When I left off in part 1, I was confused about my career options and had a feeling that none of my career plans were compatible with my desire to live in Yorkshire near my family. I felt helpless, and had turned to the Transitions programme for help.
Around this time, I applied in desperation to a medical writing job based in Cheshire. It wasn’t really what I wanted, and as they told me about the working hours at the interview I realised that I would not be able to commute there from Leeds as I had hoped. I also had doubts about the ethicality of the job – it had a heavy emphasis on marketing of drugs to customers, rather than honest reporting of the science behind those drugs. I think they liked me, but I called them that evening to withdraw my application. I wasn’t at all sure I had done the right thing, and I felt as lost and helpless as ever.
My first port of call was a careers interview with Rachael Roberts at Newcastle University Careers Service. Talking to someone about my fears helped clarify my thoughts, and I came away feeling certain that I needed to find a job that was near my family, even if it meant compromising on the type of job I could do. However, Rachael also helped me to see that there were more opportunities out there than I had previously imagined, and gave me lots of ideas about how to broaden my job search and identify more opportunities. Armed with this information, and with a new-found optimism, I set to work thoroughly researching the job market in the region.
At the same time, I joined up with Transitions. Now, alongside my existing job searching I was being set fortnightly assignments that forced me to consider my career priorities, motivations and goals, and explore my skills and aptitudes in detail. This meant I was able to quickly identify career options that suited me and focus my efforts in the right places. It also helped me to realise I had made the right decision in turning down the job in Cheshire; ‘ethics’ topped my personal list of ‘core values’ that influence my happiness in a job. Transitions also meant that, when an interview was offered at short notice, I was well prepared with a selection of anecdotes detailing my skills, and I truly understood how my strengths, experience and desires related to the job I had applied for. I knew the job was perfect for me; I knew I was perfect for the job. This confidence helped me immensely at interview.
The day I received the email alert from Covance telling me that a medical writer position had opened up in their Leeds office, I was overjoyed. It was a one-in-a-million opportunity with a huge multinational organisation, and it was right in the heart of my home town! And, of course, I had been quietly preparing for a medical writing career for the past two years, so I was able to present a strong CV that really showed my dedication.
And the rest, as they say, is history! I am now busy house-hunting and putting my affairs in order in the lab. There is so much to do – I’d forgotten how stressful relocating could be! But once this is over, I should be settled and (fingers crossed) might never need to relocate again. I’ve lost my dream academic career – but I’ve gained my life back. I think I’ve made the right decision, but only time will tell.