Let’s talk about Inspiration
I’ve just signed up for a new monthly newsletter, full of career inspiration. It promises to enlighten its readers about different career options and unexpected careers, and feature people who’ve started their own businesses. I’m SO excited to read it and for others to discover it too. Because it’s exactly the kind of thing you need when you’re feeling stuck and uninspired in your job and generally a bit meh.
You need ideas, inspiration, something to add a bit of oomph to your day. What cool, interesting, fulfilling jobs and careers are actually out there? Things you’ve never heard of or thought of. Things you didn’t know existed as a career.
When I wanted to leave my job in magazine sales I joined a few recruitment companies. Of course they just sent me job specs for jobs EXACTLY like the one I was desperate to get away from. And probably even less interesting.
It was so disheartening. I was so desperate for a change, but what they offered me didn’t appeal in the slightest.
It felt like my only option was to move into something that looked pretty much the same, maybe with a higher salary. How depressing. A higher salary is great, but it doesn’t make up for a not so happy day-to-day.
What I didn’t know is that there were a whole world of other jobs out there that I could do. I didn’t realise how many options I had. I was stuck, with blinkers on.
Delight in other people’s stories
The reason the idea of this email delights me so is because when I started out on my career change journey, what kept me going was hearing stories of other people’s career changes; learning about their lifestyle and work. In short, I was looking for inspiration.
The more I read the more I realised just how many people go through the same thing, a career transition. And also how many people manage to make a change for the better.
These people left a job they didn’t thrive in, and found something that suited them way better. A job that played to their strengths, that suited their personality, that sat better with their values. That fit in with how they wanted to live their lives.
I read the weekly Careershifters newsletter, which each week features a real career change story. (Read my interview here).
I found huge inspiration in This Year Will Be Different by Monika Kanokova. It features interviews with women travelling around the world or living in different countries, working freelance or setting up their own small businesses.
And many more books, articles and blogposts.
Working out what you want
And it all little by little changed my perspective. I started to shift from feeling stuck and unfulfilled and frustrated, to feeling inspired and excited. I realised there’s so much cool stuff out there to do! And that I could decide how I wanted to live my life, and try to find something to suit that.
For example I liked the idea of being able to work from home from time to time. Of not be in a big noisy open plan office where I couldn’t hear myself think. Where I had to talk on the phone in front of people, one of my pet hates.
- To work for a smaller, more intimate company.
- I dreamed of doing my own thing, have my own business, with my own clients.
- To be able to travel from time to time, and speak other languages was important to me.
- I also wanted to feel like I was doing work that mattered, work that would have a positive effect.
Once you start to take ideas and inspiration from others and put a bit of proper thought into it, you start to form a sort of blueprint for what you want. And that acts as a guide. That helps you sort out what to say no to and what to explore.
Rather than flailing around screaming I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE you’ve got few role models, a few examples of what might be a cool job and lifestyle.
Role models (who I got obsessed with)
I had a few…
- A Brazilian girl who had planned for the next year to spend 3 months at a time living in 4 different cities, working as a freelance translator. Working in cafes, cowork spaces, meeting new people, speaking different languages.
- A lady who’d packed up a financial career to set up a wellbeing retreat in the Dorset countryside.
- A friend of a friend who’d given up a career in book publishing to live in Ibiza. She went on to edit holiday guides as a freelancer.
- My friend Vix, who was living in Barcelona working freelance and remotely as a translation project manager, who spends time every other month or so working and having fun in Menorca.
My inspirations were all leading me to a job where I could work remotely, maybe in another country, maybe for myself, and have a bit more freedom in my day to day.
And that’s where I’ve ended up. Living in Valencia, working as a career change coach on the side of a day job, where I work remotely for an online education company.
It took me a long time to work out what I wanted. But it was such a great experience peeling back the layers and eventually uncovering work that interested me. And I doubt I’d have managed it without all the amazing inspirational stories that changed my perspective and boosted my motivation.
So search out things that make your heart sing, that excite you. Find case studies of people who have changed career or who have jobs that sound interesting. (I love Stylist magazine’s Work/Life column for this).
Try and pick out the bits that appeal – is it their working environment, the actual work they are doing, the freedom they have? This will help you to work out what you want, I promise. It will plant little seeds in your brain that will influence your next steps.
If you’d like to have coaching sessions with me, find me here on LinkedIn, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.