What did you used to do?
Over the last 20 years I’ve been many things, though primarily a Sales Manager (of people), an Account Manager and latterly an Account Manager at TalkTalk.
What made you want to change? A slow realisation that I no longer enjoyed being an Account Manager in Sales.
Lockdown was the catalyst to me changing how I thought about myself and what I really enjoyed, or not as the case may be.
How did you make a start?
It was a staged approach in that my previous employer (a private equity firm), acquired the company I worked for and slowly began a program of change. Whilst this wasn’t a bad thing initially, the pandemic hit in early 2020 and the majority of the sales team were furloughed and later made redundant.
Redundancy was an obvious outcome during the Furloughed period and it started me thinking “why do I continue in this environment?” It’s a constant process of change, reorganisation and unrealistic expectations from above of which I had little control. The one positive outcome from being made redundant was my previous employer provided an offer of some external Career Outplacement Workshops, facilitated by Karen Munro of Munro Careers.
How did you go about it?
The Coaching sessions helped me recalibrate my expectations on work and life and how others potentially saw me. Karen also challenged me in a positive way to have a fresh perspective on my own personal brand, my career experience and what my transferable skills were. It also awakened a new found self confidence that I never had appreciated previously. I used this to rewrite my CV and within a month I had a new job offer. However, it didn’t end there.
How did Career Coaching help you move forward?
Within 5 months of being in my new role, I realised Sales and Account Management wasn’t for me anymore. I had no control of our service delivery model, which was pretty challenging at best and I just didn’t enjoy working from a laptop during lockdown.
At this point I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I was just very clear as to what I didn’t want to do. However, the previous Career Coaching sessions had awakened a confidence in my abilities …I had something to offer…I just had to find the right place to be in. At this point I stopped feeling out of control and set about putting together a plan to exit from the job I was in.
What were the challenges?
I stuck at it for a few more months, and after many sleepless nights I resigned in April, having had a heart to heart with my Boss.
How long did it take?
What would you do differently?
I would follow my gut sooner! I knew something wasn’t right, but felt unable to look beyond what I had been doing for the last 20 years. Once I took a step back, I realised I was unhappy and fooling myself. I knew what to do, I had to leave and give myself some time to think.
What top tips would you give to someone who really wants to change career?
In no particular order;
- Identify what is driving your need for change.
- What do you dislike?
- What are the gaps?
- What is lacking from your current career?
- What would address these challenges?
- Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but like it was with me, it takes that one step back to drop your guard and your inhibitions to suddenly realise you’ve more to offer than you had previously thought.
- Create a story board of your skills and experience with examples of dealing with challenging situations. What did you do to overcome them? What did you learn etc?
- Do the maths! It’s an important thing to be mindful about what you actually need in terms of an income and whilst it’s not the primary driver (as your health and happiness are primary, whether you realise this or not), you can always ‘tighten your belt’.
Be brutally honest with yourself and if you’re not happy, make the change….BE BRAVE!