When I was younger, I laughed when I was told I potentially wouldn't know what I wanted to do for a career until I was approaching 30. On reflection, this statement turned out to be true.

During my school years I undertook work experience in pharmacies in Scotland and Norway and developed a passion for healthcare. Applying to university aged 17, I wanted a career in a profession where I could make a difference to people's wellbeing. After obtaining my master of pharmacy degree from Robert Gordon University, I successfully completed my pre-registration training and embarked on a career as a community pharmacist, convinced I had chosen a fulfilling career. My career as a pharmacist was varied. I worked across different health boards, in various sized pharmacies and in roles ranging from a newly qualified relief pharmacist to becoming a pharmacist store manager, to positions which involved, in addition to providing healthcare advice, the consultation and administering of vaccinations. Every day as a pharmacist was different as I never knew what issue a patient would present with, but I enjoyed the challenge of helping patients and trying to evaluate the best outcome for them. Regardless of my role over the years, my passion for governance and legislation became very clear. Every day as a pharmacist involves balancing legislative requirements with acting in a patient's best interests.

Given this interest, it was no surprise to my family when I announced that I wanted to return to university and pursue my developing interest in law. Taking the plunge to return to studying, I chose Robert Gordon University which offered a distance learning option for both the accelerated LLB and diploma in legal practice, so enabling me to continue my role as a pharmacist and study around my working hours. Working full-time and studying was intense, and my social life became non-existent. However, the outcome was unquestionably worth it when I gained my degrees and a traineeship with Brodies.

I started my traineeship in August 2021 and have so far gained experience in banking, restructuring and insolvency and personal and family. Every day is different, the learning curve is steep, however skills I gained as a pharmacist such as communication, dealing with emotional patients, organisation of tasks and teamwork have been very beneficial in my changed career path.

Switching career in my 30s has been daunting. I have retained my pharmacist registration and although I decided that I didn't want to spend the rest of my working life as a community pharmacist, I remain proud of my achievements in that role. At this stage, I don't know where my legal career will take me, but I have no regrets over the decision I have made to switch career, and I am excited about future potential opportunities within the legal sector.

Choosing a career when you leave school can be difficult, and daunting, but it is important to keep an open mind, follow your instincts and do not be afraid to pursue new goals. After all, if you achieve your 'for life' satisfying employment there is #NoWrongpPath.


Joanne Hunter