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From telecoms executive to physics teacher

Julian Keeley used to work as a senior manager in the telecoms industry dealing with regulators and business customers, but by his mid forties found his heart was no longer in it. By 47 he was made redundant, and after a couple of years as a consultant he decided to start all over again.

“My advice: make the most of it. Don’t aim for perfection.”

“My parents were teachers, and I was 50 and I thought I should get on with it. My degree was in physics and I had a hankering to share to my love of the subject with others.  It was the most worthwhile thing I have ever done – there are few other careers where one can have a lasting impact on someone else’s life which will extend over decades.”

But at the same time it was the hardest.

“Teaching has stretched me in a way that representing my company in front of a series of Competition Commission hearings did not.  The hours are long, it is emotionally tiring and the holidays really are there just to recover.  The only thing like it in the business world is interviewing people day after day where you are thoroughly concentrating on the other person but with the additional twist that many in the classroom don’t want to be there.

It is a wonderful privilege to shape young people’s lives and to help them develop their potential.  I found it equally rewarding encouraging the brightest teenagers to study physics at university, and helping the less intellectually gifted succeed in their own way through perseverance.”

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