A Deputy Governor of the Bank of England has told Benenden pupils they should not worry if they do not have a career path mapped out.
Dr Ben Broadbent, the Bank’s Deputy Governor for Monetary Policy, reassured Scholars and Sixth Formers on Friday (May 11): “I don’t think it matters at all if you really don’t know what to do in life.”
Speaking as the school exam season got underway, Dr Broadbent said he never had a career plan, and that a school careers advisor had recommended he become a dentist or spy!
He said: “I realised after a time there’s a very positive aspect of this. Not having a very particular idea of what we are meant to do means in practice that there are lots of things you might enjoy.
“There’s a real upside to not having a vocation, which is lucky - because most of us don’t.
“There’s not one single thing for which we are made and one should not - or even can - pre-determine one path for oneself. These are all good things. Life is more interesting as a result of its unexpectedness. We are by instinct uncomfortable with that idea, we don’t like it.”
Dr Broadbent has been one of four Deputy Governors at the Bank of England since 2014. He has previously worked at HM Treasury, Columbia University and Goldman Sachs. His Economics education includes a BA in Economics from Cambridge University and a PhD from Harvard University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Yet he said that he never set out to be an economist, he simply studied a subject that interested him, much like friends of his who pursued music for the love of it and became professional musicians.
Speaking in Benenden School’s Theatre, he urged the audience to pursue something they enjoy and to appreciate every stage of their lives and their career: “Don’t see it as some necessary step on a plan and that once you get to that point it will offer you the satisfaction, and everything else is a grind to get there. The important thing is you should choose something you will actually be interested in and enjoy.
“Life is not some perpetual investment in the next step.”
Dr Broadbent told the girls in the audience that the workplace was more equal than ever but that the array of opportunities open to them would come with expectations. He said: “There’s no doubt that society as a whole is a more open place and it does open more professional opportunities to women than it ever has in the past – and that’s a fantastic thing and it probably needs to go further.
“Many of you will feel the weight of that question ‘what am I going to do?’ than was the case 30 years ago. As Spiderman himself has taught us, with great power comes great responsibility.”
In response to questions from the audience, Dr Broadbent said he thought that too much attention is paid to interest rates, that he was “not a massive admirer” of Donald Trump’s economic policy and, asked about increasing flexible working in light of the gender pay gap, he said: “Companies can and should make more effort and I think the Bank of England should.”