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I WANT TO CHANGE MY JOB

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THE PATIENT
Wendy Johnson, 41, is an assistant accountant and lives in London

Wendy says “I’ve spent the last ten years working at a City firm. It started as a stop-gap to earn a bit of cash and, although the people I work with are great, I’ve realised my thirties are behind me and the time to realise my dream of working in the fashion industry is running out. I know it’s incredibly hard to get a foot in the door and I’m not sure where to start. Now I’m in a trap: I want a change, but I have a mortgage to pay and lots of commitments. Idream of being a fashion buyer, but don’t know if I’d have a chance of being considered because of my lack of experience. Should I be a grown-up and try to take my current career further – I’m doing evening classes inmanagement accountancy, which will
take about four years – or go for my dream job in fashion?”

THE EXPERT
Liz Wilde is a life coach and author

Liz says “Turning 40 often kickstarts a period of exciting change, as we realise the time to achieve our dreams is running out. Far from being ‘past it’, this is a time in Wendy’s life for new opportunities. She should re-evaluate who she is, how her aspirations have changed and what
she has achieved. She’s still pining for the dream job she lusted after as a teenager. But I want to get to the core of what’s holding her back and what she really wants from her career.

Step 1: Face The Fear

The rejection Wendy felt 20 years ago when she first tried to get a job in the fashion industry is still holding her back. She needs to recognise that she has achieved an enormous amount in the intervening years, progressing well in her current company, learning a raft of new skills and growing in confidence. Procrastination is often just fear of failure – your mind telling you, if I don’t try I can’t fail so it’s safer not to try at all. I want Wendy to separate her emotions from her CV, and remember that a company rejecting her isn’t a personal slight – it’s simply that her experience isn’t quite right.

Step 2: Bolster Confidence

I want Wendy to create a ‘success showreel’ in her mind, by writing down all the things she’s achieved in the past ten years of which she’s proud. Next, I want her to visualise them in her head, like a video of her ‘best bits’. When she’sheading into an interview and feeling nervous, or finding herself procrastinating, simply pressing play in her mind will get her back on track and remind her of her strengths and attributes. Another confidence-boosting trick is to< keep a ‘victory log’ – every time someone says or writes something positive about you, simply jot it down in your log in quote marks. Looking back on comments like, “You did a fantastic job on that project”, is a wonderful boost.

Step 3: Demystify Your Dream

Wendy idolises a job in fashion, but this attitude makes it easier for her to keep it as a fantasy. She needs to stop imagining that having her dream job will make her life perfect, and start thinking practically. She’s actually in a really good position – although she has a mortgage to pay, she doesn’t have kids, so has some financial flexibility. By writing a list of the pros and cons of each job, it becomes clear that the overriding thing Wendy craves is to work in a more creative environment. Also, far from finding her current job mind-numbingly dull, she actually enjoys most aspects of it. Wendy thought her dream job was working as a merchandiser for a small fashion label, but I think she would miss the responsibility and analytical nature of the job she does now. It has become clear that Wendy just needs a career rejig, ie something very similar to what she does now but in fashion or another creative industry.

Step 4: Get Moving!

When a task seems daunting, it’s easy to avoid doing anything. By breaking it down into small, actionable tasks, it instantly seems less of a feat. We wrote a list of things for Wendy to do before our next session, such as getting her CV up to scratch, talking to her contacts in fashion, researching suitable jobs and sending off applications. By writing down a list of tasks and working your way through them, you’re taking the first step on the road to success.”

 

(c) Liz Wilde   Back to Features