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March 3, 2021, by Benedict Watson

How To Prioritise Your Mental Health When Considering Your Future Career

By Benedict Watson, Student Blogger

University is a time when many people start to think seriously about their future career options.  Deciding what you want to do after you graduate is a big decision, so it is important that you prioritise your mental health while decision-making. Consider some of the factors below when deciding your future career.

How many hours a week would you be happy to work?

The number of hours that you are expected to work varies greatly between different careers. I study economics, which could offer a route to careers such as investment banking and asset management. Some private-sector careers like these may expect you to work long into the evenings. The financial rewards in these careers can be significant; however, these working hours may not be mentally sustainable for some people.

In contrast, it is typical to work 40-hour weeks in the public sector. Flexitime – flexibility over your start and end times – is also something that is often commonly offered across the public sector. It is important to think about whether you would be able to healthily work the hours expected in some private sector companies whilst maintaining your mental health and having time to enjoy life.

Are you a social person who enjoys interaction, or would you be happier in a more solitary job?

For some people, their best friends are made in the workplace and they would miss the buzz of the workplace if they moved to a more solitary job. However, others find office politics exhausting and prefer to work predominantly by themselves. A career like consulting involves lots of teamwork, whereas something like accounting may involve less interaction. If working by yourself appeals to you, you might want to also research whether working from home is an option.

Personally, I think I’d like to work in a job with a blended approach where I worked in an office for part of the week and worked from home for the rest of the week. This would give me an enjoyable balance between working with colleagues and having time to work by myself. 

Would you be happy living in a busy city (such as London)?

Some people thrive in the bustle of a big city with millions of people around you. Others may find themselves feeling lost and lonely in a city where no one knows who you are. Many opportunities in careers such as law and finance are based in London. However, it is possible in most careers to find opportunities away from the capital.

Although you may have a lot to consider when choosing your career, your first job after graduation may not be your perfect job. Therefore, it is important to practice self-care to maintain your wellbeing. If you find yourself working long hours, try taking the time to meditate after work to relax and avoid taking the stress of work into your evening. If you are feeling lonely in London, try video-calling family and friends at home. When I left home to go to university, I found video-calling to be a great way of communicating with my family as it felt more like I was actually seeing them than in a phone call or text. Finally, if you are a social person who finds yourself in a solitary job, try joining a sports club to make new friends and provide you with the social contact that you miss at work.

Thursday, 4 March 2021 is University Mental Health Day. Alongside Benedict’s fantastic blog, visit the university’s HealthyU website. If you are trying to work out what to do after you graduate, take a look at our choosing your career webpages. If you need additional support, consider booking an appointment with your Careers team.

Posted in Career wellbeingCareers AdviceChoosing Your CareerStudent Bloggers