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The Career Happiness Podcast: Life After Apprenticeships

Soma Ghosh is a careers advisor, podcaster and The Career Happiness Mentor. I first met Soma on Twitter, and we found a lot of common ground around our work with young people as advocates for non-traditional career routes.

Soma invited me onto her podcast to discuss all things careers, particularly portfolio careers and building a successful career after an apprenticeship. We also go off on a few tangents, including how the pandemic has changed career planning and the newly-announced legislation around student loans in England.


Soma Ghosh: Welcome to the career happiness podcast. My name is Soma Ghosh. I am the founder of a business called The Career Happiness Mentor. And within this podcast, we explore themes around career happiness, confidence, wellbeing, and so much more. Not only do I do one-to-one personalised episodes to really really support you as a listener, but you will have the chance to listen to really, really amazing guests from all corners of not just world, but different industries.

It’s really, really important that you are not only happy in your career, but you make time to progress in a way that feels right for you. So, if you want to have more energy in your career, change your career, find out more about how to potentially start a business or even help your teenager with careers advice. This is the podcast for you. Thanks so much.

So in today’s episode, we have our first interview for 2022, where I spoke to Kathryn. And Kathryn is a career coach, but she also has a marketing background and she has a really interesting portfolio career. And I stumbled upon Kathryn on Twitter. I saw that she was interviewed on another podcast and I really, really liked her brand. I really liked what she was doing and we hopped on a zoom call and we got to know each other a little bit.

And Kathryn has a really interesting background. And I think that these backgrounds need to be showcased a little bit more because as a careers advisor, I often see us talking about, you know, do you GCSEs, do your A Levels. Go and do a degree. Kathryn is somebody who did her GCSEs. She did her A Levels. And she’ll tell you a little bit more in the podcast because we spoke a little bit more about it, but the route that she took at a time where apprenticeships were not really that popular. They weren’t really that on Vogue as they are right now. Right.

And she spoke about the skills that she learned in her apprenticeship and how it’s really, really helped her forge out her marketing career as well as her coaching business. But what I really, really like about Kathryn is that she has this ability to really, really articulate things in a way that I feel more of us need to be hearing about, especially for those of you who might be interested, if you’re a young person who listens to this podcast, you know, parents that apprenticeships aren’t bad. Right. And they are becoming more popular a little bit, but at the same time, there is still a little bit of animosity around how they can really provide for the future.

And I think the other kind of things we spoke about in this episode was really, really around the different changes that professional women are having within the workforce. You know, this whole debate about going to university, not going to university. I learned a lot from Kathryn when I spoke to her and I do really, really feel that we as a society need to tune in more to the fact that not everyone wants to go to uni. And I’ve spoken about this before on the podcast and that’s one of the reasons I wanted her to come on.

But the other reason I really, really wanted her to come on is that success comes in different forms and different ways. And having a very kind of different career that’s something that’s not linear and not so stringent in its way, is possible. And yeah, I’m really, really just excited to have her on. And I’m now going to pass you along to our interview, and I really hope you enjoy this one. Thanks so much.

Hello everybody. We have Kathryn with us here today. Hey Kathryn, how are you?

Kathryn Monkcom: I’m good. Thank you. How are you Soma?

Soma Ghosh: Not too bad, not too bad. So we’re recording this on a Friday today and I actually kind of met Kathryn via Twitter. I think, I believe it was, we had a chat and we spoke and we seem to align with each other. And I really wanted Kathryn to come on because I feel as though she’s got a very, I think not just a unique story, a very inspiring story as well. So can you kind of just tell us a little bit more about you, Kathryn? What do you do? What’s your background career? That kind of thing.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, sure. So I have a few different things going on work wise at the moment. I work in digital marketing, that’s kind of my background. I started off as an apprentice about six, seven years ago and kind of worked my way up from there. And then when the pandemic kicked off, I decided to shake things up a little bit. And I trained as a professional coach and also as a tutor and assessor. So I’m qualified to teach post 16 education.

