Career change crossroads

You’re at a crossroads. Deep down you know what you want and need to do. You just need someone else to say it’s ok.

I spoke to a new client called Maira. She’d just left her current job, partly because the situation had changed due to covid and the job wasn’t quite the same. Partly because it wasn’t challenging her anymore, and she didn’t feel as though she was learning and growing. And partly because she and her boyfriend wanted to travel a little, to The Netherlands to spend time with his family, to Brazil to spend time with her family. 

So she was at a happy crossroads, with enough savings to keep her going for a few months without work – but with a few ideas floating around and unsure exactly what to do next in terms of her career.

She had a couple of options – find a job with a company, working remotely, ideally as a community manager. Or set up her own business as an events planner, which is her ultimate dream. 

Ultimately she knew what she had to do – find a decent job where she could work remotely – for now. It doesn’t have to be forever. A job that she finds interesting, maybe challenging, with a decent salary. 

Then a little way down the line, she can start on her own business slowly, on the side. 

As we were talking I could sense her relief in having someone agree with her, and back her ideas. She started to see things much more clearly – the crossroads was morphing into a vision and a plan. 

We discussed how her next job might help in setting up her future business; she’ll learn new things, have new ideas, build up more contacts. She can enjoy a stable income and get started one her own business when the time is right. 

Maira also wanted to talk about a personal project she was thinking of getting started on, which was writing more. She thought writing a blog might be useful. It could be a way to get her thoughts out, and to talk about her career speciality which is building communities. But she could also share her experience of living in a foreign country. She always used to love writing but hadn’t done much of it recently. I thought this was a brilliant idea. 

Starting your own little side project gives such a boost to your confidence and motivation. You’re working on something you’re really excited about, you’re creating, you’re working out how you want to do things. In this instance, you’re learning all sorts of things, like how to set up a website, and you’re refining your writing.

Maira was wondering which audience to write for, in which language (she speaks three), and which topic in particular. I recommended that she just get started. See how it flows, see what comes easily to her, what she enjoys writing about. She could share it with her friends, family and network, and see what feedback comes back. That will inform her direction. And, even better, it could be a really good way of sharing her experience with potential employees and clients. 

They could get to know her through her writing, get a better sense of her personality, read about her experience. She could share the blog on her LinkedIn profile, as this is one of the platforms she is using to find a new role. 

Also – looking for a job can be so hard when you have the whole day to fill. You can easily procrastinate, do a bit of searching then give up, feel guilty, and not know what to do with yourself. Maira had already decided on a routine of spending four hours a day on her career change. A couple of hours to research and apply for jobs, a couple of hours to do online learning courses. She could build writing into her routine, and really enjoy the benefit of having a few different projects to get on with in the morning, each motivating her and moving her on in the right direction, then have the afternoons free. 

For now Maira is going to carry on with the job search – with a targeted approach.  She’ll research companies she likes the look of on LinkedIn. I recommended finding people in community manager roles and see what their experience is, see what they are posting about. Maybe contact them for advice. She’s also going to be even more active on LinkedIn, posting regularly, adding video testimonials of people she’s interviewed to her profile, asking for and writing testimonials, and being as present as possible. 

And she’s going to get started on her new blog. 

But she’s also going to give herself a break to spend time with her family. I think that if you can, that’s one of the best things you can do after leaving a job. Get away, have fun, get some perspective, shed the skin of your former role. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to go.

When she returns at the start of the new year we’ll regroup, see what the progress has been, discover if anything has changed, and move forward from there.

If you’re at a career crossroads and would like my help, contact me. Find me at Linkedin or email me at

Photo by Alex Kalinin on Unsplash

Help your career change by changing your perspective.

My first session with a career coach changed my perspective.

At the time I was feeling stuck, stressed and a bit low. I wanted to change my career (and had wanted to for years) but I felt totally lost as to how to go about it. Any conversations with recruitment specialists just left me feeling uninspired, as they all tried to push me into another similar role. And that was the one thing I knew I didn’t want any more.

In my first coaching session I had to do an exercise where I gave myself a mark out of 10 against various skills, like communicating, negotiating, building relationships. I had to give a score out of 10 for how good I was at the skill, another score out of 10 for how much I enjoyed doing it. 

My head was in such a confused, frustrated place. I wanted to give myself a low score for most of the skills. I just couldn’t see things clearly. All I had to go on was recent experiences using those skills. I didn’t enjoy negotiating, I didn’t enjoy presenting, I didn’t enjoy communicating – everything felt pretty gloomy. I’d lost a lot of confidence.

My coach looked at the list and said to me, Jo, you’re in a sales role. I’m pretty sure you’re good at negotiating, better than you think. You’ve been doing this for ten years!

And going through that process flicked a switch for me. It helped me to look at the situation more objectively.

I realised I was so stuck in the depths of that role, that I was looking back rather than looking forwards. I was bringing all my feelings of frustration and resentment along for the ride.

My perspective was skewed. I could hardly imagine bringing my skills and experience to something different. Rather, I was dwelling on past experiences that hadn’t gone well. I wasn’t yet at the point where I could see that applying those skills in a different context, in a different environment, could be a whole different experience.

That was the beginning of getting unstuck. I really do think that was one of the big turning points in my career change. It was the moment in which I realised my perspective had such an influence on my feelings and how I was going to move forwards.

I’ve recently read about a form of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). It helps people to see the relation between their thoughts and feelings and how they can influence your behaviours. This makes so much sense to me. I was in such a negative headspace, repeating negative thoughts to myself. So I was feeling bad. And that makes it so much harder to feel motivated and ready to explore a new path.

