Alisons Story My Girls Pub
My girls' public school had few expectations for its pupils and after leaving I became a nurse. I wanted to live in London and to be self-supporting after all the financial sacrifices my parents had made to pay my school fees, but I couldn't stand the rigid hierarchy at the hospital where I worked and felt totally unscratched intellectually. I realized that I should have read medicine, not nursing, but financially it was not possible to give up work to take the necessary A levels, nor did I have the confidence to make the switch. After qualifying, I became a staff nurse at Guy's, but at the back of my mind was always the niggling thought - "Is the rest of my life going to be like this?"
I decided to give myself a year away from hospitals to see what was happening in the Outside world and thought again about studying medicine. I have always regretted not doing it. With the misguided idea that becoming a secretary would be a clear route into management, I enrolled for a six-week typing course and invented my own shorthand. I boldly put myself forward as a medical secretary and went to work in a hospital where I was tucked away in a back office with only the occasional consultant for company. This was not at all exciting - there wasn't even the patient contact that I had so enjoyed as a nurse. So, making yet another mistake, I joined a firm of accountants because I thought it would be fun in the City. It was very jolly there, but my boss fell in love with me and, as I wasn't interested and three years of accountants was ample; I left to help set up a private medical screening facility. It was the first of its kind and I soon realized that I actually possessed some entrepreneurial talents and obviously enjoyed starting new projects. However, once it was up and running successfully, I thought, "Where do we go from here? All this experience, no clear career path, no way to use the experience, so what should I do next?"
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