At some point in 2012 I started to think and feel that teaching was no longer the long term career choice I once thought it would be. As these feelings intensified and my thinking became clearer, I decided to jump on what I thought would be a career-change bandwagon. However, at the end I felt like an orphan living in a barrel, travelling across oceans into the unknown. I felt as if I was unable to judge my speed or direction; most likely guided by the market forces.
There was one area in which I did not want to end up in: unemployment. I was certain that while my career change was still metamorphosing itself, I would continue to work. Being employed ensured I did not become homeless, for London is an unforgiving environment. Just by looking down the street you can see how the so-called “safety” net has become a huge hole for all the people begging outside Sainsbury’s, Lidl or Tesco.
While the speed of change can be unpredictable, holding a full time job and sailing with change does become slower when one is unable to latch on to the best handles. Time is of the essence and hard to find for one juggling work, life, and completing the necessary career research.
Of the list of potential areas I could pursue, I used the process of elimination to cross out the ones it would take longest to embark on – for I realised I could not realistically become a pilot. Having read hundreds of job descriptions in a number of business function areas at various levels and having spoken with many peers, friends, acquaintances and colleagues, I decided I was best suited to pursue a career in HR. I found parallels and similarities in the entropy of teaching and HR.
The next step was to identify my strengths and areas for development, including transferable skills, knowledge, qualifications and qualities. I ran a self audit. Determined to find a solution, I created a career change project plan through identifying barriers, influences and possible routes to success. As I emerged from the bottle having travelled the rough seas, I realised that experience or lack thereof, would become my number one barrier; my chicken – egg question becoming experience or employment.
As elusive as it sounds, I set out to find experience, which is when I met Sheila Herd of Transitions London, a community interest company, who introduced me to a rail company. To keep a roof over my head, all the while inspired to pursue a career in HR, I worked every day of the week for five months; two days gaining HR specific experience and five days working for a Jermyn Street shirt maker.
Today, despite the in-between difficulties, I am certain I have made the best decision. Career change is possible; it feels better to endure the pain of making change happen than suffering endless pain doing a job that’s no longer satisfying. Keeping a job, researching new careers, speaking to peers and colleagues were equally crucial to my success. Shedding shyness and seeking external help opened many doors as well. The career change has been time worth investing and already do I have a good return.
Written by myHRcareers member Alban Bytyqi