From the time I could line my teddies in a row and read to them, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It was one of those things that I just knew I was meant for, so that’s what I became. I went to university, got my qualifications and started my dream role as a primary school teacher.
It could be challenging and draining but also very rewarding – I loved it. It wasn’t all Miss Honey made it out to be, but it’s who I felt I was made to be and it’s where my skill set lay. I never really considered progressing into higher roles, as being in the classroom with my children is what I loved best. That all changed when there was a change in leadership at my school and my new headteacher helped me to see my potential. I became the leader of a range of subjects within school, I was given opportunities to train other teachers, I became the deputy safeguarding lead and I was on the path to advance in my career.
I then decided to start a family. I was given the opportunity to work part-time which allowed me to raise my baby as well as continue to progress with my career. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I ended up working practically full-time. On reflection, I should have realised that I had a part-time contract and was under no obligation to increase my hours. But wanting to advance meant I had something to prove and at the expense of my family.
This all led to the decision to pause my teaching career. It’s a day I wasn’t sure I’d ever see, and it came a lot sooner in life than expected. Upon handing in my notice, I received a counteroffer: stay on as Assistant Headteacher. This threw a spanner in the works, as this is what I had been aiming for. Despite my reason for leaving being that I wanted to spend more time with my child, the leaders I worked with assumed that career progression would override that. I turned it down. As sad as it was, it was also empowering. I made my own decision and chose to be at home with my daughter.
Another baby later and I thought the Stay at Home Mum gig was one I’d be doing for the foreseeable future. I always felt my only skills lay in teaching and so whilst not teaching, I would be a mum and nothing else.
Sometimes life can change in a moment, which led me to my current position – a social media assistant. It is amazing how certain skills you’ve learnt throughout life, can be transferred so fittingly to a new industry. Despite the fact I’d never even considered a role in marketing, I’m finding it so rewarding. I now work in a role with flexible hours which means I can work around my children, rather than them working around me.
Working in a team that values and respects that I have two roles in life has been critical in making a success of my new job. I sometimes attend Zoom meetings with a baby on my lap, but this doesn’t make me any less committed to my work as my colleagues, it just means I’m raising a family whilst working at the same time.
Changing career is exciting, but also scary! So, here are my 3 top tips to surviving the first month in a new industry!
Shred the imposter syndrome!
Changing jobs comes with its fears and challenges, changing career and starting in a new industry, exasperates those feelings even more. It may sound cheesy but you need to believe in yourself. There is a reason you landed your new role and a reason the company chose you – so own that.
Ask for help
It can be human nature to act like we know what we’re doing, however, there are many times in life when we don’t – and that is okay. If you are moving into a new role, you are not expected to be a complete expert in it right away, or you would have been doing it already! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people love the opportunity to share their own knowledge and provide support to others, so make the most of that. Find people who can support you and let them do it.
Networking and engaging with your industry community is one great way to find support in the early stages of a new career. Finding a mentor can also be hugely beneficial. Read more on how to do that here.
Invest in your learning
My new role has required a lot of new learning. I love to learn (maybe it’s the teacher in me?!) so this opportunity to expand my knowledge has been welcomed! If you switch careers one of the best things you can do is spend time investing in your learning. Soak up everything you can. There will be webinars, blogs, even LinkedIn posts that can all help build the foundation of your expertise in the new role.
Changing career was never something that was in my long term plan, but as previously stated – Life can change in a moment. You may be working in a job that isn’t as fulfilling as you hoped. You may be working where you don’t have the work/life balance that you want – read more on how to manage the impacts of the pandemic on work-life balance here. Or you may just be looking for a change. Whether you are looking to stay in your current role or move into a new industry completely, opportunities are out there! I am now in a role that if you’d told me a few months ago I’d be doing, I would have found it laughable. But here I am, learning every day. And loving it.