We always appreciate reading the stories and experiences of LDI readers. In today’s post Zafreen has shared her experiences in relation to the things she wished she’d known before starting her career. Zafreen is a Mandela Gift for Life Challenge Champion and is very passionate about ensuring kids receive the right guidance in preparation for starting their careers. She was keen to share her story and the things she has learnt through her career.


I wish I knew my current career actually existed!! I won’t slam my secondary school, in fact I am viciously defensive of it. It gave many opportunities that many schools do not. We all completed a career personality type questionnaire to help us find out the best suitable career for us. Unsurprisingly, I scored highly on the “entertainment” sector and the second was “manager” especially in a bar!! Being a Muslim, I couldn’t exactly see myself doing that!!

Even now when I complete certain personality profile questionnaires I score highly on the professions suitable for CEOs or Managers. But whilst I know I can be a good leader I have always been interested in the human being. Since I was 13 I have been interested in the spiritual side of human beings, their physical and mental health. I used to read books on various faiths, exercise trends, criminal activity and had to question everything. The last trait is one I haven’t lost, to the misery of many I am sure!

After deciding to take the leap to be in my current career 12 years after finishing secondary school I thought I had wasted my university years doing a useless degree. I have since realised that I can use it within my personal and work life. For some reason having my degree in Psychology even gets me respect and when I reveal that I worked as an Assistant Psychologist in the largest female prison in western Europe…well that’s just the icing on the proverbial respect cake!

Due to financial constraints I could not continue on the Psychology career path and after working in many jobs that were far from fun with limited development opportunities I discovered Personal Training. I got myself a Diploma and when I complain to top trainers about how I wish I had known about this before, I am consoled by them when they explain that this career was not very well established then and sports science was also underdeveloped. So I am becoming a trainer at a good time!

Being an optimist, I try to make use of what resources I have. If I had known of Personal Training before perhaps I would have completed a different degree. Physical Education in my school between ’92-’96 was only really about having races and playing games. Science did not include exercise; I am sure it is still the same. There is still a HUGE amount of ignorance around Personal Training but I am never shy about correcting people! But I did want to become a Psychologist in High School and my career coach had empowered me to find out how I could be that.

If I knew then what I know now and if I was my career coach, I would have explored my interests further to decide the best course of action. A good coaching session would have helped me figure out how I could have incorporated my interests in to one or a portfolio of careers. I wish I had known that I don’t HAVE to have ONE career choice but several which is what I have now, all related to health: Personal Training and Hijama Therapy.

Zafreen Rahman

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