Deciding my goals

Before you go on to explore and clarify your own goals it might be helpful to hear how others have approached this task.

You heard Katrina in Sessions 3 and 5. You can now listen to her talking again about how she moved towards her goal of returning to nursing. She started by signing up for an Open University access course that eased her back into studying. But as you will hear, she wasn’t clear about her end goal at this point: she just decided to give it a go.

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Well, when I first heard about The Open University course I was just approaching, well I was 48, so I knew my 50th birthday was coming up. My son Ruaridh who’s autistic and has quite a lot of needs was 18 and was beginning to become a little bit less dependent on me. And I just felt that I had a little time on my hands. I was looking around for something to do or somewhere to go. I didn’t really have any ideas at all and at a meeting at the carers centre one evening they told us about Open University courses that they were running and they were free to carers. And just on impulse, I just put my name down that day. I didn’t even think about it. And that was me signed up and that was it. The rest is history.
It’s two years on from that day and it’s a different, I’m living a different life. It’s almost unbelievable. I look back to two years ago and I can’t believe I am where I am today. I never thought I’d see this day again.
Well I did the Open University course and passed. That gave me the courage to apply to do a return to practice course for nursing. Something that I had talked about for the last ten years but had never actually done anything about but having done the Open University course, it just gave me the courage to apply for that. I did that last year and I have passed and as I said earlier I’m now in the position that very shortly when my registration comes through I will be able to work as a staff nurse again. I just never thought that day would ever come.
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You first heard from Dean in Session 1. He enjoyed computing at school and later at college and he knew he had a flair for IT. It then took him some time to develop the idea further before deciding to enrol on maths and computing courses with The Open University.

I’ve always kept my hands in a bit of IT, taking computers apart, putting them back and fixing software problems. It’s always been a hobby of mine that I thought that I could turn into a career because it was something that I was quite passionate about.

This was his first step towards thinking about a potential area of employment that would involve a possible change of direction from his present job in retail. In contrast to Katrina he spent time weighing up the risks. Here’s what he says about making that decision:

I’m not a big risk taker at all. It took me nearly a year and a half to sit and say ‘I’ll go for Open Uni’ because I was going through everything that could go wrong in my head … if I’ve got one clear path, then I can consider it, and if it’s still an option for about three to four months then I can sit and say that’s maybe an option then. It has to go through a rigorous amount of all the bad situations that can happen.

You’ve just got to go through all the situations and all the scenarios that could happen … because this is the biggest jump I’ve taken – to go part time, doing that, and then doing uni.

And you can listen to Dean talking about his plans for the future.

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In the future I would like to have a safer career. And something that’s maybe financially a bit better right now, because right now I’m just, I wouldnae say I’m making the breadline, that would be a lie but I’m making just enough to get by. And em it would be nice to have one that’s no as physically demanding because my body is falling apart. And em, it would be nice to have a more secure job, basically. Any sort of career that’s eh, and then that allows me to look after the family, and all that, just to be able to have more time to look after everyone plus no have to worry about if I’m off work.
I started studying IT back in high school. Um and I was really good at it. So I took it up at em, at college. And em it was going really well. Eh passed it, I passed it actually really fast, really quick. I was finished a lot faster than everyone else. But em we were hitting some financial difficulties so I had to leave. I’ve always kept my hands in a bit of IT, thereabouts, taking computers apart, putting them back and fixing software that have got problems. Em but yeah it’s always been a hobby of mine that I would thought that I could turn into a career because it was something that I was quite passionate about.
Yeah, well I’ve started off on the ‘My Digital Life’, that’s part one, and I’m going to the, well I’m hoping to go on to the software development route and maybe after that hardware. For now, software, that’s the main important one.
Eh, well I’m most proud about the fact that I can pay my bills, that’s the important one. Everything that I own is mine. I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve got.
Eh yeah basically everything that I own, pay bills, eh that’s important. Looking after my family, that’s, it’s almost like its expected of me, but it’s no something that I try and dodge, it’s that, because I know they would do the same for me. I know they have done the same for me. Um, I’m a relatively decent guy I suppose. [Laughs]
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Listening to Katrina and Dean, did you notice whether they were always sure about what they wanted to do exactly, and whether that they had different feelings about starting something new?

How do you feel about starting something new? Your long-term goal might not be quite clear yet, but you may feel ready to start something now. Or perhaps you would like to make sure that you are really clear about where you’re headed before you take on a new commitment?