[Taveena Atsu | Features Sub Editor]
Penny Pritchard helps us to draw the lines between working in communications and being a teacher. She also gives some advice on what to do if you’re unsure about what career you’d like to go into.
Her previous positions were concerned with marketing and PR, though in different industries, she says. Pritchard has weaved her way through a number of jobs in communications, including PR, sales, and marketing. She has also run a number of marketing departments, in addition to the West End, and Chelsea. These jobs could be seen as quite similar, as they all involve “having direct contact with potential clients.”
Teaching, on the other hand, she said: “Isn’t about ‘selling’ something to an individual, teaching means facilitating others’ learning – and this is particularly the case for university-level teaching.”
As any university student would know, independence is crucial for your studies in order to do well. Pritchard constantly engages her students and is passionate about what she does.
“One of the delights of teaching English Literature is that I get to spend my professional life thinking,” said Pritchard, “and sharing ideas, something which I love and which continues to fascinate me.”
Although there are similarities between the two that have helped her: “In both sales and teaching, you have to be able to think on your feet, be prepared to try different tactics.” Pritchard, like many others made a career change that she didn’t regret. She tells us that she gets “professional satisfaction from teaching that I had never experienced in any of my previous jobs.”
Being asked what we want from life is not a question that many students are prepared to answer, and Pritchard agrees. “I just think that it’s very hard for many students to have any clear idea of what they want to do with their lives when they leave university,” she said. If you don’t know which field you’d like to get into, why not try different paths? How do you really know what you want to do unless you try?”
Pritchard believes that people should “be open-minded about what the future holds; remember that you are acquiring a whole spectrum of skills above and beyond the subject of your university degree,” she says, “which will appeal to potential employers.”
Who knows, there may well be jobs out there that you’ve never heard of, she said. “Getting started in an unexpected direction could be the beginning of something amazing!”
Penny Pritchard is a prime example of how we’re not doomed to one field within our careers. If you’d like more info in different career paths, go to www.careerhub.herts.ac.uk