Our coach Julie Batty‘s fascinating career has spanned a multitude of jobs and spheres, from life modelling to masseuse-ing to interviewing for the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. It hasn’t always been plain sailing but, as she explains, she now feels that everything she’s done has fed into and led her to what she does now.
1. What’s the ‘six word story‘ for your career journey so far?
Thirty different jobs. All useful now.
2. Tell us about your career path in a bit more detail. What did you want to do when you were little, what jobs have you ended up doing and how did you get to what you do now?
I wanted to be a vet. But I couldn’t do chemistry. So I decided to be an actor. It was brilliant until I had to make money. Then not so brilliant because 90% of actors are out of work 90% of the time. But the acting skills were very useful in getting a job at the BBC where I learned to write quite well. And fast. They gave me the job of interviewing celebrities and I found I was good at getting them to reveal themselves. So I decided to formalise that with a counselling training and now I’m someone who can perform, write and read other people. Magnificent career arc for a coach and trainer of communication skills!
3. How did you see work when you were growing up? Has this attitude or perception changed?
By the time I was 14 I was determined to be an actor and I thought I wouldn’t have to work that much. Maybe a couple of block buster films a year and the rest of the time eating bonbons and hanging out with David Bowie.
My dad loved his job in the RAF and always said he never went to work. My mum started a business when I was a teen and worked very hard but always had a lot of fun, too. It’s meant I’ve always pursued things I’ve enjoyed rather than feeling I have to prove a point, which has been wonderful. It’s also meant I’ve had a rich and varied working life which I wouldn’t swap for anything …except maybe now in my 50s a pension plan would’ve been nice.
4. How do you know that what you do now is right for you?
Well, it uses all the skills I’ve accumulated over my working life. I like learning new things and I’m very curious about people – what motivates them, how they think, how we communicate with each other – and that is constantly at the centre of what I do these days. I still have lots of time when I’m not working and can still eat bonbons although I understand David Bowie is now taken.
5. What would you say to your younger self about finding the ‘right’ career?
I’d say take every opportunity that’s offered: do that year in New Zealand that you thought you’d do next year, keep your eyes and ears open for every possible adventure and keep a diary so you remember and reflect on all your experiences. And keep up the good contacts you make along the way.
6. What’s the best piece of advice or wisdom you’ve been given?
There are two bits of advice I find comforting. The first was given when I was despairing at the fractured nature of my career. A very nice woman said ‘There’s room for dilettantes in the world’. And the second is from my hero, the playwright Samuel Beckett: ‘No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’
Know someone with an interesting career and/or career journey who’d be prepared to chat to us for this blog? Please let us know!