I thought I’d write a little bit about my own career change and what the situation was before I made the leap into something new.
It feels strange trying to carry on as usual with the world in turmoil. People may still want to change career – but it probably feels as though it has to be put on hold, everyone’s panicking, no one is hiring. Even if this isn’t 100% the case.
People looking to change career, as always, and maybe more than ever, still need inspiration, advice, ideas, comfort; perhaps above all, comfort. To know that things will get better, and possibly even better than before.
Before the leap
So here’s a little insight into my own career change, what I was going through before deciding to take a leap. Maybe you’ll recognise some of what I’m saying, how I was feeling. Perhaps you can relate to it. Even just knowing someone else felt like you do right now, can help
When I started working for my previous company as an advertising assistant, I was happy. Unpacking magazines, writing letters to clients, emailing or calling our international teams around the world, being organised. Looking through our magazines to see if clients’ had been featured. Dealing with art copy that came in.
That was enough for me. I enjoyed it. Sorting out the magazine cupboard. Looking at magazines all day. I was part of a nice small team of 4, a small office space. It was fun.
But as time wore on, eventually I ‘had’ to move into sales (if I wanted to progress at all), and takeovers were agreed, redundancies made.
I moved into a big open-plan office, with a bigger team, a noisy boss. Part of a much bigger company. That wasn’t for me. That wasn’t what I’d signed up for.
Things changed, teams changed, I gained more responsibility. Bigger clients, bigger magazines brands, bigger budgets, bigger targets. And I developed less interest.
But you’re so lucky!
I’d tell myself I was lucky, this is great, you get to go out and meet fashion clients, take them to lunch in swanky restaurants, speak to international contacts, win a deal.
But behind all that was a feeling of being a fraud. I felt that I didn’t really know what I was talking about, I didn’t really know the industry that well. The talk always seemed superficial; I wasn’t speaking from the heart.
I’d be so nervous before meetings. ‘What will I say? How will they be, will they ask me about something and I won’t have the answer? Am I saying the right things? Am I actually trying to get the business?’
Day out in London
I once spent the day with a lovely French colleague, over to meet with clients and talk about the magazine she represented. We had a nice time, she did all the talking, we got to go to lovely hotels and restaurants to meet clients. We travelled all over London by taxi, she’d bought me a present from Paris.
As I closed the taxi door and waved her off in Kensington, I turned to walk to the tube and tears came pouring out. I felt exhausted. What was wrong with me? I’d had a good day with a lovely colleague, full of little luxuries, and I was upset?
But my nerves, feelings of inauthenticity, of stress, were all coming out. This was not how I wanted to spend my days. And what made it worse was that I knew I was totally spoiled and ungrateful. Work’s work right? And this would be a ridiculously luxurious day for so many people.
But feeling like a fake, meeting with and speaking to lots of new people, rushing around having meetings all day, being out and about in busy old London wasn’t for me. What suits me better is hiding behind a computer, with a couple of nice colleagues around.
Work out what’s right for you now
It took time, but I realised that I didn’t want to work for some big corporation, in a big open plan office. The world of media and advertising and fashion and magazines wasn’t for me anymore. I didn’t want to have to try to convince clients to advertise in our magazines. I didn’t care. It felt inauthentic because I truly didn’t care. I hated the briefs, which all felt the same, and valueless. I didn’t understand the language. It sounded like BS.
And, importantly, I realised that I didn’t have to. The job you’ve had for the past 2, 5, or 10 years doesn’t have to be your job for life, not anymore. It takes time, it takes work figuring out what you want.
So if any of this rings a bell or resonates with you, remember it’s ok to realise your career isn’t right for you. You’re not going to do your best work if it’s not in an environment that suits you, for a company that has different values to you. It’s ok to realise a few years in that things have changed and that you want out. It may on paper be a great job, for a great company. But it’s not great for you.
If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.