First of all – welcome back KBN! It’s good to have you back and we at Stafflex wish you great success as you get to grips with the unenviable task of delivering great business stories from around the region.

Not “unenviable” because there are not enough good news stories, quite the contrary.

And so, here’s my first guest column for KBN after a pause of some 10 years or more.

Growing up in Huddersfield, the only son of an Italian waiter, my destiny was almost written for me before I’d twiddled my first plate of spaghetti. At the ripe old age of 16 I’d already worked in most roles in my dad and his partner Mario’s restaurant, The Sole Mio, down Imperial Arcade, before I’d made the decision to work abroad.

Aspirations to go to university to get a career never crossed my mind. Armed with a striped apron, a set of kitchen knives and my Berlitz Guide to Italian (for tourists!), I embarked on a catering career that took me half way around the world by the time I was 23 years old before settling into married life back here in Huddersfield.

Wind forward some 30-odd years and hindsight is a wonderful thing. Fortunate to have ultimately gone to night school and gained my Masters in my own time, I am now happily earning a living as a part-time lecturer and marketing consultant to the recruitment industry.

Knowing what I do about the recruitment industry now and having worked in both industry and academia, I’d say there’s a few lessons I’ve learnt:

1 Stop! Take time out. Give yourself time to think logically about what you want from your career and work backwards.

2 Understand. There’s a big difference between a “job” and a “career”. It’s perfectly acceptable to not want to have a “career” but instead to work at several jobs when and where the mood takes you. The problems occur when you decide that you actually do want a “career” and your path has not sufficiently prepared you which can result in failure and despondency.

3 Try before you buy. Work experience can be invaluable to you when it comes to choosing your career path. At the risk of advertising our services, I would say that taking on a temporary position can often help you decide if the job is right for you – or, perhaps even more importantly, if it is NOT right for you.

4 Work. We’ve all seen those memes on Facebook or heard the expressions, “nothing gets bigger without being stretched” or “the harder I practise the luckier I get” … there really are no short cuts to achieving career goals.

5 Advice. Not all advice is good advice and there’s always somebody willing to share their solitary tales with you if you ask politely enough. But the really good advice you need will not always hit you in the face. You need to research well and seek it out.

6 Plan. Good careers do not normally happen by accident. Look at the journey you need to take to get to the destination you want to arrive at. Identify the pitfalls and barriers in advance.

7 Enjoy. Build some fun into your journey so you can enjoy the ride and stick at it when the going gets tough.

If you found this article useful and would like to have a chat about your career opportunities then please feel free to contact us at Stafflex where we’d be more than happy to provide you with a cuppa and a friendly, no-obligation chat. Tel: 01484 351010 or email