As mentioned in my previous article, Moving overseas can offer an amazing opportunity to take a long slow look at how life could be different. This is actually the perfect time to take stock, dig deep and consider this to be your time of re-invention.
What’s your career for?
Ask yourself what you want your career to do for you at this stage of your life. If you know flexibility is important to you, there’s no point in going for a high-powered role that requires travel, long hours and rigid working practices. This is likely to lead to stress, frustration and potential burnout. Be clear on what matters most and do your best to honour that. Knowing and using your highest values (things like autonomy, integrity, creativity or authenticity – whatever is most important to you) will help you assess whether each option is going to deliver what you need and want at this point.
Do your research e.g. what do interior designers actually do?
When you’re changing direction you need to understand what’s involved in that new role – not the glamorous picture you have in your head. Start by talking to someone who does the same job, or a former colleague or friend in a similar organization. Setting up these brief coffee chats or Informational Interviews will help you really understand what the work is like on a daily basis, what kind of qualifications and experience are expected and the challenges this industry is currently facing. You can also find lots of useful information on the websites of respective professional bodies, but having a personal contact actually doing the job right now, preferably in your new location, helps you understand the realities.
Know Your Strengths
What are you best at? What do people praise you for or come to ask your opinion on? This knowledge will help you sell yourself into a new role. Strengths can be technical or interpersonal skills, personal attributes, mindsets, knowledge or experience. And if you’re not sure what your real strengths are, ask a former colleague or someone who knows you well and whose opinion you value. This is something I spend time on with my career change clients and there are often some welcome surprises! Then ensure you can use these strengths in the new role you’re considering and learn to present them clearly in your CV and LinkedIn profile. Provide evidence of when you used these strengths to deliver an important outcome for your organization or develop key relationships – all good illustrations to support your move.
Tune in to your WHY
Why do you want to change direction? What is it going to offer you the opportunity to do? Think about the kind of difference you want to make, and who you want to impact through this work. This is your deeper purpose and when this is clear, it provides powerful fuel for your career change. Purpose, along with fulfilled values will keep you going long after technical competence has dried up. So spending time exploring your WHY and the contribution you really want to make, will be time very well spent. In my experience as a career change coach, when my clients know their values, purpose, strengths and deepest interests and can express these in their working life, they really feel they’ve hit the jackpot!
Bring on your supporters
Who’s going to be on your side during this journey? Having some cheer-leaders, professionals and friends who understand what’s most important to you (not to them) and who will encourage you to keep on going when you’re ready to give up will make all the difference.
Friends, family, Facebook groups, your professional network – all can offer vital help during the process. You might need to secure the services of a career or life coach – don’t be afraid to ask for professional help in making what will be a key decision in your life. A recruitment consultant might help, butbe aware that they are not often impartial and their top priority is to fill a gap for their clients and not to help your career progression.
Listen to Your Intuition
I’m a big fan of tuning into those internal nudges, which are steering you towards the ideal solution for you. Gut feeling is a powerful source of all the hard-won wisdom you have gathered during your life. Working unconsciously doesn’t mean it’s magic or superstition – just unseen! You probably already ‘know’ what will suit you. I like to use intuition alongside systematic evaluation of options. Give your rational brain the chance to explore the pros and cons and then put it to your intuition. This allows you to sidestep all the ‘shoulds’ we carry around with us – the careers our parents, peers and old teachers would admire – because they will not necessarily bring you fulfillment. You can read more about using intuition to make important decisions here.
And finally – and this one is a biggie – believe it can happen.
In my experience, working overseas offers wider horizons, the chance to experiment, grow and to find that you can adapt to change. Nourish your achievements and successes – these will give you the confidence and self-belief to know you can do it again and create a working life on your own terms.
Written by British mums Becky Kilsby, the Founder and Career Coach at Freestyle Careers, working with professionals around the world to create more fulfilling working lives by aligning who they are with what they do.
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