How to navigate your career when you made a massive mistake at the start

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK


Jan Gooding’s incredible career trajectory had a bumpy start.

After starting off in a job she hated, she quickly found a way to make it work by spotting opportunities to find something she loved.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Gooding is the chair of a number of firms, such as PAMco, as well as being a change agent in society as the chair of LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall, and also speaks to thousands of graduates across the globe on how to navigate their careers.

When Gooding sat down with Yahoo Finance UK for its premium show Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded she unveiled her advice for people who are just starting out.

“Well I’m privileged a lot now to get to speak to universities and people who graduate, and I have two sons,” she said.

Jan Gooding, chair of Stonewall and chair of PAMco. Photo: Jan Gooding

“My advice is very consistent which is you need a Plan A. You need to get started. There is a fascinating statistic that I tell students that 40% of graduates change career completely within two years — that’s a very heavy cost for companies because 40% of people they have recruited have made the wrong choice and also that 40% of the graduates have also made the wrong choice.

“So when you know it’s that biggest proportion, one should remain calm and keep going with something that there’s no disgrace or shame with Plan B or even Plan C. I think you have to do something long enough to really know. It’s like starting anything. You can hate the start.”

Don’t forget to check out the full interview where Gooding also discussed:

  • Her time working for ad agency Ted Bates, inspiration for ‘Mad Men’

  • How her worst job led to opportunities for a fulfilling career

  • Why there is no such thing as ‘meritocracy’

  • How she overcame sexism, ageism, and relentless challenges during her career

  • What makes a great leader

  • What challenges the LGBT+ community faces into 2020 and beyond

  • Why corporates are needed in PRIDE events

Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded explores the stories of some of the most inspirational women across business, tech, and academia. Catch up on all the latest episodes here.