So these days, I split my time. I do three days a week in digital marketing stuff. I do one day a week teaching digital marketing apprentices. And then I do one day a week doing some life coaching as well. So a little bit of everything.

Soma Ghosh: Oh, very varied. I actually didn’t know that much about the teaching. I’ll ask you a little bit more about that in a bit. Sounds very interesting when we talk about the apprenticeships. With that kind of varied career, Kathryn, what do you think are some of the skills that you’ve developed? Cause I speak to a lot of women, Kathryn, in my business who want that flexibility, they want kind of like a portfolio career. What kind of advice or tips would you give to anyone who wants to have that lovely multifaceted career that you’ve got.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, absolutely. I think first of all, what was so appealing about this kind of portfolio career for me was having that variety because when I just had one full time job, what I found is that I would get restless quite easily. So after kind of around 18 to 24 months in a role I would be looking for either a promotion or a sideways move to another department or to leave and find something else. Because I was constantly hungry for new challenges. And what I was concerned about was what that would look like to potential future employers on my CV in terms of looking like I was job hopping.

Now these days, I don’t really believe that job hopping is a thing. I think that employers are much more open to people that are having all different structures of careers, but at the time that was something that did concern me. So what I really love about this portfolio style career is that I can do a bit of everything. I can split my time. I can have that variety and I don’t get, I guess, bored quite so easily. And if it does get to a point where I decide actually this particular job or this particular project that I’m working on is not serving me anymore. I can kind of get rid of that bit and bring something else in to replace it without having to shift all of the work that I do.

So it adds actually, I think people often associate a portfolio career or freelancing with having less financial security. But actually from that perspective, it gives you more financial security because you’re able to just kind of adapt and change certain projects rather than changing a whole job role. And I think the other thing that’s really appealing about it, that a lot of people don’t think about is you can be self-employed or employed by another business or both. So two out of my three roles are employed. I’m an employee. I’m on payroll. And then my coaching business is the part that I do as a freelancer. But you could have any combination of that. So it really does give you that flexibility.

I think to answer your original question around what tips I could give or what skills people would need. I think that the big one is organisation. You know, I’m quite lucky that I’m quite an organised person, that comes very naturally to me. I’m a massive list-maker, I love my stationery. But if that’s something that doesn’t come naturally to you then it’s definitely something to get on top of.

So whatever works for you, whether that’s having a master spreadsheet that outlines, this is the hours a week that I work, and this is how I’m splitting my time, and this is what money is coming in from different places. And making sure that you set aside enough for tax and things like that. But of course there are Facebook groups out there where people, freelancers, support each other, there are accountants you can speak to. There are all sorts of people there to support you. It’s just, you know, making sure that you’ve got your ducks in a row before HMRC come knocking.

Soma Ghosh: Yeah. No, I think that’s really, really interesting what you were saying there, Kathryn, because I do think. I’ve just, I recorded an episode a few weeks back about why or why you should not have a business, you know, three reasons to start a business. One of the things I see is that people who like the structure and routine of a day job are very hesitant to start a business because, you know, that motivation that you need to get up when, you know, you’ve got your business days if it’s a side hustle can be hard for people. People don’t like coming away from that routine.

And I’m really glad you mentioned the organisational skills because it’s so, so important. One of the things that I know that I resonated with when I saw you online and I thought, this is someone I definitely need to reach out to, is a little bit around kind of apprenticeships. And we will go back and talk a little bit more about your business as well Kathryn, because you do have a lovely coaching business.

But with apprenticeships, I as a careers advisor, you know, I’m getting more and more young people come to me and ask questions about degree apprenticeships and things like that. And, I don’t know, I feel that there is like, some of the parents that I’ve spoken to, they now are changing their mind about apprenticeships. And I know that when we spoke, you told me a little bit about your own journey with apprenticeships. I’d love to kind of just find out from you what happened with that, because I know that you didn’t necessarily go down a traditional route. So how did that pan out? Please tell us a little bit more about that.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, definitely. It’s so interesting what you said there about parents starting to change their minds as well, because it’s definitely something that I’ve seen in the kind of apprenticeship sector and in the wider landscape of the way apprenticeships are seen. You know, when I was at school and when I was in sixth form, I’m making these decisions about what I wanted to do next, apprenticeships were fairly new. So I guess a lot of the standards and a lot of the areas that you could study were fairly new, apprenticeships themselves have been around for a long time as a concept. You know, they date right back to ancient Greek times but more in kind of more practical, hands-on areas. And the government actually reformulated apprenticeships kind of in the last 20 years to include a lot more areas, including business topics that you can study.

So when I was looking to make that decision about what I wanted to do next, there was a real lack of evidence there around what apprenticeships could lead to. Because I think the standard that I eventually went on, the course I eventually did, it was only about two or three years old. So the people that had completed that course were only two or three years into their career. So it was really hard to look up to any role models and see actually, this is someone that’s done this course and this is where they’ve gone on to. So I think now there’s a lot more of that. There’s people that have done these courses, done these apprenticeships that have gone on to do amazing, amazing things. And I think parents and young people can see that and it gives that evidence. So when I was making that decision, it was very much a leap in the dark.

And actually it’s funny that I ended up doing what I did because when I was in sixth form, I went to a grammar school. It was very much the case that everyone applied to university. I think there was 200 people in my year. And two of us, one being me didn’t end up applying to university. It was, you know, it was blocked out on the time table for UCAS sessions where you could get help from members of staff on how to formulate your personal statement and things like that. It was very much assumed that everyone would apply.

And I did apply for university. I applied to study philosophy. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And philosophy was my favorite subject at A Level. So I thought, you know, I’ll give that a go. And I had a place to study at the University of Birmingham. And it was getting closer and closer to my A Level exams. And I started thinking, you know, I’m going to enjoy this philosophy course, but it’s not a strategic decision for me. It’s not something that is going to get me to where I want to be. And actually, I don’t know where it is I want to be. So maybe I should rethink this.

And also at the time I was really struggling with my mental health. I’d just been diagnosed with Anxiety with depression. So I was thinking, you know, do I really want to be moving to a new city? Meeting a lot of people that I don’t know, having the pressure of, you know, more exams, further education? And actually I decided that that route probably wasn’t for me.

So I kind of went back to the drawing board and started thinking, okay, what is it that I enjoy doing? What other things in my life? What are the things that bring me joy and bring me pleasure? And what I landed on is that I’d actually been writing a blog while I’d been at sixth form. I’d been writing a fashion and beauty blog, just in my spare time. And that was something that I absolutely loved, but I hadn’t really thought about how it could potentially be a career. And what I realised is that I’d learned a lot of skills that really lent themselves to social media and digital marketing.

So I started looking into whether I could change my UCAS application to be marketing courses instead, and whether I could do something close to home so that I could still live at home. And what I found is actually I would either have to defer a year and apply again the following year, or I would have to go through clearing and actually the options that were there for me, I felt like I was going for them because they were there. Not because they were necessarily my first choice.

So I started thinking about how else I could get into digital marketing. And I literally was just Googling and I stumbled across apprenticeships. I didn’t really realise that you could do apprenticeships in business related subjects. And I saw that there was a vacancy local to me, it looked decent. I applied, I got the job. It all happened very quickly, probably within a couple of weeks.

So I know that’s not the experience for a lot of young people now, you know, they’re applying for degree level apprenticeships at massive organisations that have intakes every year. You know, they are very, very competitive, but there are other options out there with smaller businesses. And what I actually found is that, although it did turn out after a couple of years of being at that business that it wasn’t the best fit for me and I did move on, it gave me a massive opportunity of being a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond.

And I was able to learn a lot very quickly. I built experience very quickly. I was given a lot of responsibility very quickly. And within sort of 18 months to two years, I was Marketing Manager, managing my own team and budget and department. And as I said, I ended up moving on from that business. But what I learned there and the experience I got has paid dividends in the rest of my career.

Soma Ghosh: Thank you so much for sharing that Kathryn. Really, really interesting and really kind of insightful. I think because often we don’t hear the other side of what happens with apprenticeships, we’re always hearing what happens when people do a degree or go through a graduate scheme. And I don’t mean to say that negatively. I’m just saying as a careers advisor, who’s been a careers advisor since 2008. So a very long time. When I started out, Kathryn just to give you some insight. Yeah, we would talk about apprenticeships, but it would be like vocational, academic, vocational, academic. And I know that we discussed this whole thing around my opinions on that. And you gave some very interesting insights as well, and we had a really lovely discussion, but one of my concerns still is, I mean, you may have seen in the news, this new stuff about, and I wasn’t very happy to be honest. It’d be interesting to hear your opinion as well, that people who don’t get, you know, their maths and English GCSE, they won’t be entitled for student loans for university. And that for me was quite like, oh, okay. So you want to like make the divide further for universities.

But what I wanted to ask you as well is that I think as a society, we still have a bit of an issue with this whole debate around going to uni or not going to uni Kathryn. And you are really lovely example of someone who’s done an apprenticeship and learnt so much. Who’s a self-starter, who really worked hard and has done well. And there are many more people like you out there, but why do you think we, as a society are still in that kind of mindset? Oh, got to go to uni. Get the experience rather than, although I said that parents are more interested now, they’re still not, some of them are still not there. Do you know what I mean? So it’d be interesting to hear your perspective on this, the debate around whether you should go to uni or not, I guess.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, definitely. And I did wonder if we would talk about that news about the government changing funding rules around university, because I absolutely agree with you. I think it is very telling around the way that they have really focused on those Maths and English and then linked that to funding. Because it really is going to widen the gap between classes really, it will be the people that can afford to go to university that will be able to go. And I don’t think that that’s how we should be prioritising who gets access to further education. But that’s kind of another story.

Your question around why we’re not quite there yet with apprenticeships, especially around parents. I think you know, bringing in some of my coaching knowledge as well. As parents and as people that care for other people, we want what’s best for them. And we want to protect our young people. And when we form opinions about things as humans, we rely quite heavily on what’s called cognitive bias. So we rely heavily on our own experiences and our own deep seated beliefs to then formulate that to protect the people that we care about and to advise the people that we care about. And that’s embedded into our worldview.

So for example, my parents were both the first in their families to go to university. So when I told them that I didn’t want to go to university, I think they were concerned about that. And I haven’t spoken to them about this, but what potential place that that could have come from is when they were the first in their family to get into university, there would have been an immense amount of pride around that and a sense of we’re going to be able to go on to better things. Like the next generation is going to have a better life and a higher quality of life than the previous generation.

So then to see me break that cycle was potentially quite triggering for them. In the same way, if parents, when they were at school, it was really drummed into them that you must go to university, university as a guarantee of a good job. Whatever good job means. That’s very much in inverted commas. You know, if that was drummed into them and that maybe back then was more the case because fewer people went to university. So it was a way of differentiating yourself in the job market. Then when your child then says, actually, maybe I don’t want to go to university. I’m not so sure. It triggers those feelings of fear that were drummed into us when we were younger.

Soma Ghosh: Very interesting. And I do think that the whole debate that I see when I’m talking to parents. Even though, you know, so for example, there’s a really good apprenticeship scheme that I know a young person’s applying to through Vodafone, all like kind of computer-based and it looks amazing, Kathryn. You know, like software development. It looks great. But I think the other thing is this whole mindset about what university life is really like, you said something really interesting in terms of, you know, well if you would go to uni, you’d be in a different town. That there’d be a different lifestyle.

And I talked to the Year 13 students that I work with around this, because some of them have very unrealistic expectations of what uni is going to be like, and that can be quite interesting to kind of, you know, tell my. Okay, if you’re going to be studying something, let’s just say like history or law, you’re going to have to do a lot of reading. Maybe in the first year, yeah you can have a little bit of fun. But university life, really isn’t for everybody. And with those kind of courses that I mentioned, especially law, has such a high dropout rate. I do think that we need to maybe also be teaching and talking to young people about what university life is really like.

What do you think about that, Kathryn? Because I think that there isn’t really a lot of information and even parents ask me sometimes that Soma, okay there’s all this great course information, but what is it actually going to be like. You know, like there isn’t enough, especially after COVID hit, when a lot of young people were feeling especially isolated and actually some of them were dropping out of their courses because they were really depressed and anxious.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s really important to set realistic expectations of both what life as an apprentice would be like and life at university and any other options out there. It’s really important, not just to think about the strategic level of what is this course going to include? Where is it going to take me to in my career? But also actually, what is it going to feel like? What is it going to be like to have to work through that and to go through that process? Because at the end of the day, if you’re not enjoying yourself, you can be on the most amazing course in the world. If you hate it, you’re not going to be happy. And at the end of the day, that needs to be the end goal.

And I totally agree with you around COVID. My other half, he graduated last year. So at the start of COVID, I moved in with him and his university house with his housemates. And seeing them all go through their final year during a pandemic was just really difficult to see because a lot of them were really, really struggling. So yeah, I think it is really important to set those expectations, but also to help young people to look within and work out what it is that they want and they need from this experience so that they can then align and say, okay this actually is going to be the right path for me or it’s not.

Soma Ghosh: Yeah, no. Definitely, I think that’s really, really important Kathryn. I was going to ask you a little bit about, because you know, I’m what’s called an elder millennial, there you go, said it proudly. But what kind of tips would you give? Because I do have some people from the Gen Z generation listening to this podcast. What kind of career tips would you give for professionals in the kind of Gen Z generation who are kind of like trying to stand out, because there is pressure, but there’s a lot of expectations, especially with a social media and everything else.

And I think young people often feel, when they’ve graduated or whether they do an apprenticeship or not, or wherever they are in their career. They feel a sense of comparison with older people or with people who look more professional online. So what kind of advice would you give or tips would you give to help anyone who is in a new job or has only been working for a couple of years? I guess, who’s in that generation.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, definitely. I’ve got two tips here that I can give. The first is that society will always try and put you in a box. So if you take the traditional university route, one of the big issues with that is that it’s just assumed that that’s the route you will take. So you go to school, you do your GCSEs, you do your A Levels, you go to university, you get onto a graduate scheme, and then you stay in that job until you retire. The end. And actually that is not going to be, it’ll work really well for some people, but it’s not going to serve the majority of people. We all need an individual combination of different parts of that journey to create our perfect life and our perfect career. So actually what I would say is my tip is to flip that model on its head and rather than letting the system play you, play the system.

So for example graduate schemes, try not to worry too much about impressing the person so that you get the approval and you get onto that scheme and that’s going to be your ticket to happiness. You know, really think about what is it is going to make me happy? What is it that I need for the next step in my career? For example, if you want to be a writer, don’t wait for the approval of someone to say, yes you’ve got this writing job. Brilliant. You’re now a writer. You’re a writer if you do any type of writing, so start writing. And that can apply to anything that you want to do. Just start, find the people that you need to help you.

I appreciate that obviously that’s much easier for some people than others, depending on privilege. But anything you can do to do what you want to do. You don’t need to wait for approval or permission is, I guess what I’m saying, you can just start. And by just starting, that’s how you start to build up all this experience, as well as the soft skills around being a go getter, being a self-starter, that employers, business investors if you want start your own business, all these people are going to look for in you. So that would be tip number one is to not wait for approval or permission, just do the thing that you want to do.

Tip number two was you mentioned around comparing yourself to people that look more professional, and I would really encourage young people to question what they see as professional. What does professional mean? Because I think professional can mean anything that you want it to be. You know, when I was in my first role it was fairly corporate. I really loved that I would wear a blazer to work every day. I felt that that was really professional. Writing kind regards at the end of an email, that felt really professional.

