APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.
Here she gives a reader advice on how to find a job she will be passionate about despite being in a company that values her.
Q) My daughter got married in June, and I loved helping her plan the wedding.
I found I had a knack for not only sorting the practical side of things (I’ve always worked as a PA, so I know how to organise efficiently), but also coming up with some creative solutions.
My new son-in-law was particularly impressed and said I should consider giving it a go as a job.
I’m in my 50s and feel like it’s too late to change my career – plus I have no idea how to go about it.
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What do you think?
Marie, via email
A) It’s never too late to do something you’re truly passionate about.
I’m sure a career as a PA has set you up with many transferable skills, such as being organised, time management and problem solving, all of which will be perfect for working in events.
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While you have the security of a job and income as a PA, you should explore exactly how you would want to pursue a new career in events.
Would you prefer to work for a company or to be self-employed?
Would it be a side hustle or a full-time job?
As I’m sure you know, organising your daughter’s wedding for pleasure is very different from working directly with a client for a paid event.
You would likely have to work evenings and weekends, which isn’t for everybody.
Try to find somebody who works in weddings and events that you can take for a coffee and talk to.
Ask questions that will give you a real insight into the industry, as well as how to find clients and sell your services.
It sounds like you already have the support of your family, so good luck!
- Got a careers question for Karren? Email [email protected]
A Day In The Life Of…
Alison Battle, 57, is the co-founder of Lapland UK.
She lives in south-east London with her business partner husband Mike, 57, and Irish terrier Paddy.
I wake up at…
7.45am. I’m a night owl, which is a legacy from when I set up the business as a mum of four boys and worked from their bedtime until 3am.
I don’t go to bed before midnight, so I’m not an early riser.
Mike brings me a cup of tea in bed, which I drink with my eyes closed while contemplating the day ahead.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, when I work from our office in Borough, London, Mike, Paddy and I catch the 8.52am train to arrive by 9.30am.
On the other days, I work from home, so I start more slowly with a dog walk in the countryside.
A normal day involves…
At 10am on Mondays, we have a 90-minute senior leadership team meeting, with finance, commerce, customer service, production and brand – headed by our son Matthew, 27.
From 11.30am, I deal with emails till lunchtime, when Mike and I walk to Borough Market with Paddy to buy fresh fish for dinner.
My role is creative, focusing on writing scripts, letters from Father Christmas and articles for the bi-annual Lapland Times newspaper.
I also design decorations and retail products, requiring twice-yearly visits to Keel Toys in Kent to brief the designers.
Our live show – which involves 750 people, from actors to crew members – takes place in a forest in Ascot, Berkshire, until Christmas Eve.
The best part of my job is…
Not feeling like it is a job. Our mission is to honour childhood.
The Countess of Wessex even brought her two children, the Queen’s grandchildren, for 10 consecutive years.
And the worst…
Hearing heartbreaking stories about children who are celebrating their last Christmas.
Through our foundation, The Lapland UK Charity, we can make special memories for those families.
It’s a bittersweet part of the business.
I wind down by…
Running. I took it up when I turned 50.
I love to watch The Repair Shop and Bake Off, too, and I do scrapbooking.
I’m passionate about curating memories – when we’re old and grey, they’re all we will have!
Visit Portal.laplanduk.co.uk and follow @Laplanduk and @Mrandmrslapland on Instagram.
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