“My life is completely different now.”


Finding herself sobbing in a taxi at the thought of going back to work, Fabienne Morris knew that something had to change. The Launch Pad helped her clarify her new direction, and create a career path that enriches her life.

What were you doing for work before taking part in the Launch Pad?

I was Head of Marketing and Communications at a major classical music management agency. 

We managed the careers of celebrity classical musicians. I was also a board member of that company. So it was a very prestigious job.

How did you feel about your work?

I was feeling really anxious all the time, and I was exhausted. 

I was feeling guilty because I thought 'why am I not enjoying this?'. 

I was feeling quite lonely because I'd escalated to such a point in terms of seniority where I was the same age as everyone who was more junior than me, but I was the same seniority level as people who were much older.

I was in this strange hinterland where I didn't feel like I could confide in people. I felt like I couldn't be myself.

You can do that for a while, I almost enjoyed playing a role. But then over time your true self wants to come through. 

What are you doing now?

I'm a marketing and communications consultant. 

I work with all kinds of businesses and organisations, but ultimately, they're all in some way organisations that have social impact at their heart.

Many of them are cultural, and indeed arts organisations, so I haven't left the art world behind completely. I've worked across all sectors from cultural to tech to education. 

And I worked for myself now, I'm self-employed.

How are you feeling about your work (and your life)?

I honestly feel like I've had some kind of a brain transplant. 

I used to have a constant negative voice in my head. Even though on paper I was doing very well, I had this internal voice that I wasn't doing well enough. A lot of self-criticism. I never understood where that came from. 

Since I've changed, that voice is just all but disappeared. It's amazing how much more energy I have now that that voice isn't there.

On a practical level, I can take a day off in the week if I want to. When I work it's at my own pace, and in my own home.

I can't even begin to remember what it was like to commute every day and have to be at the office at a specific time, have to stay there, then get home late, eat dinner and do the same thing the next day. My life is completely different now.

Why did you decide to take part in the Launch Pad?

I had a bit of a rock bottom moment, which is what happens to many people before they decide to take a big leap and do something different. 

I'd just got married (that was not the rock bottom moment!), and we were on our honeymoon in Patagonia. We were in the middle of nowhere, having an incredible adventure. And it was the first time in years I'd had that long off work. 

It was the first time that I'd really been able to get off-grid and properly disconnect from work, and be myself around people who didn't know who I was. I didn't have any of those expectations on me.

We were sitting looking out over an amazing view in Patagonia and I just felt this surge of energy. It was like something that had been asleep in me was suddenly awake again. 

I was hit with blinding clarity: 'This is what life should be like and it's not. And why is that?' And the answer for me was my job.  It was what I was having to do, nine to five every day. I could see that it wasn't working for me anymore. 

It was a bittersweet realisation because on the one hand, it was amazing – there's all kinds of careers I could have.

But on the other hand, I then thought, 'how on earth do I begin to dismantle and move on from a career that's my identity, that I'm proud of?'

I remember thinking that I needed a structure. So I sat on the bed in the middle of Argentina during my honeymoon, looking up 'how to change career when you're 35'.

Careershifters popped up and I read about the Launch Pad. I thought it sounded exactly like what I needed, a step by step course. But at that point I didn't sign up.

On my way home when we came back to the UK, I remember sitting in an Uber literally weeping with the feeling of 'I have to go from this feeling of possibility back to being in this cage'. 

I remember thinking to myself, 'you must bottle that feeling that you had on holiday and do something with it. Because this cannot be your life. You can't be sobbing in a taxi at the thought of going back to to work.'

So that's when I decided to sign up for the Launch Pad.

Signing up for the Launch Pad and actually starting to make the change felt like an adventure. I hadn't done anything unrelated to music since I was about 16.

I really like learning stuff, in a fun way. I don't like pressured learning. And so in many ways I thought the Launch Pad was perfect for me  I get all the joy of learning something in a structured course, but there's no exam at the end, there's no possible 'failure'.

At that point, I felt like whatever I find out from the course, even if it helps a bit, would be better than nothing.

Did you have any concerns about taking part?

I actually didn't have any at all. 

At that point, I was so ready for some help. I could see from all of the marketing material and quotes from people who'd been through the programme that at the very least, it would give me some ideas about what to do.

In terms of cost, at that point I was already aware of how much money I was actually wasting while at my old job. I'd been trying to feel better.

So for example, I had been spending a lot of money on therapy, on lunches because I was too exhausted to make my own lunch, getting massages all the time, because my shoulders were so tense. 

When I jotted it down, I could see that I'd been spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds a month just to cope, essentially. And I thought that surely I could pay the cost of the Launch Pad, that's going to help me break out from that. 

Also, I like group programmes. I'm a sociable person. I like to deal with other people. So I just thought, let's get on with it. Let's do it.

What was the biggest difference the Launch Pad made for you and your shift?

The first part of the course is dedicated to finding out who you are really – what do you like doing? 

For a lot of people that's often been suppressed. It's been drilled out of them. 

So that part of the course was the spark that lit everything that came for me, and I still carry that with me now. 

What have you learnt since the course that you'd share with others making a career change?

It's common to have a very preconceived idea that to change career you have to retrain, spend a lot money on getting a qualification,  and start from the bottom.

But the course showed us that there are other more nuanced, creative, fluid ways to shift into another industry. 

You'd be amazed at how quickly you can for example, get to the top of another sector, without retraining or starting from the bottom. 

Anything else to add?

It's never, ever too late. 

Also, sometimes small changes can make a huge difference. You might think that you have to make a massive wholesale change, something completely opposite to what you do now.

But sometimes it's just certain aspects that need to shift, than can lead to a completely different worklife and feeling about life in general.

You can find full details about the course on our dedicated Launch Pad page.