The Secret Careers Leader: invisibility

In the first in this new series we hear from an anonymous Careers Leader who wants to share the current frustrations that they have in their role. If you would like to share a something about your role under the cover of anonymity then please email us at All you will need to do is briefly outline what you want to say and one of our team will get in touch. We have used the title ‘Careers Leader’ as a catch all but we encourage anyone from Adviser to Coordinator to tell their story.

In this week’s piece our Careers Leader is unsure on what they can do to get recognised and not just for the work they’re doing, but just people knowing who they are!

I started at my new school in September 2020 having worked in my previous one for 5 years. I felt that I had achieved all I could have done at my previous school so I made the decision to leave for what I had hoped would be a fresh start. I’ve had some time to digest my decision and I think I’ve made a mistake.

With over a year under belt no one seems to know me or the work that I’m trying to do. It’s like I’m invisible! I place notices in the staff bulletin and no one responds, I talk in staff briefing and people ignore me – I feel that I could steal people’s stuff and no one would suspect me.

I know that I need to get people onside in order to get my work done but literally no one knows or seems to care who I am! I have no team to speak of just a very overworked SLT line manager. I’ve spoken to them about this but they keep telling me to keep doing the things I’m doing. Last year we had Ofsted and I wasn’t asked to speak to them about the Careers work we’ve been doing, it’s like I don’t exist.

The horrible thing about all this is that I feel that I’m doing good work but I feel so isolated that I’m not sure that I can carry on working in the school. It makes you feel rather worthless that no matter how hard I try it seems to make zero difference. My predecessor was doing the job for several years before me and didn’t seem to want to raise the profile of Careers in the school. I’m now starting to think that maybe that they did try to raise the profile but just gave up after years of invisibility and headbanging.

How do you get other people’s attention? Would people suggest that I focus on other groups in the school to gain their attention first? I’ve started working with students now we’re back in person and they have responded really well to the events that I’ve put on. I asked students to complete a survey on an university event that we ran in October. This survey was supposed to be completed during tutor time but no tutor got the students to complete it…it’s like they don’t care about Careers at all.

One thing I’m going to try in school is arrange breakfast for staff to hear and get more involved with Careers. I was planning on putting it on on a Friday morning, with some flyers that I can distribute to staff. I need to try and do something different because I feel so isolated I might as well not exist.

Does anyone else feel the same way? If so, have you tried the same things as me? Do you feel that you’re making progress? I would really welcome some support with this and if anyone has experienced the same as me and come out of the other side, please can you tell me!

Can you provide any supportive words for this careers leader? Let us know what you think below the line or share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook – don’t forget to share and tag/at us in your posts. Remember if you have a story to tell then please do email us at and use ‘Secret Careers Leader’ in your subject heading.

One thought on “The Secret Careers Leader: invisibility

  1. Watch this – – this is you; this was me! Ignore careers for a bit – find out who your colleagues are. Ask them about their lives, what they did before teaching, what they love, do they have children, what their frustrations are in their work … Get to know them. Share your frustrations too at the right time – not in careers, but in life. Visit them again – pop into classrooms, the staffroom, attend the Christmas party and integrate into the groups (feeling very self conscience but not showing it) – be friendly and interested – which most Careers Leaders are naturally so hopefully this will be enjoyable. Then gradually you can ask them their thoughts about careers – do they have knowledge of careers, what do their students want to do in their futures, what would help them to help their students … wait for interest and then produce your careers programme. Start with your first dancing partner … do something for them that helps them connect their students with their future, or helps them to tackle something they were struggling with but that involves careers too. You need your first dancing partner to be enthusiastic and very happy with the support you gave them … and ready to shout about it … and it’s also helpful if they are well respected by others – and then let the movement begin …!

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