Career Change

I have always been passionate about what I do, and that’s why I do it. Even from the beginning of my career I made a pact with myself, that the day that I don’t enjoy what I do, is the day I’ll do something else.

My philosophy is and has always been, do what you’re passionate about, what you love. Tap in to what your real life purpose is and pursue it and you will feel totally fulfilled.

How many people do you know that absolutely love what they do? That can’t wait for Monday mornings?

Or should I ask

How many people do you know that ‘hate” or “don’t enjoy” what they do and can’t stand Mondays?

It’s interesting, when I look back over my 17 years as a Career Development specialist I have assisted over 50,000 people from all walks of life move forward in their career. Each time I would always ask the question; “what do you love about what you do” I discovered approx 85% of people said; they didn’t really enjoy the work they did however it paid the bills. It enabled them to pay the rent/mortgage, kids school fees, car etc So in effect they felt trapped by the life they’d created, caught in a safety net of better the devil you know, the security it held. So they often sacrificed what they really wanted to do because they felt they were “doing the right thing” for their partner/children/parents etc not for themselves.

What if we looked at doing “the right thing” and turned it on its head. What if “doing the right thing” is to follow your heart, do what’s right for you, live life full out, and teach your partner/kids etc that you can create anything that you set your mind to, and that you can live life full out, a life without limits. If you stay trapped doing something that you hate what message are you giving to your kids and the rest of the world?

So many of us get handcuffed in to a career that we don’t really enjoy, spend 2/3 of our life, from the age of 21 through to 60, approx 40 years, 40 years doing something we hate; why?? When did we decide to settle? When did we give up on the dream life? At 5 years old the sky is the limit; ask a 5 year old what they want to be when they grow up and just listen to what they say. There’s no limits. They’ll say things like they want to be a footballer, an astronaut, a rock star, an actor, a doctor etc At what point did we shrink our dream to fit our circumstances?.

I guess it comes back to where in life are we settling?

Are you settling in your career? In your personal relationships? With your health & well being? Or with your finances?
Chances are, if you settling in one aspect of your life, you’re more than likely settling in others

Ask yourself right now where am I settling in my life?

Get clear on where you’re settling and draw a line under it no matter how big or small it is. And then get clear on what you want to create for yourself in your life. Maybe it’s a new career, or relationship, or making more money or getting fit or losing weight or just having better health.

Whatever it is for you.

The good news is – it’s a decision you make. You can make decisions at any point to change your circumstances.

When you know what you want to create for yourself set a course, step by step and go after it. Engage back in life and live it on your terms.

I thought it would be useful to share a few examples of where people have drawn a line under where they’re at and decided to go after what they love. I share these examples in the hope they can inspire you to go on and create whatever it is your heart desires.

Lola is a close friend of mine and I’ve known her for 15 years. In her early career she fell in to an accounts job and just drifted with it. She didn’t enjoy it however it was a job and paid the bills. We often talked about how unfulfilled she was, how she hated what she did and dreaded doing another reconciliation, financial analysis or credit control. She just felt it wasn’t the right space for her. As time went by she continued to work in accounts and felt the only way she could progress and make more money was to take an ACCA qualification and become professionally qualified. She did it. She moved jobs a few times, hoping new companies would inspire her on to greater things, it didn’t happen. It sapped her energy even more. Lola was now a professionally qualified accountant aged 35 with 14 years experience making a good income and still felt unfulfilled.

Lola had always wanted to be an Actor. She was passionate about it and knew it was what she really wanted to do. It was her dream.
For 14 years she parked her dream, she didn’t follow her heart she opted for a more conventional route.

Last week I got a call from her to say she had an audition for an Acting School. A few days later I got a call to say she got it. She has started her journey and couldn’t be happier.

