What will you do all day?

When I talk to a student/client about their ideal career path, they’ll often tell me they chose the career because they find their lectures interesting.  If I then say – so what will you be doing all day? – they look at me as though I’m stupid.  I’ll be Marketing, Consulting, Investing etc. they say.  Excellent, but what will you actually do?  What activities will you be involved in?  Who will you interact with & why? Where will you be? What will you see? How will you know that you are doing well?

This lead me to start saying that a job is both what you do it about & what you actually do, but that lead to blank faces too.  So I guess I need to use an example to illustrate. Avoiding my normal go-to of football I think a good example is being a professional musician in an orchestra.


What you are doing it about is easy to imagine- you are entertaining people with your music playing brilliance.

What you are actually going to be doing though takes a little more thought:

  • Playing to an audience – yes, but how often?  Where will you be?
  • Music – will you be constantly learning a new repertoire? Will you be playing the same thing over & over again?  Will you get a say?
  • Feedback – do you want an entire audience to judge you?
  • Practising – by yourself?  With the whole orchestra?  How often, & for how long?
  • Auditioning – will you need to do a lot of this?  How will you handle it?
  • Travelling – is it a travelling orchestra?  Do you like hotels & service stations?  Do you want a home life?
  • Your working day – do you want to work evenings & weekends?
  • Work mates – who will you be with? It must be intense in a section of a band?
  • Remuneration – can you afford the life you want on the level/regularity of pay?
  • Base location(s) – where are orchestras based? Are you happy to relocate to a new orchestra’s base if needed?

I’m sure that you can think of many more variables than these, but this will do for starters as it then gives people a chance to think about how they feel about each of these things. That sum of thoughts and feelings can be added to the idea of being a musician & allow them to think more clearly about whether it’s a good career choice or not.

So if you’re thinking about a new career, or telling someone about yours, make sure that you explore as many details and variables as possible – that way the best possible decisions can be made.