This was a post on LinkedIn with the hashtag #what did I want to be when I was 15 and I thought it would be good here too.
The year is 1970 and I’ve just had my 15th birthday, literally and I’m in the deputy head’s office for a chat with the careers master. It’s coming up to the end of my 4th year and this is where I’ll find out if I’m going to the 5th year or not. In those days, if you were considered ‘bright enough’ you could go on for a further year and then possibly a 6th year at another school. This did not happen to many kids at my school.
Up to this day, I fancied being an architect, but I’ve just been told that I am not creative enough for that job and should think of something else. The deputy head is the Technical Drawing (TD) teacher and also the class teacher for year 5. He suggests that as I have a knack for TD, then a draughtsman could be a good choice. So that was my choice, a draughtsman. Taking the architects ideas and putting them down in a detailed drawing. Sorted.
Moving on to January 1971 and the results of my CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) mocks indicate that the 3 grade 2s and 1 grade 1, I needed for Technical College, are not going to be forthcoming. So, there is another meeting with the deputy head where I must make another career choice. Just like that. I did have a second choice, which was catering, and that is where I ended up. I was always disappointed that my first choice was side-lined, as I did get the grades I would have needed.
Whenever I talk or write about my schooldays it never fails to invoke laughter, especially among the younger people. They cannot believe some of the things that happened way back in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. You tell them about the punishments that were handed out and they are amazed. One English teacher used to have small flat bat, which was called “Heat For The Seat”. You can probably imagine what use it was put to.
2 thoughts on “Career, what career?”
Hard to get the youth of today to believe that teachers in the old days had carte blanche to beat you with any number of items, canes, slippers, rulers, the occasional board rubber thrown with remarkable accuracy from the other side of the room. Not to mention avoiding the paedophile teacher at all costs. Ah, happy days!
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Slightly younger than you, I was 15 in 1984 but had the same chat with the “Careers Teacher”, who was, in fact, the head of the school and an English Teacher. I said that I wanted to either go into music, working for the Philharmonic, catering or something with Maths. I passed all my Royal School of Music exams although still cannot read music, but can play the piano by ear, I passed my catering exams and my maths. So, what did I become? I started as a Photographic Lab Technician with a licence to use arsenic. Then move into the lift industry (maths heavy here) and managing several companies, then to roofing doing accounts (maths here), then to run an agricultural staffing company (maths still valuable). Finally, back to accountancy and management. So my catering never got used ever apart from cooking at home, which I am good at. As for my dream of working for Liverpool Philharmonic only turned into being a member and seeing performances.
Like with you I remember the punishment the sadistic teachers gave out. I was lucky as I only got the cane once when I was 8 for something nothing to do with me, so my father went to my school (consisting of 26 kids and 3 teachers) and promptly knocked the teacher out for what he did and told him to pick on someone his own size. The cane never came out again to any of the kids surprisingly.
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