Mary is from Croatia and educated in the US. She has a stellar education and 15 years track record of success in investment banking having worked with some of the worlds leading investment banks. When she graduated she didn’t really know what she wanted to do. She did a business & economics degree and did very well. She was hired by a top investment bank. 15 years later she didn’t know where the time had gone, it was a whirlwind. She had progressed well, worked out of Wall Street and the City in London and was making a lot of money however she didn’t feel fulfilled. Mary decided to take a career break, to “come up for air” to get clear on who she was and what she wanted to create for herself. She had never taken a break from her career before. It was the best thing she ever did. She soon realized that her high end banking career was not what she wanted for the second part of her career. She wanted to work more one on one with people and really make a difference. Mary is now working successfully in a Business & Personal leadership business that transforms the lives of many.

My advice to you is don’t waste another second doing what you hate. Start creating the life you deserve. Take some action today.

1. – Don’t take it personally
Many people who have been made redundant say, “I thought I was doing really well in my job.” Redundancy is not about you not doing well, it is about your company and or industry sector not doing well. Or, as is the case right now, it’s about an entire global economy not doing well. It may feel personal but it’s not. The average person would be made redundant at least once if not twice in their professional life. You are in good company!
2. – Move through it ASAP
It is a shock and there will be anger and grieving but don’t get stuck in that mode. Share with colleagues, get the support of family and friends and if you are really sinking, then talk to your GP. Beware colleagues who do not want to move on – you might need to make the decision to move away from such friendships if they threaten to bring you down. Also, there is only so many times your spouse, family members and friends can hear a re-enactment of the dreaded moment that all was revealed at your former place of work or of all the things your former managers could have or should have done to save your job. It is time to move on.

3. – Make the most of outplacement services
Another reason for trying to process your feelings ASAP are so you can make the most of any outplacement services offered to you. If you are still in shock or stuck in anger mode, then you will not be paying full attention when you should be learning how to market yourself for the job hunt.

4. – Think about upskilling
As you will have a little time on your hands and hopefully a little money as well, look at ways you can up skill. For example, many people teach themselves how to use a variety of software programs. Post redundancy is a good time to seek proper certification for these skills to better market yourself on the job hunt.

5. Don’t just jump at the next opportunity
Take a breath and think about what you really want to do next. Don’t just rush to take any job. This is an opportunity to re-group and look at all the possibilities. Find something that is a good fit for you and where you are at in your life.

6. Flexibility is key
Be prepared to take on a different style of work than what you are used to. Often after a redundancy people will turn down a great temporary role and stay out of work in the hope of landing the perfect permanent role. In this market, finding the right permanent job could take some time so get your head around the alternatives. While some employers are holding back on listing their permanent jobs right now, the number of casual and part-time work has increased. You might need to be flexible.

7. Review your skillset
Make a list of all your skills, attributes, education and training. See yourself in these terms rather than as a particular job role. This will further help you take advantage of a fast changing and more casual employment market.

8. Focus on your own journey
Do not let headlines about other redundancies stop you looking for jobs online and in the press. The day you don’t look might be the day the right job is listed. Make job hunting a full time job.

9. Information is power
There is a tonne of information out there on redundancies and job hunting. It is vital you let your network of friends, family, former colleagues, ex bosses and key information conduits in your neighbourhood know that you are back on the market. Some people feel shame attached to be made redundant and so withdraw socially just at a time when they need to do the opposite. Job leads can come from anywhere including local merchants, the family doctor’s receptionist, your boss from three jobs ago – anywhere.

10. Check your baggage
When the employment market slows, competition for jobs increases and the number of applications rises. The result is that too many employers and recruiters fail to maintain good communication. The fact you were made redundant coupled with not hearing back from an employer about a job application can make people furious – even bitter. Be careful not to take this anger into job interviews with you. There really is nothing wrong with saying you were made redundant when you are asked at a job interview why you left your last job. Just make sure it is not said through gritted teeth.

For further information on career transitions or career change subscribe to our blog and receive regular updates, expert advice to help you on your career development journey to get back in to the driving seat. Or if you have a question email Helen Roberts career coach directly at:

About Helen

Helen Roberts is a gifted leader, a popular trainer at live events, a coach and a mentor. Her fast-paced, authentic style, her incredible energy and passion will not only inspire you, you will be empowered knowing you can overcome your personal obstacles to be the best that you can be and live an incredible life!

Read more about Helen...
Connect With Helen