I’d definitely recommend finding some books on this subject; on how the mind works, on negative thinking, on changing the way you view things. I remember reading a book called The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters around this time. I found it really useful and interesting.

And if you’d like help with your career change through some coaching sessions, you can contact me at or via LinkedIn

Photo by Matteo Kutufa on Unsplash

Is now the time to reassess your values?

Values are so important. If your values aren’t aligned with those of your place of work, you’re going to feel some misalignment. Thinking about what is most important to you will help shape your career path. 

If making lots of money is super important – that will take you off on one trajectory. Having freedom and flexibility in your working day – being able to work from home or remotely some or all of the time, might be more important to you. (I know that right now with the pandemic there isn’t much freedom at all about where we work!).

Your time might be of most value to you – having a job where you never have to work evenings or weekends, and can stick to 9.5. The clearer you can get on all of this, the more that’s going to guide you in a career change.

These values become your navigation tool. You’ll know what to explore, and what to cast aside. 

When I was on my career change journey, I did an exercise where you had to study in detail various areas of your career. They were:

  • Where you want to live?
  • What you want your work environment to be – office, home, mixture?
  • What kind of people do you want to work with – curious, ambitious, chilled…do they share your values?
  • What are your top 3 areas of interest?
  • Do you want to travel with work? Where?

All quite basic, obvious stuff. But it’s easy to just look for what you can do based on your skills and experience when you are considering changing careers. You forget about the other factors that are also so important. Lifestyle and how you want to work are as important as they actual work you will be doing.

If you’d like help with your career change, contact me at or via LinkedIn

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

Don’t lose hope

A client who’d lost her job contacted me in February for some coaching just before the pandemic truly hit. She was in a difficult place, but hadn’t quite lost all hope.

Luckily she could leave London and go and live with her Mum, so rent wasn’t a worry. But it wasn’t ideal.

She needed to find a new job, and get on with her life. She had great aspirations, she wanted to buy her own place, and to travel.

And, she’d really lost her confidence. Her working environment before being made redundant hadn’t been great, then losing her job hit her hard.

So, we worked on building her confidence. I set her small tasks to do each week; honestly working out what her strengths are; noting when she’d acted in a confident manner, contacting strangers on LinkedIn and asking for advice on applying for the company they work for.

She was scared of being seen as annoying.

But she was determined, completed her tasks, and found that it was easier than she’d imagined.

People saw her for what she is, a lovely, capable, dedicated person.

She ended up with several job interviews – one a direct approach from LinkedIn.

And she found a new job in May!

With a company that seemed to share her values, who wants to hear her voice, and who are committed to employee wellbeing and happiness, with open conversations. Just what she needed.

None of this would have happened if she hadn’t taken action. As much as she was scared, feeling low, and lacking in self-esteem – she knew that she’d have to do some work in order to find a new job.

She took it step by step, was proactive, asked for help. And she persisted, even when it felt cringey, uncomfortable, risky. She didn’t’ lose hope, and it paid off.

If you’d like to try coaching with me, read more and contact me via LinkedIn, or send me an email at

Photo by Peter Boccia on Unsplash

Listen up

Image of a wooden duck sculpture with a green background.
Photo by Olga Serjantu on Unsplash

I recently heard relationship expert Esther Perel talk about communicating. She said that the key to great communication is being able to listen. It’s not about getting your point across, making yourself understood. It’s listening. Really hearing what the other person is saying, or trying to tell you.

Something you might not know about coaches? We’re really great listeners.

Coaching isn’t about telling someone what to do, churning out advice, sharing our great wisdom. We may make the odd suggestion, tell an anecdote, share some insight.

But a coach’s primary job is to listen to their client.

This is key to coaching.

What is, and isn’t being said.

Listen, pick up on tone, words, body language. Pick up on hesitations, stumbling, facial expressions. Notice what’s being skirted around, what isn’t being said or tackled. Spot fiddling, hand wringing, scratching of the head. Averting of eyes. Or someone lighting up.

A coach’s job is to listen to what the other person is or isn’t saying, and then to probe deeper. To ask good questions. To get to the bare bones of what a person is thinking or feeling or wants.

What a coach is aiming to do is get the client to come up with answers for themselves on what to do next. It’s providing them with a space in which to be honest. It’s giving them the time to really think hard about what they want. Pushing them to come up with a step they need to take, which is going to move them forwards. Out of feeling stuck, and into feeling great about taking action.

It’s kind of like holding their hand and giving them a nudge in the back at the same time. You won’t get away with just sitting there talking. With the coach’s help, you’ll also be making a plan, and taking action.

Change perspective.

Coaching is all about helping someone to do the things they need to do, to get them to where they want to be.

My first visit to a coach, helped me break out of this little bubble I’d been sitting in, telling myself that the only options for me where a similar job in a similar company. Which is not what I wanted. In that first session, I started to realise there were opportunities out there that I didn’t know existed.

My coach listened to me, then asked me if I’d considered X, Y, Z. It was so simple. But for someone to suggest I could do something different, based on what interested me, was mind blowing. It was a like a switch went off in my brain. She challenged the story I’d been telling myself, that I was stuck, and that there was nothing interesting out there for me.

She simply listened, and asked questions. Good questions. She guided me into discovering new possibilities for myself. I felt heard, understood, validated. And motivated.

If you’d like some coaching sessions with me, find me here on LinkedIn , or email me at

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.