Career prospects

When I was around 13 or 14 I was called into a small office at school to have a chat with the Careers Advisor, the mystical being that would help ease us into our chosen lines of work by passing on sage advice and producing, as if from nowhere, magical leaflets that outlined what we needed to do. The office was along a dark corridor that led into an unknown part of the school buildings where few students ventured and it was only once in most kids entire school life that they did take those rare apprehensive steps.

It really was scary!
In that chat, which has remained burned into the back of my cerebrum as a reminder that the world of school can be a cruel beast, I was asked what I wanted to do when I left school. I answered honestly and openly awaiting the complete solutions of how I would get into my chosen career;

"I want to be a photographer and filmmaker".

I wanted to be doing this!
Before I continue with that conversation I wanted to fill you in on some details of my life around that time.

There were lots of things that I loved doing at that age but I didn't tell anyone about them, for some reason I didn't think it mattered to anyone but me.
My love of board games and tabletop RPGs comes from this time when I had a few board games and the Dungeons & Dragons basic set but no one to play them with.
I Loved to take photos, I was always trying to photograph people in their 'natural environment' - I hated, and still do, posed or staged photos.
I loved using my dads great big VHS Camcorder to make short films about the garden or my version of the news (I clearly remember once setting up the ironing board as the news desk and presenting the weather in my dressing gown to highlight just how cold it was!).

A close approximation of my Dads camcorder!
However, because I didn't tell anyone about the things I loved doing I also did ask people what they loved doing and only found out if they talked about it. Thinking back now I know there were at least a handful, maybe more, of my school friends that were into tabletop gaming - be it board games, RPGs or even wargaming. There were also a few of my friends that wanted to get into the same career as me, but I saw it differently - they wanted to be Hollywood directors and make movies! I just wanted to document life.

Let's head back to that office.

"Well, it's a very difficult career to get into and very competitive. You would be better off becoming a bus driver or a binman. Have you thought about the catering industry?" was roughly the reply from the 'careers advisor'.

This reinforced the idea that school was not for me.

Previously I'd been told that I couldn't do I.T. as a subject because I didn't try hard enough in other classes. I felt it was lost on the school that the subjects I liked I was passionate about - Drama and Music - and would come in early, stay late, give up break and lunchtimes for and get involved in the school productions (although I will admit that looking back now I see where they were coming from).

As an early teen I got it into my head that if an employee of the school, that wasn't a teacher, tells you something then they must be correct. So I ended up going into catering, albeit the wrong way, by joining the Youth Training Scheme (YTS).
By Joining the YTS I could meet Royalty!
The Youth Training Scheme was a Joke!
Youth Training Scheme advocates.
I was employed by a local company who would teach me how to be a chef and 1 day a week I would go to college to reinforce what I'd learned. For this amazing opportunity I would be paid the princely sum of £71 a week.
In reality, I was the kitchen skivvy who did most of the crappy jobs that no one else wanted to do, I was taught nothing and at college I couldn't get involved properly as I didn't know most of the basics that working in the kitchen should've taught me.
Needless to say, I didn't last in catering. After roughly 2 years I quit and started my long career of working menial jobs for basic wages and being unhappy in most of them (with the exception of working with my Dad, that was a fun experience but just at the wrong time in life!).

Now I'm 40 years old, I still have a passion for photography and filmmaking and am trying to do it as a hobby and possibly make a little money from it.

There is one problem though.

So is everyone else.

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