If you’ve read a few of my other posts, you’ll know that I’m currently looking to make a bit of a career shift. Whilst my job, on the outside, may look exciting and fun and different (and sometimes it is) in reality, it’s just like any other job. It has it’s frustrations and stresses and more than anything, it’s just not what I see myself doing in ten years time.
Firstly, my job can be quite physically demanding and there are days when I wake up, still aching from the day before. This is fine, for now, but I genuinely don’t think I would be physically capable of doing my job when I’m 65, and let’s face it, anyone my age will not be able to retire at 65, if ever!
Secondly, I do have a habit of winding myself up, obsessing over the little things and worrying necessarily. Although I’m working on these aspects of my personality, I have to accept that it’s something I’ll always struggle with and my job certainly doesn’t help with these things. I work on a casual, often freelance basis so I irregular work patterns, no guaranteed work, periods of intense long hours followed by periods of unemployment. Each job I start is full of uncertainty, new people, new places, unknown quantities and being thrown in at the deep end. Some people thrive on these aspect but personally, it’s doing me a lot of harm and I need to change things.
To help guide me through this change, I’ve been reading a few self-iprovemet books recently. Admittedly, there’s a lot of crap out there which claims to help you but ultimately is just a vehicle for someone to flog you a course, a seminar or a product. I refuse to believe that I need to hand over £400 to figure out what I want from my working life. On the back of this, here are three of my favourite, non-hard-sell, books. DO/ FLY by Gavin Strange, How To Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric and Career Change by Joanna Penn. This last book has some great practical advice on really thinking about how you want your career change and new working life to look. I’ve been a bit hung up on what I want to do and how I’m going to get there. (I have no idea about either, by the way!) but by thinking about a a few key aspects of work, I’ve managed to at least identify what I don’t want. Going beyond a CV type approach of ‘what am I good at’ , I’ve taken a more holistic approach, taking in to account the work / life relationship. So, carrying on from my previous post about what I’d like my working day to look like, ( see that post here) I’ve also been doing some work on comfort zones ( that’s for another post) and looking at some fundamental pros, cons, likes and dislikes. Here’s the result of some of my ponderings.
What I enjoy doing now – photography, writing, singing, dancing, working with colours and fabrics.
What I like about my current job – having most daytimes free, working in a relaxed artistic environment, organisation, being part of a team effort, working with my friends, decent hourly rate.
Things I don’t like about my job – irregular working pattern, no job security, uncertainty causes stress and anxiety, always working evenings, not being able to plan a personal life, no flexibility in when / how I work, reliant on a company needing me, emotionally and physically tiring, no progression, causes migraines.
What people say I’m good at – working with different people, being organised, good eye for detail, writing, taking photos, being efficient, helping people,
Being and Employee Pros – Erm … holiday pay? I do get holiday pay from my PAYE jobs but it’s paid in with my wages so I’ve already spent it before I can schedule any time off and get paid for it. Does anyone actually save their holiday pay?
Being an Employee Cons – Working as and when I’m told to, no flexibility to earn more or work less, No sick pay / time off when needed, waiting to be offered work, have to take everything because I don’t know when I’ll get offered any more work, can’t plan anything because I could have to turn down a chunk of work because I can’t do one day / show.
Being my own boss pros – flexible working hours, not location specific, can negotiate my own work load, can work around other commitments, ability to earn more when needed
Being my own boss cons – dependent on myself to get work, no regular routine, being strict with finances.
Working through these things has really helped me to clarify what I do and don’t want from any potential career change. Of course, everybody’s pros, cons, like & dislikes will be different, based on your preferences, current circumstances and hopes for the future. If you’re thinking of changing career direction, I hope that this post might help you also think about what you want from that change, even if you don’t yet know the the specifics. I’d love to hear about some of your pondering on these subjects, too.