Changing Careers

Career Change: 2 things I wish I’d known

July 8, 2020

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Prefer to read? The transcript is below 🙂

Hi, it’s Iris, helping you to find your passion, and make it your work. Welcome to my YouTube channel. 

At the time of recording this video, I’ve just hit 50 subscribers! Now, that may sound like not much to you – or maybe it does. I don’t know. But it is a lot to me! I imagine 50 of you sitting in a room with me, social distancing and all, interested in what I’ve got to say week in, week out. That means a lot to me, so thank you! 

Okay, so in today’s video, I wanted to share a bit more about myself and my career change story. I hope it’ll give you a bit of extra confidence, motivation and inspiration to go after your dreams, take meaningful action, and build a career around something that excites you and that you truly care about. 

Because life’s way too short and precious to settle for something that’s just so-so. 

I’ll also be sharing 2 things I’d wish I’d known before I made my career change. 

But, before I do that, please leave a like if you like this video and subscribe to my channel. It’ll really help me to grow my channel, and it gives me some clues as to what kind of videos you’re into – so I can then go and create more of those. 

Okay, let’s get to it! 

career change 2 things I wish I'd known

So, for those of you who don’t know me, or don’t know me that well, you might be interested to know that I started my career in the corporate world in The Netherlands (where I was born and raised).

I then moved to London, and continued my career there – not without difficulty, I applied for a ton of jobs. At one point, I counted how many cover letters I’d written, and it was over 60… 

Fortunately, things paid off in the end, and I did end up finding a great job at a marketing agency. 

Throughout my career, I’ve done a variety of things, but I worked in Marketing for a large part of it. 

After a while, things started to feel off.

I started dreading work more and more, and felt really stuck.

I knew I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, but it wasn’t the worst either. I had nice colleagues, was learning a lot and had great career prospects. 

The things that really bugged me, though, were the office politics, the bureaucracy, and a lack of autonomy.

I felt like a cog in a big corporate machine, replaceable.

Like it didn’t matter what I had to say or what I thought. You know: “just stay in line, and do as you’re told.”

On top of that, I didn’t care much for the industry I was in. I worked in the telecommunications industry, mobile phones, for a large part of my corporate career, and I wasn’t particularly interested in mobile phones, and mobile phone contracts….

I felt like all I was doing was making money for the companies’ stakeholders. I felt no purpose or meaning, no connection to what I was doing.  

The Sunday blues were a real thing. I became a shell of myself. I’d lost interest in work, and all my energy was going to simply getting through the week. 

At the same time I started getting these odd recurring migraines – I’d never had migraines in my life up until that point – and they were accompanied by bad spells of dizziness.

Every month, I had to stay at home, in bed, for about a week. So, 3 weeks at work, 1 week sick at home.

It was awful. 

After a year of living like that, I went to the doctor. He referred me to a cardiologist, who fortunately cleared me. He sent me on to an ENT specialist, who fortunately also cleared me. He then sent me on to a neurologist, who diagnosed me with a rare type of migraine, and told me it could be due to a variety of reasons. Stress was one of them… 

Now, this might sound silly, but to me that made so much sense. I was in a job, a career, that by that time made me miserable. And, let me be clear on this, I care about work. We spend such a big part of our lives at work, so it matters to me that I’m doing something fulfilling, worthwhile and exciting during that time. 

So, to be in a career that I honestly couldn’t care about, that I disliked, that was stressful to me.  Maybe you can resonate with that? 

So, back to this neurologist… he prescribed me some meds, and told me: “look, this is strong stuff, and one of the side effects you can get is a rash. That rash can be fatal, so if you get it… make sure you stop taking the pills immediately”. 

The next day I started taking the pills, and what do you know, a week later a rash started developing on my stomach….

To me, that was the moment I thought enough is enough.

I’m in a career that I don’t care about, which literally makes me ill, which I then need to take meds for, which can kill me? What the heck am I doing?

That was on a Friday. I handed in my notice on Monday. I’ve never had migraines since.

Now, I’ll tell you a bit more about how I figured out what to do instead with my career, and what happened after I handed in my notice, in next week’s video, so if you want to watch that, make sure you subscribe to my email list, and you’ll get an email from me as soon as I posted that video. 

The reason why I’m telling you this, is to show you that I know how it feels to be stuck in a career or job that you no longer enjoy doing. I know how much it sucks.

I understand the frustration, confusion and impatience that you might be feeling right now. 

And, I also want you to know that, this too shall pass, and that there is another way.

Work doesn’t have to suck. It doesn’t have to be soul-destroying. It can be fulfilling, exciting, fun, meaningful. 

If you’re committed to doing the work to figure out what it is that you love doing, and to put yourself out there, to take this journey into the unknown, then you will find work you love. 

The process of finding work you love isn’t rocket science. 

Is it scary, confusing, frustrating, uncertain? 

Yes, it is. 

It challenges you, and will probably make you doubt yourself more often than not. 

But, it is SO possible to find work you love – to do work that you care about, that fulfills you, that excites you. 

That said, there are a few things that can easily get in the way of achieving that. One of those things are the lies we are fed about finding work you love.

Let me share 2 things I’d wish I’d known back then when I handed in my notice…

You don’t need to have an epiphany

I wish I’d known that you don’t need to have this epiphany, that one moment when the skies part, rainbows appear, angels sing, and all of a sudden you know what you’re meant to do with your life. 

I’d heard people talk about this, and I thought I should have that moment too. 

Which is SO NOT TRUE!!

If it were true, I’d probably still be waiting right now. 

If there’s one piece of advice that I can give you, then it’s this: please stop waiting for that epiphany. 

Want to know what to do instead? Hop on over to this video after you’ve watched this one. I’ll also add the link in the description below this video. 

The second thing I’d wish I’d know is:

You don’t need to plan it all out. 

I’ve wasted a fair bit of time trying to meticulously plan my career change, but it often left me feeling only more confused and unsure – especially when well-meaning friends and family then started asking me about my plan.

In her book, “Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career”, Herminnia Ibarra says:

“by far the biggest mistake people make when making a career change is delaying the first step until they’ve settled on a destination”. 

The most important thing is to get going, to make the first step, even when you don’t know where it might lead. 

You don’t need to have it all figured out when you start. You don’t need to have a master plan. 

You just need to start moving, and things will start to get clearer when you take action.

Alright, that’s it from me today. I hope you’ve found this video helpful, or maybe even inspiring. Please hit that thumbs up button if you liked it, and let me know in the comments below what 1 thing you’re taking away from this video. 

Thank you so much for watching, see you next week!

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