I was asked this question recently at a networking event: “Are you really happier after changing careers?”
The quick answer is YES!! I am not just happier, but some days I am literally high from the joy that comes from doing exactly what I always wanted to do. From feeling that I have made a difference in someone’s perception of themselves and what’s possible for them. From knowing that I have contributed positively to someone’s life in the best way I know how. When you do work you absolutely love, work you know you were born to do, it flows rather effortlessly. It is work you would do for free, even if you didn’t need to work, because you love it that much.
I feel privileged to now be able to do work that lights me up and my mission is to help clients create careers that light them up too. This is what makes me happier. It does not come from changing into a job that seems reasonable or that a family member suggested because it is practical or matches my skills set, but from slowly working my way towards a career that truly fulfils me.
However, getting here didn’t happen overnight. It is a process. A career change process will require a strong commitment to continually explore the options available and how they feel to you, regardless of what well-meaning partners and friends recommend or wish for.
“You want to leave your job? So, what will you DO??”
There is rarely a quick answer and it’s probably best this way! The process of exploration is one of getting to know and accepting oneself, understanding what is most important to us and how we really would like to spend our days.
My own career change process has also included a lot of:
· Negotiating with the world around me to make space for my new career to develop. This meant negotiating part-time hours in my job, taking time off for training, requesting opportunities to mentor while I got my coaching certificate, asking my husband to take care of my son when I was away getting certifications or studying for a Master’s degree.
· Getting very clear on financial resources in order to balance time spent on the job which helped finance my career change and investments made to launch my new career, including time spent doing voluntary work to learn about the not-for-profit sector.
· Using my leisure time to learn as much as I can about my new career, which was not a problem as I enjoy researching topics I am curious about.
· Sampling new careers to see if they were what I thought they would be. The only way to know for sure is to give it a go. Hence the path from researcher to consultant, to recruiter, to Reiki practitioner, though shadowing, taster days, freelancing, etc. may be enough depending on what you’re looking to do. It was the first time I was taught how to do a quick coaching exercise and I coached someone that I thought WE’RE THERE! THIS IS WHAT I AM MEANT TO DO!
· A lot of reflective, inner work to support the above and to overcome the voices that constantly asked – What if you fail? What will people think? Are you being realistic?
I didn’t realise the importance of this last point until the last few years of my journey. Up until then, I just read everything I could about finding the perfect career, but somehow these only helped to a certain degree. I needed guidance for my situation! Fortunately, I have always been reflective and have a history of meditating, journaling, practicing yoga, etcetera, so when I was introduced to Reiki, I became aware of how it all could help me find my true vocation, one that feels like I’m fulfilling my purpose. This is why I now offer Reiki to clients as well because finding fulfilling work is not just an intellectual exercise. It is one about connecting to ourselves too.
Doing the work of connecting to ourselves regularly is essential in order to kick-off and maintain momentum for your career change journey. It will support you when negotiating with the world around you and will help quieten the fearful voices that are trying to protect you by keeping you where you are, whether they come from people around you or from your own mind. It will also help guide you to the next best step and find clarity when feeling overwhelmed, especially when the place you’d like to be is quite far from the place you’re at now.
So yes, I AM happier after my career change and cannot imagine myself doing anything else right now. Nevertheless, it is a process that weaves joy with courage, patience, tenacity and self-reflection every day.
This is why keeping up the motivation for a career change is difficult to do on our own. Big changes that take time and challenge the standard career progression require support. Having travelled this path already, with a final nudge from my own coach, I know how it feels and I am now here to support you.
So, let’s have a conversation. Book your complimentary First Step to Career Change call here. I can’t wait to help you do work you love.