I saw a quote yesterday from a rapper called Willie D – no idea of the context, but it struck me. He was basically saying that whatever happens in his life, illness, disaster, whatever, every single day he has to spend 5 minutes working towards whatever it is he wants to achieve.
5 minutes is small, but it’s something. And you can do a surprising amount in 5 minutes.
I’m currently doing a writing course, and we’re starting off with 10 minute writing exercises each morning. It always surprises me how long 10 minutes seems. I splurge on the page for a minute and then it’s a matter of keeping going, keeping going, think think, what more can you write? 10 minutes does not necessarily fly by.
5 minutes is also enough time to do something. To look something up, find something out. Start and maybe finish an email. Start and maybe finish a post. Tweak and finalise a document. Read an article. Listen to something that inspires you.
Dedicating 5 minutes means that you can spend the rest of the day safe in the knowledge that you have done something for yourself, to improve your situation, to take control.
The worst is not doing ANYTHING. This is when the self-doubt and self-recrimination comes in, and the super negative thoughts. This is where you procrastinate and feel bad. You tell yourself the situation will never change, this is it forever, you’re going to feel bad forever more.
But doing 5 minutes of something changes everything. Suddenly you’re a person who is moving forwards, who is dedicating time to something important. You’re taking action, you’re proactive, you have energy. You’re focussed. You will change your situation.
Start with 5 minutes, doing whatever it is you need to do. Start small, start slowly, but start.
If you’d like some career coaching with me, you can find out more about me on LinkedIn and send me a message. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve hesitated talking about career change as much as usual in my blogposts this past year. Because things have shifted, living through a pandemic. I’ve struggled to talk about it in the same way I previously had.
I’m so aware of the desperation and financial stress so many people are going through. They might been made redundant or are struggling to find work at this time. Talking about a career change, aimed at those people already with a job seemed…insensitive. Being able to change career is a privilege. Having options is a privilege.
I’m aware lots of people are simply surviving right now, living through an extremely stressful time.
Career change right now
However the reality is, many people are considering a career change right now. 44% of UK finance workers are considering changing jobs because of the pandemic (600 people were surveyed). That’s according to a survey by KPMG and the Financial Services Skills Commission.
The pandemic has given a lot of us a jolt, and has caused us to reassess our lives. People are seeing their jobs, and perhaps their lives, differently. Taking away the commute, time in the office with colleagues, meetings and travel, has left many considering what they really do all day every day. And if work doesn’t seem particularly meaningful, or enjoyable, that can be a shock.
When I had a career change a few years ago, we weren’t going through a pandemic. But I’d definitely started to question how meaningful my work was. Take away the fancy lunches, rushing around London for meetings, the freebies and the trips abroad. And my work consisted of helping other companies sell more things and make more money through their advertising. Which was something I didn’t particularly care about. And it’s quite hard to fake caring about something over a period of time. Over a period of years.
I’d marvel at how some people seemed to be excited by it. They’d come up with new ideas, full of enthusiasm. I didn’t get it. I just did what I had to do, but something was missing. And I didn’t feel authentic. You can see when someone is genuinely interested and cares. I didn’t want to carry on spending my days feeling like that.
Should we stay stuck?
A lot of other people feel the same way right now. Their job is fine, it pays them well. Many people would tell them to be grateful for what they have. And I do agree it’s important to be grateful for the luxuries and privileges some of us have.
But does that mean you should stay stuck, and put up with things that affect you negatively? You know there could be more to your work. You could be working away hours of your life for something you actually care about and that is meaningful. That can be a difficult thought to push down.
The pandemic and lockdowns have given lots of us an opportunity to consider our values, what’s most important to us. For many of us it probably comes down to appreciating family, friends, community, our health, both physical and mental, our safety. After these essentials, comes how we are as a person, how we spend our time, what we learn, how we grow.
And if our work doesn’t play a part in this, doing meaningful things with our time, learning and growing, then we’re left feeling lost. All that time sat at a desk, emailing. For what? Is it important, is it worth it, or is it worthless?
We’re already seeing massive shifts in how we work. A lot of us will have spent this year working remotely when normally we’d be in an office. Sometimes change leads to yet more change. The world’s been turned upside down, things have been shaken up. I think it’s understandable that many people will be thinking now’s the time to take another step in a new direction.
My client needed to find a new job as she had been made redundant. But she had lost her confidence. It was really holding her back. In her previous job she felt she couldn’t make her own decisions or act autonomously. And she didn’t know how to be more assertive. She’d got into the habit of falling back, staying quiet.
So she was hesitant about applying for new jobs. Although she had a good idea want she wanted to move on to, she didn’t know if she’d be able to sell herself. And she was scared of ending up in the same situation, with an overbearing manager, micro-managing her every move and criticising her.
This resulted in her going for jobs which didn’t match up to her level of experience or pay expectations. She felt that staying small would make things easier for her. But then she felt huge frustration. She knew she was better than this, that she could go for roles that were bigger and better, where she could showcase her skills and experience. And she had financial goals, such as travelling and one day buying a house.
My client worked with me on improving her confidence, which meant shifting the way she saw herself and reflecting on what she had achieved. She listed times she had acted assertively or confidently. She considered other areas of her life apart from work where she was a confident person.
The aim was to shake off the skin of her previous job; let that be in the past. Her new plan was to take bold steps forward: contacting people she wouldn’t have dared of before, writing, making herself more visible.
Ultimately she found a new job where she felt she had a voice and was encouraged to use it. She had worked out what she wanted from a company and her next role, and what she could bring to it. And her she was. She knew that she could do good work and move on confidently.
If you’d like to book a coaching session with me, contact me at LinkedIn or at email@example.com.