Career change – what happened before the leap?

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

Beginnings

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 joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Is this the right time for a career change? Dealing with uncertainty.

At the moment there is a lot of fear and uncertainty around the coronavirus and how it will affect us all. Lots of people are worried about their jobs, paying mortgages and bills, home schooling, older parents and family.

If you’ve already started considering a career change, you might wonder if now is really the time. There’s too much uncertainty. Surely no one is hiring or interviewing, the economy is taking a big hit, isn’t this a pointless task?

I watched an interesting video on dealing with career change during a difficult time, with so much uncertainty. The host made a really important point that stood out to me – “now is the time to channel fearful energy into proactive energy”.

Here’s how.

I talk a lot about a few different things that really helped me with my career change. Amongst them are reading inspiring and practical books, blogs, and interviews around career change. About interesting people and how they life their lives. And also listening to podcasts, around the same subjects.

But time is quite often an issue with career change. We feel as though we’re too busy to think about something so big. We don’t have the headspace to really explore by reading widely and looking for inspiration, and writing down our dreams and thoughts.

Well now, a lot of us are working from home and not commuting. Or staying in in the evenings and weekends rather than carrying on with our busy social lives. So it’s a great opportunity to make use of the extra time. And channel that fearful energy into proactive energy.

For once, we have time.

Career change requires a lot of thinking time, exploring what you really want from your career right now. Maybe your ideas or values have changed in the past few years. Maybe you’ve started on a trajectory that really isn’t right for you any more. It’s time to get clear on what your next move will be, whenever the time’s right. 

Use books, online activities, talks, articles and blogposts to find some of your answers. Work out what inspires you, what kind of lifestyle you want to lead, how do you want to spend your time? Who is out there doing things that interest you, or is someone that you admire? How did they do it? What is their life philosophy? What can you learn?

It’s also a great opportunity to do online courses and learn something new. It could be something that could help you in your next job, new skills or a new awareness of an industry. It could simply be learning something that interests you and makes you happy. There are lots of free or inexpensive courses out there – many hosted by well-known, inspiring people.

Staying stuck is the worst – whatever is going on in the world. Taking action, in whatever small way, really helps. Channel that fearful energy into something productive.

And if you’d have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

The perfect excuse to slow down

So this is what happens when external events give you the perfect excuse to slow down.

At the moment we are dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak, with many public events cancelled and there’s even a question mark as to whether socialising with friends is a good idea.

I’m veering on the side of caution.

This means I’ve been working from home all week, and my weekend plans of a coffee date, dinner with friends and meeting to play squash, have been quashed. I’ve now got some extra time.

Silver Lining

And you know what?  

What’s going on is quite scary, and there’s lots of uncertainty. It’s not exactly a fun time. But, I feel that you can look at it as a silver lining. 

All I ever want is more time to read, watch films or TV series and cook delicious recipes. Here we’ve all got an excuse to, as a good friend said, ‘slow down, go back to basics and enjoy the simple pleasures’. 

We’re all so busy, even those of us like me who actively try to not commit to too much. Who hasn’t felt the rush of relief when there’s been a cancellation just when we’re feeling a bit overstretched and overwhelmed.

The Perfect Excuse

So this is the perfect excuse to use the extra time to catch up on sleep, take things slow, and enjoy not rushing. I’ve got a million books to read; enticing looking films, documentaries and series lined up, and recipes selected. I’m looking forward to getting on some podcasts and cooking. A few strolls in the park or time on the bike, and I’ll be happy.

And if you’re looking to change career and in a funk about that – it’s a good opportunity. Take time to read some inspiring books or listen to interviews, or do some writing activities to really find out what you want from your next career (lots of free resources can be found online). 

Or – do nothing.

Here’s to having a good rest.

If you’d like to sign up for life coaching sessions with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Always in a rush?

I’ve realised something about myself recently. I always seem to be in a rush.

I put these self-imposed time limits on myself.

I’ve particularly noticed it happening in the mornings. I take it slow to start, ease myself into some Headspace meditation, then some yoga. I breathe, I’m slow, I’m basically waking up.

Then – action stations! The next few minutes are a blur of kettle on, shower, tea, dress, make-up, breakfast. I rush through it. Eating my breakfast I try to slow down and take my time – I hate rushing while eating.

But I realise I’ve got into the habit of rushing unnecessarily.

Now, I know mornings are a rush for most people. Busy people with jobs to get to, kids to get ready for school, commutes to make. Trying to get as much sleep as possible is the priority, so we get up the very latest we can and then rush through getting out the door.

