“I'm now a true believer that anybody can make any career change, as many times as they want”


Chiaki Taylor used to avoid telling her friends about her work, and couldn’t see a way to escape from a career she’ d happened upon by chance. But the Launch Pad helped her to understand her own capabilities, and shift into a career she’s proud to talk about.

What was your work situation before the Launch Pad?

I was in corporation tax, which was an area I really just fell into after I graduated.

How were you feeling about your work?

I was feeling demotivated and unhappy, but not sure why I was unhappy, or how to get out of it.

I wasn’t proud of my career. So, whenever I’d see my friends, I couldn’t really explain about my work, I just waited to swiftly move on to the next subject.

I was going around in circles, not happy with work but not sure why I wasn’t happy or where to go next. I’d been like that for ten years.

Why did you decide to join the Launch Pad?

I’d simply had enough of analysis paralysis in my head.

So after receiving a few newsletters, I thought, go for it.

What had you previously tried to do to make progress on your career change?

Before the Launch Pad I’d attempted to randomly apply for some jobs, quite unsuccessfully.

One thing I’m glad I did was try to broaden my area of expertise from simply tax to more of a general manager role.

What were your reservations or scepticism about the Launch Pad?

It was quite a lot of money for me, and an investment in terms of time, so I was worried and a little bit sceptical as to whether it would work for me. 

But I thought, why not go for it and try? What do I have to lose?

What was the experience like?

My experience with the Launch Pad was fun, enjoyable, fulfilling, and eye-opening for me.

What were the highlights?

One of the highlights was connecting with like-minded peers and coaches I met through Launch Pad. 

Another, I’d say, was that the course helped me feel that I could allow myself to like things! That was really liberating.

What were the toughest moments?

The toughest moment for me was actually after the Launch Pad finished – I didn’t get my dream job overnight. 

There was a lot of trial and error, but I knew that I had the tools to do those things, and that I would eventually get there. 

It was tough, but I had help.

What was the impact on you?

The biggest impact the Launch Pad had on me was that it enabled me to express and explore the things that I’m passionate about.

Before, I wasn’t sure I could even say them out loud.

And I’m now a true believer that anybody can make any career change from anything to anything, at any time, as many times as they want.

What on the course led to that impact?

A lot of things. 

The biggest one, and the most memorable, was an exercise that led me to dream – and believe in – the things that I could do. And also projects that allowed me to try different things that I’d never done before.

Where are you now in your career?

After the Launch Pad, I found my current role as a project manager in the area of corporate governance.

This has allowed me to find out what I’m good at, and to know that I’m good at these things naturally.

I’ve been enjoying it. I’m now at the next stage where I might try to combine these skills with other passions as well.

How do you feel about your work?

I am very happy about my work, I’m very confident about it. 

I wake up with a sense of purpose now. 

I love being a project manager, and usually feel fulfilled at the end of the day.

What’s been the impact of your shift on your wider life?

My shift has made me become even more confident and positive as a person, even outside of work. 

When I meet my friends I can confidently, happily talk about my work, which I couldn’t do before. So my private life has changed as well.

How did the Launch Pad help you get clear on and move into your new career?

The Launch Pad helped me get clear on what I actually like and dislike to do.

With the tools of the course I got to try new things and with the encouragement of my peers within the Launch Pad Community, to persevere with the things that were right for me.

What would you recommend to anyone considering the Launch Pad?

If you’re serious about getting out of analysis paralysis or need a career change, and you’re ready to take action, then I say go for it. 

Or if you’re still not sure, because it’s a big investment, then take a small step: ask your friends, even ask the Careershifters team; they have advisors to explain to you what it involves.

One thing I did, throughout the course and after, was to stay away from naysayers who might say negative things about career change. That might stop you from making your move.

We caught up with Chiaki recently to see how her shift was working out, roughly four years on. Here's what she's been up to, and the biggest lessons she's learned.

What's changed for you in your career since we first published your story? 

Now I work as a program manager in a broader area, rather than corporate governance specifically. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find that through the governance role, I realised what I was particularly good at which were mostly soft skills. 

I have tried to expand my role to be more of a general program manager through the past two roles, where I would join the team, learn the background quickly, pick up any project, run it and improve it successfully as a lead. 

From those experiences I have gained more confidence that I can adapt and do this at any company.

The other change is I have become a professional (junior) illustrator now, and have a part-time contract at a consulting firm.

I have also started working as a trustee at a charity organisation.

How do you feel about your work now? 

Really happy! 

I am still moving forward and evolving. I have new goals to grow even further, work efficiently, and gain even more freedom of time.

What challenges have you come up against since making your shift, and how exactly have you dealt with them? 

I have been stuck at times, when I hadn't progressed much. 

But I would then write down what small actions I could take to overcome it. 

Also I sometimes get overwhelmed by how much I need to learn and improve on my illustration and design skills, then struggle to find a way to self-motivate and practice. 

When that happens I tend to leave that thought, and go and do something enjoyable (which would be completely irrelevant) to get refreshed and inspired again.

How is the financial side of things panning out, and is this what you'd expected? 

The financial side got even better. 

I switched to a contracting lifestyle, which pays more per day so I am spending less time for more income, and with a lot more flexibility. 

I wish to go even further by setting up more ways of gaining passive income.

What have you learned, since making your shift? 

That absolutely anything is possible for anyone, if you really wish it.

Share your work, and tell your friends and connections passionately about it. People really open up doors for you, so keep in touch with love and friendliness with your present and past colleagues, as well as any other acquaintances.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Try to get any help you can, including professional coaching and advice from friends.

And follow your dreams. Life’s too short to live to work and hate all the Mondays. I think anybody can change career to anything they want to – I’m not exaggerating!

To find out more about Chiaki's work, visit 

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