Last Wednesday I was allowed out of the office to go on a visit. This time it was to Lincoln’s Inn in London (to those of you who are not of a legal persuasion, the Inns of Courts are important for Barristers and those training to be Barristers). A lot of the day revolved around certainty.
Going to Lincoln’s Inn was different from some of the other employer visits I’ve been on – not least because the Inns are not employers. The nearest comparison I can think of is that the Inns of Court are a bit like professional bodies for Barristers, and even that comparison doesn’t really quite cut it. The day consisted of current Barristers giving talks and presentations on various topics, but one message was consistent across all the talks – to be a barrister you have to be sure it’s what you want to do, you have to be certain.
I think certainty is a difficult, and often elusive concept. Training to become a barrister is hard, long and costly, that can’t be denied; it’s certainly not a career you’d ‘fall into’. But, in my mind, that’s the case with a lot of careers, you don’t just end up in medicine, dentistry, the media, teaching and so many more, but is having the ambition to go for a particular career the same as being certain it’s for you?
Is it possible to be certain that it’s the career for you? And, conversely, if certainty is essential, what does that mean for the rest of who aren’t certain about our move into any particular career path? I don’t know – this does seem to be a blog of questions rather than answers. I know that only you know for sure if you are certain about your career choices. Denying a certainty about a particular career option might make everything else seem second best, and going for something because someone else thinks it’s right for you is probably also not going to be that satisfactory.
I personally think it’s more about awareness and preparation than certainty. The other main message of the day at Lincolns was that being a Barrister wasn’t the same as they show on TV, Kavanagh QC isn’t a truthful representation of the profession, just as Casualty and Doctors don’t really show what it’s like to be a doctor or nurse and Waterloo Road is not what it’ll be like should you enter the teaching profession (although I have my suspicions about the IT crowd…). You need to research what it’s actually like to be in a certain career. Read articles in papers and graduate directories, read the graduate profiles on our website and think about the Manchester gold mentoring programme. Look on employers’ websites, but be aware of any potential bias toward either the profession or that particular employer.
If you are certain about your career choice – brilliant, good luck! If you aren’t, don’t despair – research areas you’re interested in and come in and see your careers service to help discuss your options