3 things I wish someone had told me about changing careers

I’m a 35 year-old woman. I run my own business. I love what I do. Love it! But to get here I’ve gone through multiple career changes and, at the time, none of them really made any sense.


I started out studying Biomedical Science. Then I worked in the third sector in eCommerce. Then corporate banking. Then I studied Law and Global Politics. Then I worked in international development. Then political risk. Then Diplomacy. Then I set up my own coaching practice. Along the way, I also interned at Google, wrote copy for various companies, taught Maths and Science, volunteered at a Sri Lankan think tank, and ran an Etsy business, too. Not to mention, I did this all while living in seven different countries!

Regardless of whether you feel your career needs to have some sort of external narrative, what I’ve learnt from doing all of this can help you change careers more smoothly and more effectively.

Here are three things I’d like everyone to know about changing careers.

1. You don’t need to start at the bottom again

People have often told me they can’t change careers because they’ll be starting from the bottom and they have a fear that they’ll be starting over again. This is certainly one way to think about careers and also one way to change them – to continually start again at an entry position that you’re probably overqualified for.

And don’t get me wrong. I’ve taken that approach once before too. I look back now and realise there would have been much smarter ways of achieving my goal. It was focusing on how hard it was rather than all the things I could bring to the table.Focus on what you bring and your value.

2. Stop seeing your career as a ladder

A career change is an evolution of your unique career path. It’s not something 'external'. There isn’t one set career 'path' that’s mapped out. That used to be an option (and in many ways it still is) but don’t worry if that doesn’t feel right to you.

We tend to use the word 'ladder' to describe progress through careers but this isn’t helpful. There aren’t set steps that we take that are equal distance apart, fixed and rigid. I don’t know of any career where it has been that obvious.

A career is simply your narrative and your journey through work and how you contribute to the world. You can make the decisions around that and they can be flexible, squiggly and none ladder-like. Youget to choose.

3. Be open to doing the hard inner work

Lastly, if you’re considering a career change it’s probably because you’re not feeling satisfied. The challenge people tend to have is asking and knowing what would make them feel satisfied. It’s at this point most people reach a bit of a wall.

They know they don’t want their current situation but they don’t know what they do want either. I’ve learnt this is usually for two reasons.

Firstly, we’ve unintentionally hidden parts of ourselves from ourselves and we need to get back in touch with the things we value.

Secondly, one part of us wants something and can see the value of going through something difficult to get it, while another part doesn’t want to experience the discomfort it will entail.

The trick is learning to access these parts you’ve been unintentionally ignoring and learning to listen to and speak to all those conflicting parts in you. If this resonates with you but you’re not quite sure how to do this, then working with a coach can help.

There are many more lessons I’d love to share with you. Feel free to take a look at my profile and reach out or stay tuned for another article designed to help you!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW1V & NW1
Written by Rebecca Cockayne, BA. (Oxon), MSc, GDL | Delphi Coaching
London SW1V & NW1

Bex is a coach who loves journeys. She's done a lot and has been on many internal and external ones. She loves to help people long their path too.


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