One of life’s great imponderables is “what might have been”. It is the key question when a friendship ends, or you "give up" on a hobby or you look for and then find a new job. In a sense the entire course of my life was irrevocably altered by about three key events. Each time I found myself bounced into a parallel life and although I have been happy enough, even in hindsight, with almost all the key decisions I made there were a few where I possibly took a wrong turning.
A Level options at school - I think my school should have offered me careers advice before I had to decided what 3 A levels to study. In the 1970s wrong choices made at 16 could, and did, rule out vast numbers of degree courses and their associated careers. It was only some years later that I discovered via aptitude tests that a legal career would have suited my "skill set" far better than the route I had chosen to go down but by then it would have been both expensive and time-consuming to change direction.
When my degree was finished - If Nottingham University did offer career advice I never heard anything about it. Looking back teaching was such an obvious career path but I never considered it until after I had spent three unhappy years working in the food industry. What I should have done was to study for my PGCE in 1976-77, done my NQT year in a school and perhaps then gone into Further Education lecturing.
In my first teaching job - I didn't realise until far too late that being a good or excellent teacher was not enough on its own to ensure promotion. Playing office politics and choosing carefully when and how to raise my public profile was far more important than was the work I was paid to do! What I needed was a mentor and sadly I didn't realise it.