“I always had this gut feeling that there was another path I needed to follow.”
From Self-Employed to Employee
What work were you doing previously?
I was working in private practice as a physiotherapist.
What are you doing now?
I'm now a well-being coach for Vitality, the health and life insurer.
My role involves assisting our group business clients to engage their employees with Vitality and our range of services. Through this, employees benefit from improved health and well-being, and the business benefits from having happier, healthier and more engaged employees.
Why did you change?
I liked my role as a physiotherapist, but I was also frustrated as I couldn't see how the role would progress or change beyond where I was at the time.
I saw many senior colleagues who were very experienced; however, their roles weren't very different to mine. I needed a role which was more dynamic and brought a different range of challenges.
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
I can't remember the specific moment, but during my years working in New Zealand and Australia, I always had this gut feeling that although I'd had some great jobs, and I was where I wanted to be professionally, there was another path I needed to follow.
In addition, I chatted to a lot of patients on a day-to-day basis and I was always more interested in what they did!
Are you happy with the change?
During my time working with my career coach, I made a list of the things I'd like to be doing, and I'm doing them all now!
More importantly, I can see many avenues of career progression ahead of me, rather than just one.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
As a physiotherapist, my working routine didn't change much, and sometimes I think I miss this.
On the flip side, however, my working routine now is very dynamic, with different types of work and challenges in different locations. I'm now pushed out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, which is ultimately more exciting and rewarding.
How did you go about making the shift?
I used moving back to the UK as my 'line in the sand'.
This was great psychologically, because from that point on, all decisions had to be based around making the career shift.
I took advice from my girlfriend, friends and family, but I also wanted impartial guidance, which is what led me to career coach Sonia Lakshman at Careershifters. Completing the one-day Intensive workshop and following this up with some one-on-one sessions provided me with a solid framework and some great tricks on how to clarify what would suit me.
I then identified companies with which I felt my core values aligned. Once I had my 'target list' I visited their websites regularly to find out as much info as possible, as well as to see if there were any job updates. When a job was posted I researched it carefully to see if it was right for me; if I was unsure, I enquired and the individuals recruiting were always very helpful. Asking questions and reading about the companies as much as possible allowed me to be confident when applying, as I knew the company and the role were right for me.
For this particular role, I responded to a job advert which was posted on Vitality's website. I was offered the role following a two-stage interview process.
How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?
I worked part time as locum physiotherapist, which allowed me to earn enough to pay the bills, as well as giving me one and a half days per week to focus on my career shift.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
I was asked "How's the new job hunt going?" regularly by many friends and family. I had to be prepared to answer this a lot!
What help did you get?
Aside from Careershifters, I had lots of help and support from my girlfriend, family and friends.
What resources would you recommend to others?
The best resources are people – those around you and those you meet on the journey.
What have you learnt in the process?
I learnt that help can come in many forms, from formal advice on a course, to a conversation with your partner, to having a beer with a friend.
I learnt to be open to this, and to enjoy the process.
I've also had to learn a lot about a new industry. The company has been very supportive with this. And now that I'm becoming a little more experienced I'm developing a better understanding of the training that would be beneficial for me.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Make sure you do it right – by taking your time and enjoying the process.
What lessons could you take from Andrew's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.