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Your top job questions: answered

How much will I take home? What is the school leaving age? What actually is an employee? And what should I do with my life anyway?!

Whether they’re big or small, you’ve got important concerns about your career. You asked Google your top job questions, so now we’re answering them!

What should I do with my life?

We’re going to get stuck right in with the big one. If you’ve found yourself thinking “I don’t know what to do with my life”, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there at one point or another. It’s not an easy question to answer, but we’ve got loads of tips and advice to help you out.

The most important thing in tackling the “I don’t know what to
do with my life” question is making sure you’re informed. So
read our advice articles and you’ll be better equipped to find
your perfect job.

Start by reading how to choose your future career and what job should I do?. That gives you a step-by-step guide to finding your dream career. It’s important to carefully think about what interests you and make a list of skills.

You can then read about loads of different careers in our Career Zones to find out what skills they really require. Some of them might surprise you. For example different types of engineering jobs need creative problem-solvers. And creative industry jobs require people who are analytical thinkers.

You should think about what matters to you. Do you want to choose to make a difference? Or maybe you’d like a career in social care? Perhaps you want to see what it takes to be your own boss. Check out the most interesting jobs in the world for some inspiration.  

If you’re ready to get started, test the water by doing work experience or volunteering. Here are some work experience ideas, and read this to discover how to make the most of volunteering

What will my take-home pay be?

How much will I take home? That’s a bit easier to answer, but it’s still a key jobs question. Most of the money that your employer pays you goes to your bank account, but a percentage of it goes towards paying tax and “national insurance”. So you need to be aware of these issues when you accept a job. Use this calculator to find out what will my take home pay be.

Learn more about the minimum wage for 18 year olds, and the apprenticeship wage.

How should I quit?

Quitting your job is a big decision. Think about all the pros and cons, and be sure you’re making the right decision. So if you are ready to move on, or you’ve been offered another job, it’s important to quit in a proper and professional way. Here are the steps to formally “handing in notice”:

Handing in notice requires a formal process
  1. Write a brief letter to your line manager that explains why you’re leaving the position.
  2. The letter should include the notice period, which means the amount of time you have to continue working after handing in notice. Usually it’s a month, but this will be included in your employment contract that you signed when you started the job.
  3. Ask for a reference in writing, which means that your boss will write a recommendation for future employers, detailing your skills and suitability for future jobs.
  4. Tell your teammates and colleagues so they know what’s going on. Do that after handing in notice.
  5. Act maturely and professionally — and stay positive!

What is an employee?

An employee is a person who was hired by an employer to do a specific job and is paid for that job. Employees have an “employment contract” which sets out all the specifics of the arrangement, for example how much holiday and sick pay they’re entitled to get. An employee could be part-time or full-time.

Crucially, an employee is not a “freelancer”, which is someone who works on a project-by-project basis. This kind of work is common in the creative industries.

What is the school leaving age?

Another crucial one! You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays. Then you have three options for the years between 16 and 18:

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