Life is by no means a singular, straight path. Nor is it made up of a single career, more often than not.
In fact, in the case of Tim, life seems to have been made up of a multitude of paths that never appeared to direct him towards where he is now, but have allowed him to make his way to being a successful academic and highly valued member of the University of Worcester‘s faculty nonetheless.
Tim’s presentation took those of us present through his life journey so far, covering everything from his dedicated breeding of rabbits as a schoolboy, through his University education and PhD studies, all the way into how he ended up in his current position at our University.
It was a witty, charismatic talk which entertained all in the room, but there were certainly some very useful messages us students could take from Tim and apply to our own lives as well …In fact, I got a whole page of notes purely made up of observations on his presenting style, which will hopefully come in handy for me in June when presenting research I have been an academic partner for!
Tim began by talking us through some difficult times he had in school, and how these experiences shaped his interest in psychology (little did he know it was called that at the time!), and drove him to not just accept things at face value, but to analyse why they have occurred as well.
He then took us through the various different jobs he took on in his teenage years, through to when he graduated from Plymouth University, including the aforementioned rabbit breeding, working at a zoo, and dancing (the three key pillars for any academic, I’m sure you will agree!).
There is at no point in life an ultimatum, where you have to choose a single career and follow it all the way through to your retirement. You may take on a number of different roles during your life, in various different industries, but it is never too late to find a new opportunity, or take on a new role you may enjoy even more.
Through various different amusing anecdotes about clearing his desk and walking out of a job mid-meeting (although this method was strongly advised against later on in the talk), there was one message I wrote down from Tim which will perhaps be the strongest of the points I took away from his presentation: do what you enjoy, and do it well.
Though he has worked a multitude of different jobs in a variety of different industries, Tim’s main motivation always seemed to be to follow work he enjoyed doing, with people he enjoyed working for and with, and therefore completed to a high standard. So perhaps this is the message all students could take away from him, especially with the ominous end of the third year coming up for many: pick a career path that suits you at the time, and that you enjoy doing, and don’t think a single missed opportunity will stop you getting from where you need to be.
Tim himself said he relied on luck as well as opportunism on more than one occasion, and he certainly turned out alright!