How to change career

So we have reached the weekend which means that I have completed my first week in my new job and I am feeling so enthusiastic and positive about it. I had a little moment yesterday when some things started to slip into place and I felt completely contented.

Now as you may or may not know, just a brief introduction (please feel free to skip over this paragraph if you know the background) I had been working in the same school for just over nineteen years and I truly felt like I needed a change of scenery and a new challenge. There wasn’t really anywhere further I could go with my career apart from training to become a qualified teacher, which I didn’t want to do. There was also the fear that I would become bored and I absolutely didn’t want to reach that stage either.

While contemplating what I could do career-wise there was an awful lot of soul searching. I thought I would share some of the thoughts and decisions I made in the hope that it might be able to help you in some way. Maybe you are just starting out and thinking about what career you would like to do, or perhaps, like me, you are considering a career change. Either way there are a few points to consider before making any life-changing decisions, So first things first:

What could I do? What should I do? What do I want to do?

So fundamentally let’s contemplate the question, what could I do. Well this is really thinking about what jobs I would actually and physically be able to do, bearing in mind that I could not afford to take years out of work to retrain. It would have been no good pondering the possibility of becoming a consultant surgeon, a garden designer or a professional palaeontologist, purely because it would take years of studying. So I needed to be a little bit realistic. I haven’t had a very varied career, as you will gauge from the amount of time I was in my previous job! However you may be different to me, you may have the fortune of the time and circumstances that you could, in fact, invest in training to completely reevaluate your career. For me though, this wasn’t an option I could consider.

I have had experience working in a shop, although a very long time ago. I worked in Sainsbury’s as a student, working on the provisions section and tills and I loved it! Who hasn’t worked in a supermarket for their Saturday job! Actually I think things might be different now, with laws about having to be over eighteen to sell alcohol etc. Do you know, thinking back, I’m not entirely sure that quaint little Sainsbury’s store even sold alcohol in those days, either that or maybe I was just unaware, I genuinely wonder if people only had the option to buy alcohol from off-licences. Gosh I don’t know… now I’m completely digressing but people drink a lot more than they did thirty years ago. Is that because alcoholic drinks are more freely available? Just saying. I might be wrong on that fact, please correct me if I am…

Those were the days when creme eggs cost 13p – I remember that weird fact because they were the only item in the shop at that price. Oh and in those days the tills were manual, it was just before they introduced bar codes and digital tills. We had to ring in each item individually. I remember having a test where we had to put our hand under a shield and ring items into the till so we weren’t looking at the numbers, which was quite nerve racking at the time but certainly worked as I became a pro at ringing items into the till. I was probably one of those annoying cashiers who would whizz the items through so quickly that you barely had time to pack them, sorry for that! So anyway, back to now, if I wanted to work in a shop I would need some degree of training.

I had previously done office work too. Although only for about eight years, I do feel that this is a niche that I felt completely in my comfort zone. I started as a fresh faced seventeen year old, after completing my secretarial course in sixth form, and left eight years later when I was expecting my second child and the office was relocating. I have such fond memories of that job and I revelled in the responsibility of being in charge of the office when the managers weren’t in. I covered so many tasks from creating bulletins, placing adverts, booking training courses and conferences in hotels, arranging interviews, typing letters and speaking to celebrities about their insurance (I thought I would drop that info in but actually there was only one!!) So I was in my absolute element in that job. However I left there in 1993 and technology has changed massively since then. We didn’t even have computers, we typed everything on electric typewriters (with a carbon copy!) but it was such a lovely job in a little office above the shops in Reigate. So office work completely appealed to me now, but again I would need training.

Obviously I am also completely comfortable working in a primary school, but the whole point of looking for a new job wasn’t because I didn’t like my old one, it was because I wanted to do something completely new. So to seek employment in another school would be completely defeating the object.

So moving on to the next consideration, what should I do?

Now I felt that I needed to think about the practicalities next. It wouldn’t be fair on everyone else in my family to decide that I only wanted to work one day a week. There are bills to pay, we need food to eat, we have animals to feed, not to mention the expenditure of getting a new car about three years ago. It also wouldn’t be practical to get a job fifty miles from home, so serious consideration to geographic location was also key. Monetary reward, although not an absolute priority is obviously very important too.

Moving on, let’s consider the next concept. What did I want to do?

Now this is the fun question! If money and sensibility were no object what would I like to do? Well there are so many things that I have some degree of interest in, so this is quite a tricky question. There are numerous jobs that I would imagine to be instantly gratifying, deeply rewarding and ‘smile-making’ if that’s a phrase. If it’s not a phrase, then it is now because I’ve just invented it! So the types of jobs I’m thinking about it here are the type where we think, “Oh I’d love to work there…” or, “what a lovely job…” that type of scenario. So for me personally, working with animals, working somewhere like a beautiful National Trust property with it’s glorious gardens and steeped in history, a job involving flowers, a cute little gift shop or coffee shop where people pop in to while away the day, a glamorous job working on a magazine..the list goes on and on. Those perfect-world jobs. Be mindful of the fact these are just my visions, yours are probably on a completely different scale.

So all things considered, my final choice really needed to combine all these fragments. It wouldn’t be appropriate to choose something from one list, all elements needed to be considered. The other major factor would also be waiting for a job, that ticked all the boxes, to become available. Just because I had made the decision to seek new employment wouldn’t necessarily mean that my perfect job would be instantly available on the market.

I was so fortunate that I spotted an opportunity that nestled nicely within the criteria I was looking for and after my nerve-racking, yet successful interview, I was delighted to be offered the job.

So roll on a few weeks and now …

We have reached the weekend which means that I have completed my first week in my new job and I am feeling so enthusiastic and positive about it. I had a little moment yesterday when some things started to slip into place and I felt completely contented.

I’ll let you know more about my first week next time, but for now I hope you have a lovely week.


  1. Great post and I’m still thinking that at 40. Don’t stress – I’m still figuring out if blogging is going to be a successful thing for me, should I go back to writing novels? Should I could I? Why don’t I do everything? I’m proud of you – because you’ve carried on through everything – and I’m so happy youre enjoying your 1st week xx

    Liked by 1 person

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