My many bad decisions about education and work that have left me in dead-end jobs. What's the career of my dreams? And how do I get it?
But first, some quick background on how I got here. I have bipolar disorder which is now treated to the point where I have essentially no symptoms. My years of mental illness led to lots of bad decisions with education and careers (and lots of other things, too). I went to a third-rate university, got a degree in international relations and have worked in call-centres since. About two years ago, my years of non-treatment caught up with me and have been off-work since. Since I'm now well, I'll be going back to work in the near future (my last call-centre job's still open for me), but I'm finally in a position to start making long-term plans.
I also have a severe circadian rhythm sleep disorder. I'm seeing a neurologist about this. My sleep patterns are very disorganised and I suspect that even after treatment I'll find it difficult to keep to a fixed schedule.
I asked a more general question
about this a couple of months ago and got some good advice. This question's rather more specific: What career options should I be looking at and how do I get there? All the career advice I've seen has been aimed at people who are making these decisions for the first time, or people who are switching from an established career. I'm switching from no career
, which makes things a little more complicated.
My current situation:
Awful employment history. No experience in anything other than answering phones. 2:1 degree in international relations from a poorly rated university. I enjoy programming, but have no qualifications; I'm reasonably competent, but probably not at a professional level. I like solving problems, working under pressure and rather enjoy dealing with crises. I'd prefer to deal with people rather than technology. I'm think I'm academically able enough that I should be able to complete any course of study fairly easily, however if I do a second degree I'll have to fund it myself. I'm 26 and live in England.
What I want:
I have nothing specific in mind at the moment. But I've lived on very little money for years and I want to end up financially comfortable. I want to be able to catch up with people who've a few years' head-start; it would need to allow a reasonably flexible schedule from the beginning; and obviously it needs to be something where my history of mental illness won't necessarily hold me back. I'm willing to put in plenty of time and effort, though.
So, AskMe, what career or professions should I be considering and what will I need to do to qualify myself for them?