‘Don’t settle for a career you are not passionate about’

This week bestselling novelist and 2011 Marie Claire Mentor, Tasmina Perry tells us the importance of doing a job you love

Tasmina Perry left a career in law to work in women’s magazines, before turning her hand to books. All six of her novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers and have been published in 17 countries.
 
‘I could have continued to work as a solicitor but at 23 I was spending my lunch breaks crying in the loos. Finally I realised that you spend a lot of time at work so it’s important to do something you really enjoy.
 
‘I’d always been a very creative person – I wrote for my university magazine and newspaper and got involved with the weekly solicitors’ newsletter on my training course. In my spare time I’d enter writing competitions, just for fun.
 
‘It wasn’t until I had to do a home repossession case in court as part of my training, that I realised law wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to have a negative impact on someone’s life. I wanted to make people happy. I felt frustrated and trapped – going 100mph in to a career I didn’t want.
 
‘But I didn’t just drop everything. I made a deal with my dad to qualify as a lawyer so that I had a fall back, just in case things didn’t work out.
 
‘Leaving a prestigious career, with a mapped-out future, was daunting. I spent three months on my friend’s sofa while I did work experience at more! magazine but, even then I knew I was doing something I really loved.

I might have made a decent lawyer but never a great one. I constantly clock-watched. But at more! I couldn’t wait to get in to the office. I think it’s important to stop and ask yourself every now and then ‘am I enjoying the work or do I just like the people I work with?’
 
‘Sometimes you have to be quite unhappy to have the confidence to do something about it. Your career shouldn’t be something you hate.’
 
Tasmin Perry’s latest novel, Perfect Strangers, Headline, RPP £12.99 is available on 19th July.
 
Every week a businesswoman or professional from Marie Claire’s Inspire & Mentor campaign posts their favourite piece of career advice.

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