One false move and a fresh start

March 20, 1998

Two graduates explain why they diverged from their degree paths soon after starting work

Jo Bremner is 26. She graduated in marketing and German from Lancaster University, a four-year course which included a year working in Germany organised by the university. She originally decided to combine marketing with her first choice, German, because she felt it would increase her chances of employment. Jo describes her year in Heidelberg, where she worked in the marketing department of the pharmaceuticals company Zeneca GmbH, as "the best in my life" and in terms of work experience it was "ideal". The company paid her well and gave her lots of responsibility which enabled her to "employ all the skills learned at Lancaster".

In her final year, Jo admits that she did not really approach the university's careers' service, "I had already decided to do marketing, I had the experience and never thought of anything else." The year in Germany gave her "something to focus on at interviews and something to put on my CV".

But two months into her first job in marketing Jo realised she had made the wrong choice of career. She resigned from her job and moved to London. Several months of temping and applying for permanent jobs in various fields left her feeling "unhappy and disheartened". It was at this stage that she turned to the careers' services at Lancaster and University College London. Jo now works at the Royal College of Nursing Library on a voluntary basis after the careers office suggested "work shadowing" and is hoping to start a postgraduate course in librarianship in 1999. She does not regret studying marketing and feels that her work experience with Zeneca was beneficial.

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