I feel stuck!

Here are some of the things clients have written to me when they’ve reached the point of desperation in their career situation.

 “I feel stuck!!!”

“I am totally lost with what I actually want to do with my life and career.”

“I’ve been stuck for some time in figuring out what I’d like to do in my career.”

“I’m at a major cross roads!!”

It’s common to feel stuck. You don’t want to move forwards with your current career as it no longer feels right. You don’t want to carry on what you’re doing. You’ve lost any joy or interest in what you’re doing.

But – it offers a regular salary, certain security, you’re comfortable, you know what you’re doing. You can just cruise along. It isn’t enough for you, but it’s not exactly scary.

And the unknown, is scary.

A new job, new colleagues, a new set-up, possibly a new industry. A steep learning curve, the possibility that you won’t like it or won’t fit in. It’s all quite daunting.

Add in cvs, applications, cover letters, interviews, it all seems such a lot of work.

So you stay stuck.

You don’t do anything, you dream, you worry, you procrastinate. You lose confidence and you stay small.

I’ve worked with enough clients in this situation to know that although career change can seem daunting and scary, the scariest thing is actually doing nothing. Staying stuck, feeling crap, kicking yourself for not sorting your life out.

The best way to start feeling good again, to feel a bit motivated, a bit energetic, is to start on your career change journey.

It’s like a side project, your little secret – where it’s all about working out what you want, how you want your life to be, and how you can get there. Sorting out your values so that you find a job that actually matches what you want to achieve. Looking not only at what you’ve done in the past, but at what you really want to be doing, and could be doing, in the future.

Career change can actually be fun if you look at it as a discovery project. You can do the research, get inspiration, read about people who enjoy their work. Get ideas about what might interest you. Contact or talk to people within your wider circle of acquaintances, start finding opportunities.

Most importantly, you start DOING. Feel inspired to apply for that job. Be feel brave enough to ask that acquaintance about their work and find out if there are any openings. Say yes to finding out more about an opportunity that has presented itself.

If you need guidance with your career change, I help people come up with their own personal plan of action. We break down where it is they want to get to, and what are the steps to get there. Then we work on each step, starting small. If you’d like my help, you can contact me at LinkedIn or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Lachlan Donald on Unsplash

Slow down again

First week of January. It’s a tiring week for everyone even in normal times. Likely back to work after a bit of a break, suddenly having to get up to an alarm clock, remember passwords and what you actually do in your job. An onslaught of news, catching up, things that need to be done. Add in the fact that it’s January 2021 and there’s just so much to take in. Covid, sinister new strains, lockdowns, issues with the vaccine, Brexit, Trump, doom and gloom, cold, rain, darkness. So overwhelming

Suddenly we have to deal with a million thoughts other than ‘what leftover bit of dessert am I going to eat next and what are we going to watch on Netflix tonight?’

It’s absolutely overwhelming, a total gear shift. 

I know I’m finding things overwhelming when I can’t even bring myself to deal with Whatsapp messages from lovely friends – at the end of a busy day it feels like just another screen to look at, more thinking to be done, more energy to be expended. 

All I can think to do is try and slow down again. So here are a few things I’m going to try to do these early weeks of January. 

  • Get away from the computer when I need a break, instead of desperately searching for feel good articles or torturing myself with another news update, or simply ploughing on. Step away from the computer and read a book for 5 minutes.
  • Stick to checking the news once or twice a day, tops.
  • Get up and stretch or walk around. Rather than just thinking about the fact that I should get up every hour, do it instead of staying welded to my seat.
  • Walk – walk in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, any other time I can. It always makes me feel better.
  • Call a friend and have a chat – don’t hide away.
  • Listening to a short Headspace meditation can make all the difference, forcing me to slow down, breathe deeply, close my eyes, rest.

This is my own little checklist anyway, a few things to remind myself of during the day.

Reading the news doesn’t make me feel good, being at the computer all day doesn’t make me feel good, sitting all day doesn’t make me feel good.

Regular breaks to move and change my focus help.


One good thing about January is starting to work with new clients on their career change! 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 joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

Start small, start slowly, but start

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 joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

How meaningful is our work? What this year has taught us.

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.

Sometimes we need a push.

If you’d like some career coaching with, you can find out more about me on LinkedIn and send me a message. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Holding yourself back

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 joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash