Looking for some alternate career advice (aka what do I want to be when I grow up...)

Discussion in 'Jobs (Discussion)' started by jim30, Jun 26, 2012.

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  1. Okay, I’m looking for some guidance and advice from members of the board. I’m at a stage of my life and career where I’m increasingly asking myself ‘what do I want to be when I grow up? As many know, I’m in the MOD CS, and have been there for about 10 years, experiencing a range of interesting posts, with a heavy J2 background. I’ve done TELIC, and also done a lot of time working in the Centre, mainly in policy and operations. I’ve also got a reserve forces background (commissioned), and have been doing that for a bit longer, including a HERRICK in a very punchy J3/5 role.

    Job security has been destroyed. Similarly, the promotion prospects have all but dried up – there is at least a one year promotion freeze in place, and this is in reality backing up positions, meaning there is a backlog of keen people trying to promoted, and few jobs to fill. At its most basic though is the reality that I’ve done the punchy stuff at my level that responsibility keeps being pushed upwards – stuff that ten years ago would have been approved at my level is now being signed off at one or two levels above me.

    If I want to travel I need to get a 1* to approve my travel – I have no authority to drive to Portsmouth for a meeting, or to claim for essential expenditure. If I go away for business I have to put a written justification in to stay in a hotel costing £70 (inc breakfast), because the cap is £65 (not inc breakfast). It would be really nice to work somewhere where I can take important decisions and also approve my own admin to! Similarly I’m reaching the point where the pay scale in the CS is no longer keeping pace with my way of life, and even with cutting back stuff, I feel I could do with more cash

    So, my sense of malaise, frustration at seeing all the career ladders pulled up from those of us who aren’t the master race of Faststreamers, and realising that if I don’t do something soon, I’m going to end up in 30 years time retiring, tired, hacked off and thinking ‘if only’. I genuinely believe that I could be something good, and I'd like to think that I could acheive SCS (1* plus), but right now the system appears to be frozen right at the point in my career where I need to break into the G7 / SCS territory.

    What sort of options are open to someone like myself. An honest appraisal of myself would say that I excel at briefing people and talking to large audiences, I am confident talking to very senior officers (e.g. 3&4* officers on very regular basis). I am excellent at networking, and introducing people to other people – I can chase down connections between disparate groups and make things happen. I am very much a doer – I excel in crisis management and the ‘oh shit’ moments you get. I’ve done a fair number of crises, COBR and other things, and am very good at doing the ‘quick, dirty, but it’ll do’. I am also good at innovation, I am good at forcing change or changes in doing things, and can quickly adapt to new circumstances. I have a good understanding of Defence, and an excellent network of contacts which include seniors here, and in foreign militaries. My military background means I am good at leadership, taking charge and delivering fairly blunt bollockings. People on this site who know me in real life know my tolerance for fools is non existent.

    I am not good at in depth details. I am good at taking information in, but my JSP101 attention to detail nazi skills are sorely lacking. I am better at coming up with a sketchy plan to solve the problem than writing the detailed CONOPS and implementing it. I have a low tolerance threshold for bullshit, and I go to pieces in any job when someone says ‘read this NATO document’. I get bored when there is little to do, and I perform at my absolute best when its all going wrong, very busy and people are losing their heads. I am better at the unexpected than the routine.

    In terms of what I want from my career options, I want something which involves the odd spot of foreign travel (ideally, but unlikely to involve business class flights). I want people contact, I want unpredictability, and I want to see results and short term change, but not force through long term structural changes. I’d like to do something which plays on my natural strengths as an orator, communicator and networker. Salary wise, I’d be looking at a salary of about £50K plus to maintain my current pension payouts plus the same take home salary.
    I’ve looked at jobs doing analyst work, but I don’t think I have the right mentality to do it well in the commercial environment. I keep hearing ‘business development’ but I’m not sure what that involves. I’d like to stay in the defence / foreign relations / security area if possible though, but this isn’t a deal breaker.

    So, my question is, can anyone offer genuine advice (not ‘take a man pill’) about what sort of career opportunities may exist for a civil servant / reservist who knows how the system works, has a lot of experience and who is good in a crisis, but hates the routine.

    Okay, I’ve rambled for long enough, but any thoughts would be hugely appreciated as I genuinely have no idea what to do with my life, and I don’t want to wake up in 30 years time and go ‘bugger’.
  2. How about a complete change of direction? I would suggest servicing brazilain ladyboys mopeds for the fee of having your hoop booted in? the pay may not be good but least you could say that you have done something different.

    I knew a bloke did his 22 in the mob and then became a ******* buddist monk....

    Seriously, if you are doing managing crisis - have you looked something like security and crisis management consultancy. Middle east/asia is paying good dough for it and there are some good courses you can do and you are your own boss and demand your wages. I know of a good firm who do a good certified security consultancy course where you get good bespoke training.... if you have the dough to pay for it.