Then I moved into digital marketing agency life. And that is very much, the culture of digital agencies very much comes from like tech companies in Silicon Valley. So everyone wears t-shirts and jeans to work. Everyone has a beer fridge in their office. Like it’s very, very chilled and relaxed. So my definition of what was considered professional was completely flipped on its head. And now what I see as professional is really leaning into my strengths of being direct, telling clients how it is. They’re paying me to provide a service so I’m going to provide that service as, without the fluff as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Like that to me is very professional, but to other people professional might be something completely different and that’s fine too. So working out how you perceive your professional self, rather than feeling like you have to fit into a box.

Soma Ghosh: Thank you for sharing both of those tips. Yeah. It’s interesting what you were saying about the professionality, because I think a lot of young people associate like status driven careers. I was having a conversation with a young person the other day, who even though they weren’t interested in a particular type of career. You know, they had a couple of different career ideas and I was like, why are you interested? Oh, you know, that’s the one that has a lot of status, even though they had no interest. And that’s an issue that we have in our society that we need to break a little bit Kathryn. Very interesting.

Kind of moving on a little bit, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about your coaching business. One of the things that really, really intrigued me is I know that you support people with career coaching, I believe. But can you tell us a little bit more about kind of how that business began and kind of what you do?

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s a really good question actually around how it started, I don’t know where the original thought came from. I think what I’ve found over the years is because I’ve took a pretty unique path in my career and I’ve always made very autonomous decisions. Some of them maybe seemed a bit rash, kind of canceling my UCAS application fairly last minute, deciding to do an apprenticeship. Then leaving that company, again a fairly quick decision. I’ve always really listened to my gut and I had a lot of friends and friends of friends coming to me asking how do you do that? How do you have that confidence to just listen to your gut and just go for it? How can I do more of that rather than getting put into society’s box of what your career path should look like?

So I ended up kind of inadvertently giving advice, which I now know is not the same as coaching under the definition from the International Coaching Federation, at least. But that’s what I thought it was at the time. So I felt I was giving advice. I was like, cool I could do something with this. I want to be able to help more people on like a mass scale. How can I do this? Maybe I should train to be a coach.

And what I found through my coach training is that actually coaching is much more aligned to therapy. I sometimes describe it as therapy for people that don’t have mental health problems. And as someone that has a mental health diagnosis myself, I can totally understand where both therapy to help manage those more clinical medical issues and coaching around helping you to reconnect with your mind and your body and your passions and your dreams. They can both very much fit into my life. So I started the coaching business from the perspective of helping people, especially young people, especially young women, helping them to reconnect with what is it that they want from life so that they can then help that shape their careers.

It’s ended up branching out from that. And actually I’ve helped everyone from women in their forties who their children are leaving home. And they’ve realised that actually the career that they’ve been doing for the last however many years was never serving them. And they just kind of got stuck in it because they were more focused on bringing up their children and that was their main focus in life. And now they want to reclaim some of that and actually create a career that works for them and brings them a lot of power.

I’ve also worked with women starting their own businesses. And making the transition from being an employee to self-employed and really working on the hangovers that are left over from traditional workplace culture, around things like presenteeism and people pleasing and really helping them connect to what they want their business to look like and how it serves them. So I suppose if I were to sum that up, I really help people to see their careers as something that serves their happiness, rather than just something that they do to kind of always be chasing the next level.

Soma Ghosh: Mm hmm. And that’s really, really interesting. I remember you mentioned something at the beginning Kathryn about job hopping, and most employers now have a lot more of a wider scope. And I think the pandemic has changed kind of the openness of employers anyway. Employers are a little bit more open to things. What do you think, in terms of some of the most common things that come up with your clients. I’ll quickly share some of the most common things that I am seeing in the last year or so, is people wanting to really, really have a plan for evolving into the future, which to be honest Kathryn, I didn’t see before.

A lot of the work still that I do is around the whole toxic workplace culture as you know, but now I’m seeing people almost have, because of the great resignation and things like that, want to have like contingency plans and plan ahead. I don’t know if you’ve seen that with your clients. It’d be interesting to know, but some of my clients have been coming to me and asking me for, oh I just want to have a session to plan.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah. Yeah, no definitely. I think I’d even take that a step further. I think the pandemic has driven people to a point where they’re like, actually this is something that I’ve been putting up with for a long time and I’m sick of it. And I won’t stand for it anymore. And it’s really becoming, in a lot of industries, a candidate’s market. And you know, like you said, employers have to be more understanding of things. They have to be able to negotiate on working conditions and remote working, and pay and all these things in order to be able to attract the best candidates.

Whereas previously, I think a lot of candidates would go to big name companies out of things like status and fear and wanting security. And actually I think what the pandemic has done is, it’s removed our commutes, it’s meant that we were working from home. It’s really democratised things and it’s taken away a lot of the facade of status in our roles and in work. And I think that’s led to a place where a lot of employees are saying actually I’m not doing this anymore. I can do better than this. I can find an employer that respects me more or provides these things that I need and I don’t need to stand for it anymore.

So I think absolutely people are planning ahead and rather than just getting stuck in a box of, well my employer has this progression plan over 10 years, and this is my next step and then the next step after that, and just following that. They’re actually coming to careers coaches to help them make their own plan that they own and is not connected to a specific employer.

Soma Ghosh: Yeah. I know. I’ve seen that as well. Definitely Kathryn, and I do think it’s, the pandemic has changed the mindset of people a great deal. And it’s really interesting hearing about coaching and kind of the work you do. But also I do want to say that I do think it’s important to hear stories like yours because I feel as though we’ve still got too many traditionalists. And I know a lot of people would say I’m a traditionalist but I always say on the podcast, when I did my episode about, should you go to uni or not, I said that, you know, I came from a very kind of academic family and I was not academic. I was somebody that was very bookish and I loved reading, but it was expected that I go to uni. It was expected that I have a higher qualification, like a post-grad or a master’s.

And I had look back now and I think if I had been from this generation, I probably would have done a degree apprenticeship or something more creative. And I think now people are also looking into that. They’re looking into channeling that creative side of them a lot more. Which I think is really important. I mean, I’m sure you have clients who, you know, they may have corporate careers, but they also have a creative side to them as well, I’m guessing.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that’s really important, you know, not everything that you do has to be something that you make money off of. It’s really important sometimes to have those things outside of work as well, that can bring you joy and allow you to be creative. So, yeah, I think you’re right there. I think a lot of people through the pandemic, you know, we’ve been stuck at home. A lot of people have been on furlough, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. People were trying out new things, they were exploring new ways to be creative.

And I think what a lot of people have found is, what I definitely experience, is that when I’m creative, when I am creating something, I feel like I’m adding value to the world. And that really empowers me, especially at times, like in a pandemic when I feel like I have little to no control over what’s happening in my life. So being creative, creating new things, putting new things out into the world gives me that sense of control. And I think perhaps that’s why there’s been a rise in creativity generally. And people making time to be creative, whether that’s in work or outside of it.

Soma Ghosh: Yeah. No, definitely. I’ve been seeing a lot of that as well. Kathryn, you’ve been really, really amazing as a guest. Thank you so much. I’ve learned a lot from you as well, but where can people kind of like follow you online? Where is it that you, kind of, hang out the most online.

Kathryn Monkcom: Yeah, absolutely. So you can find my website at And I’m sure Soma you’ll put that in the show notes for people. Cause I know my name is not the easiest to spell. And also come and find me on Instagram @kathrynmonkcom. That’s probably where I hang out the most.

Soma Ghosh: Okay, cool. I will make sure that I do put those in the show notes for other people to follow as well. But yeah. Thank you so much for your time today. It’s been brilliant talking with you.

Kathryn Monkcom: No worries. It’s been really good fun.

Soma Ghosh: Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to The Career Happiness Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it on social media or with somebody you know, it will make a significant difference to. And remember if you haven’t already, please take some time to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, thanks so much.

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