But, a few years back I deliberately designed my morning to not be a massive rush. I made the decision to get up earlier, just so that I didn’t have to rush, and could have an enjoyable read while eating my breakfast. 

But slowly the habit has crept back. 

And it’s not just the early mornings. When I leave the house I then rush to my co-working space (I do enjoy the 30 minute walk, but it’s at a good clip). I burst into the cowork space, head down, no time for chit chat. I need to get my laptop on, pronto. It’s a vaguely stressful start to the day to be honest.

No ambling in for me, making a tea, having a chat. Taking my time to sort out my stuff and sit down.

This needs to change. I’m causing myself unnecessary stress.

At the weekends too – I sometimes wake up anxious. All I want is a slow, leisurely morning, reading in bed while eating breakfast and drinking tea. But I have a constant checklist of things to do, reply to that friend’s message, make a plan for later tonight, do the food shop, clean the flat, wash my hair…

I compress time in my head, I need to do everything, NOW! No matter that this is kinda typical at the weekend, I always have this stuff to do, and I get it done. It shouldn’t be a big deal. But somehow I’ve learned to make it stressful. 

So, now it’s time to break the old habits and make some new ones. Here’s my plan:

  • The only time I’m allowed to rush is when I’m actually running late, when I have 5 minutes in which to leave the house or I’ll be late. Anything other than that, and I need to chill out. 
  • I need to forcibly slow down when I feel like I’m rushing, and breathe. Do what I need to do calmly and slowly. 
  • Finally my plan is to leave for work 10 minutes earlier, to give myself time at the other end.

How about you? Are you a rusher? Are you feeling stressed? Or are you pretty zen in your day to day?

If you’d like to download my morning routines guide, do so here: 3 easy steps to a morning routine you love!

And if you’d to sign up for a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

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Nothing like a good digital declutter

It’s been a while since I’ve written about having a good old declutter. Which is strange as it’s something I seem to think about ALL THE TIME.

I’m always seeking out articles or blogposts on how to declutter, in the hope of getting a new insight or simply enjoying reading about someone else’s process.

I’m no psychologist. But I’m pretty sure my obsession for all things to do with simplifying, minimalism and decluttering, is about control. When crazy things are going on in the world and sometimes life seems overwhelming – taking control of your things and space, and processes, feels gratifying.

I feel so pleased with myself when I feel things are nice and tidy and orderly.

At the moment, my digital life is getting a makeover. Here are some tips if you feel like a good digital sort out.

Dropbox or any other online storage system

I have some seriously old files here. Old coursework I’ve done, old job applications I’ve submitted. Have I ever referred to the coursework again, will I ever? Doubt it. Maybe it feels like proof or something, but either I’ve got a certificate I can keep or I can just remain safe in the knowledge I completed it. I don’t need dusty old folders digitally cluttering up. 

I’ve deleted a load, put stuff I want to keep long-term on USB sticks, reordered and renamed. It feels good.

Online bookmarks

My ‘to read’, ‘personal’, ‘inspiration’ bookmarks quickly become out of control. It seems any webpage I’ve ever found interesting or useful, or that I’ve bookmarked to come back to when I have time, is saved.

Maybe it’s a comfort thing – knowing I can quickly access something again. The thing is, Google is really quick. If I’ve found something on google before, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find it again. I’m only keeping stuff I refer to daily or weekly.

Email folders

I’m a serial email folder maker. I like to keep my inbox as empty as possible, so I end up having a million folders to sort everything into. There is so much old rubbish stored here from over the years. This is going to be a long-term process, starting with folders which are obsolete – a ‘job applications’ folder last used 4 years ago for example. It’s so cathartic whittling it down to a manageable amount. You also get a really good sense of achievement, of changes in your life.

The Notes app on my phone

Every little restaurant  recommendation, password reminder, random thought of the day gets stored on here. Which means that when I need something important i.e. a password reminder, there’s a lot to get through to find it. I did a good cull of this info  – if I haven’t been to any of these local places after a year, I’m probably never going to. Or maybe I’ve been to them and it’s now irrelevant? Binned.

I’ve realised that if i can get my phone and laptop to a close a state of ‘brand new’ as possible, I’m going to be pretty pleased. You can feel weighed down by digital clutter. Just seeing loads of items or icons stored or saved can feel like physical clutter. There’s always a good excuse for a declutter.

So there we have it, if you love all things decluttering hopefully you’ll have got some inspiration from my recent culling!

If you’d like to contact me for a coaching session, you can do so here on LinkedIn or at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash