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View Full Version : Advice Needed: Should I take this opportunity?


Sean.
Sep 1st, 2012, 05:55 PM
Iíve got a major decision to make & Iíd 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 Iím 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 heís got a position available for me. I just donít know if this is the right direction for me to take right now.

The dilemma: I feel Iíve 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 Iím young. Iíd hate to look back in 10/20 years, when Iíve got commitments and simply canít disappear off to Africa for a couple of years, and regret rushing into ďadultĒ life too fast, feeling that I didnít make the most of the opportunities I had. You know, Iím going to spend most of my life working, whatís 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 ďwasting a year or so playing with animalsĒ. 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 wonít 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. Itís 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 donít think it would do that for me.

What do you guys think? What would you do?

Any advice/comments would be much appreciated! :D

Apologies this post is such a mess, itís representative of my brain right now! :lol:

moby
Sep 1st, 2012, 06:17 PM
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?

Freakan
Sep 1st, 2012, 06:27 PM
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...

Yasmine
Sep 1st, 2012, 07:26 PM
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.

;)

saint2
Sep 1st, 2012, 07:31 PM
My advice is- NEVER ask random, anonymous people on internet forum about things that have serious impact on your life.

Yasmine
Sep 1st, 2012, 07:52 PM
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 ;)

Bismarck.
Sep 1st, 2012, 07:53 PM
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.

Sean.
Sep 1st, 2012, 08:40 PM
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! :yeah:

Yasmine
Sep 1st, 2012, 10:46 PM
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.

Sean.
Sep 1st, 2012, 11:06 PM
^ 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! :lol:

Yasmine
Sep 1st, 2012, 11:08 PM
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"

Sean.
Sep 1st, 2012, 11:16 PM
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. ;)

NicolŠs89
Sep 1st, 2012, 11:18 PM
I'd say just go for it. :hearts:

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. ;)

Sam L
Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:42 AM
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.

Dave.
Sep 2nd, 2012, 01:01 AM
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! :lol:

edificio
Sep 2nd, 2012, 01:43 AM
No regrets! Corporations are soul killing anyway. Ugh.

miffedmax
Sep 2nd, 2012, 05:13 AM
Take it.

Unless you are an older student, which you may be, this is too cool and fun to pass up.

A lot of people feel like when they finish university, they have to immediately lock in to whatever their long-term career plan is going to be. That's :bs:. You're young, and you have plenty of time to learn lessons you can't learn at school.

Remember, you're taking a job. Most people are going to change jobs at least 5-7 times in their lives. This is the first job your going to take, but it's also the first step in getting the job after this one. This experience might help you get an in into government work, work for international aid organizations or the UN, or something where you could put your interests in business and organization and econ to good use.

Additionally, in the US and I believe increasingly in Europe, if you really want to climb the ranks of any major business organization you're going to need a business degree. Many of the best business schools out there value a year or two of "real life" experience. some won't even let students apply until they've worked a "real" job (and this would be a real job) before applying to graduate school.

That old cliche about getting old and regretting the things you didn't do, not the ones you did, it largely true.

It won't be that long before you're tied done with long-term relationships, maybe a family, house/apartment, etc.

I think it just sounds cool, and you might just be glad to have this gig for the short-term while the economy bobbles around.

lenusu
Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:05 AM
I think you should go for it but before that you must confirm if it is permanent or just contract basis. All the best.

Inger67
Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:12 AM
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. ;)

3 years without contact with our Seany? :sad:

But I think you should take it, especially if it's just for a short period of time. You can always come back and try to find work in the corporate world that would "set you up" for the rest of your future.

I need to post more in our chat thread :lol:

Frode
Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:08 PM
I would say go for it:)

Get all the details first, but I think it sounds like to good an oportunity to miss.

You still have planty of time to join the "normal" world;)

Both regarding work and family life:)

kwilliams
Sep 2nd, 2012, 12:19 PM
Don't worry about life and career options until you hit your late twenties. Those people that told you to enjoy yourself while you're young are completely right. Starting a career and possibly meetings someone means being tied down, or tethered to a place, job or company. This might be the only time in your life when you are completely free to do something like this.

I really understand what you mean about wanting to have a good job and be self sufficient but there's no reason to think you won't find something somewhere when you get back from SA or wherever you choose to go. Are you a good saver? I do think that many bigger companies value life experience these days - because so few people actually have any! Worldliness is a very underrated quality to some people but not to others.

I originally only intended to stay in Korea for a year but ending up staying 3.5 years over nearly a four year period. This was because the world economy collapsed a few months after I got there and it was easy for me to justify staying there because I want to be a teacher, so it was good experience. I lived in two cities, had two different jobs, working different hours and teaching different age groups. Sometimes time away gives you perspective and it helped me to decide what level I really wanted to teach at. I always just assumed I'd become a secondary school teacher because it's an easier path to start out on. It turned out that I'd really prefer to be a primary school teacher and I'd be better at it. I have to be a lot more proficient in Irish though and I have to resit an exam I took ten years ago because Irish was the one subject I always neglected at school. So, now that I'm home I have to spend a year doing that and wait a few more months before going back to college for 18 months to get qualified (I already have a BA and an MA and could get some kind of secondary school teaching position or spend a year getting that qualification to get a permanent position) Also, due to public sector cuts, I'll probably get paid less than I would have if I had pursued this career path earlier, even during the financial crisis. So, I have to spend all this time to get a job where I'll be paid a little less than most of my peers, despite having some really solid and diverse experience, good scores in my BA and MA, a certificate in English language teaching (which is very useful because of so many first and second generation kids in Ireland) and eventually the higher diploma in education. Do I regret not going down this path earlier in life? Not one bit. I enjoyed my mid-twenties. I met someone in Korea and have been in a meaningful relationship for the past 3.5 years. It was a great experience living there and I made SO many great friends from different countries. I LOVED my second job in Seoul. I travelled a lot around East and South East Asia. I saved quite a lot of money.

Anyway, I just talked about myself a lot there but it was just to show that there are a lot of potential pros and cons but things kinda balanced out for me. Do you really want to spend that much time away from home for things to kinda balance out? Yeah, because the experience itself was worth it. Your situation is a little more difficult but maybe teaching English is something you should consider. There are a lot of future business people, lawyers etc. working temporarily in Korea - saving money for further education, learning the language to help their job prospects (so many big corporations in Korea)

There's nothing wrong with doing what you love for a little while. At least you can say to prospective employers that you got it out of your system and are ready to commit to a career. If you decide that going to SA is not a good choice, you should still look for some adventure somewhere!! (A friend of mine volunteered at a bird sanctuary near Seoul, working with owls, hawks and eagles!) Anything is possible in this big ol' world.

ce
Sep 2nd, 2012, 01:37 PM
Go for it :)
I am in last year of college and Im starting to feel pressure about my CV, getting internships and stuff. Depressing...
This is a great opportunity, take it and enjoy your life :)

ťgalitť
Sep 2nd, 2012, 05:36 PM
If it's a short-term thing I would do it.

You can take the job on the predator preserve for a bit and then come back and start focusing on a corporate career. Doing it in the other order isn't really possible, I'm sure. If you want both of these things in your life, then taking the job now seems like the way to make that happen.

Clay Death
Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:48 PM
take the job. it actually enhances the CV.

they will see it as someone who is well rounded in all aspects of life.

it shows that you have courage to take on various noble causes to make things better.


and there is no question you can use this as a personal growth and development opportunity.

take the job while also and always keeping an eye on other opportunities out there. this could lead to the next big opportunity.

Expat
Sep 3rd, 2012, 08:16 AM
I am in a job where your career is pretty much over if you haven't made it by 35 so I wouldn't advice taking a 3 year break but there are many careers that don't hurt if you start late. It depends on what you really want in life.

I am not really sure that it will enhance your resume if you work longer than 6 months there. We do appreciate volunteer work in international locations when looking at a resume but 3 to 5 years carries the same weight as 6 months abroad. 2 different countries would be a positive though.

lympyisthebest
Sep 3rd, 2012, 09:22 AM
No regrets! Corporations are soul killing anyway. Ugh.

So true, absolutely soul sucking.

Serenita
Sep 4th, 2012, 07:55 AM
Go for it!
They will see a well grounded person who can work with different situations. And besides it will only enhance you as a person.

Super Dave
Sep 4th, 2012, 03:59 PM
I'm with those who say to go for it. You're very young and you should take these golden opportunities and have a blast while you're young, because they won't be there in the future.

You have plenty of time to build the career you've studied for when you're done with this. It will be invaluable in not only your employment experience but your growth as a person will be immeasurable.

My daughter is looking into something that would be an alternate educational and professional experience that would occur in the middle of her college career, and I'm going to support her and try to persuade her to do it.

I wish now that I had taken more chances in my younger years and experienced even more than I did.

MaBaker
Sep 4th, 2012, 08:17 PM
Iíve got a major decision to make & Iíd 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 Iím 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 heís got a position available for me. I just donít know if this is the right direction for me to take right now.

The dilemma: I feel Iíve 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 Iím young. Iíd hate to look back in 10/20 years, when Iíve got commitments and simply canít disappear off to Africa for a couple of years, and regret rushing into ďadultĒ life too fast, feeling that I didnít make the most of the opportunities I had. You know, Iím going to spend most of my life working, whatís 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 ďwasting a year or so playing with animalsĒ. 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 wonít 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. Itís 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 donít think it would do that for me.

What do you guys think? What would you do?

Any advice/comments would be much appreciated! :D

Apologies this post is such a mess, itís representative of my brain right now! :lol:
There's your answer. Just imagine yourself reading this when you're 60.

Clay Death
Sep 4th, 2012, 09:45 PM
this job is a great opportunity for personal growth and development.

and i think seany is smart enough to view it and use that way.

bigger money and bigger jobs will come anyway. think of this as reaching and acquiring critical ground speed before becoming airborne.


this one is important also: important for it allows for self discovery.