planned to work in initially, and if there is some room there for the skills you have.

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

^ For sure, thanks for the advice. I was waiting for have a think about things before I replied, if I didn't have any intent to take the job I thought it wouldn't be fair to express interest.

As it happens I think I'm leaning toward taking it. I spoke to my mum today & she basically said she supported me whatever, but she'd hate for me to look back in a couple of years time and wish I'd taken it. I still have to talk to my dad though.

Also, another way to look at it is that this is a guaranteed job, if I turn it down there is no certainty that I will be able to find anything else decent, corporate or not!



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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 11:08 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

Is it permanent or like a short term contract?

I think it is fair to ask questions before showing interest. It's very sane to want to know what you're getting into, and not "look desperate" like "I have no job, I need money"

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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

It wouldn't be permanent, anything from 6 months to 3 years, depending on when I think it's time to move on, they tend to have quite a high rotation.

I'll send them an email tomorrow, to get more details, after I've spoken to my father.



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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 11:18 PM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

I'd say just go for it.

Today big companies are looking for people with skills other than the ones you learn in college, an experience in Africa would not only help to start a career in whatever field you want but will also help you in life.

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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:42 AM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

If you are happy to work there, and it sounds like you will be, I say go for it.

You never know what's going to happen in the future and I think where you're wrong is that this won't add to your CV. Well it is a job right? It will. If nothing else, it will make interesting conversations at interviews and those are the ones that employers usually remember.

I say go for it, unless if you find another job at home.

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old Sep 2nd, 2012, 01:01 AM
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Re: Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?

Everyone I've spoken to who has done something like this has said they have no regrets whatsoever, and have all ended up getting into decent careers. OTOH people who didn't do this when they had the chance tend to wish they had.

Your 20s are precious. You have the rest of your life to focus on your career, and it's difficult to see how a couple of years out in your 20s will have that much influence over where you end up by the time you're 30/40/50.

At least that's my thinking on it. atm for me, this wouldn't even be a question. But I have two more years to graduate and no plans to start a family!
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