“I suddenly realised that I was allowed to enjoy my work.”
What was your work situation before the Launch Pad?
I was working in TV and video operations.
At university I studied media technology, and as soon as I graduated I launched myself into finding employment quickly, just to make some money and become independent from my parents. My first job was working in a broadcast tape library. From there, I progressed through broadcast operations.
Over a decade, the industry changed towards video on demand, and I was doing that for Google. At that point, I discovered Careershifters and the Launch Pad.
How were you feeling about your work?
I was incredibly bored.
I felt like I’d fallen into my job with no control, and everything stemmed from the mistake of rushing into my first job.
I’d always promised myself that I would adjust my career path once I’d figured out what I really wanted to do, but I never really figured it out; I just did the jobs that were in front of me, whether I enjoyed them or not.
I just existed for working and paying my bills.
Why did you decide to join the Launch Pad?
A close colleague of mine at the time had done the course, and I could see how much enthusiasm she had for it.
We both had similar jobs and I felt stuck, but she seemed to have found the beginnings of a path to answer her career questions.
What had you previously tried to do to make progress on your career change?
When I changed jobs, they were always related; the idea of changing careers was so preposterous that I didn’t even attempt it.
I sort of felt that I should just be happy with a job that pays well and allows me to live comfortably.
I guess I was too scared to rock the boat.
What were your reservations or scepticism about the Launch Pad?
I felt like my situation was incurable – I genuinely felt that you weren’t supposed to love your job, that work is just work and people should just get on with it.
That’s just how I was brought up, to think that people who love their job were just weird.
So I wasn’t sure if Careershifters would help the situation.
What was the experience like?
The experience was really exhilarating, actually.
Pushing myself into slightly uncomfortable situations, and then succeeding in those scenarios, made me feel more confident about myself than I ever had. It felt really good to be pushed in a positive way.
I suddenly realised that I was allowed to enjoy my work, and I felt my opportunities were much wider than before.
What were the highlights?
The highlights of the Launch Pad were meeting others who were in a similar situation, and seeing their novel strategies to solving the same problems I was having.
It was really inspiring to see what was working for other people, and then trying to see how that could be applied to me.
Now they have become a really good support structure. I spoke with the Alumni all the way through the course and bounced ideas off them. I still speak to some of them today, and made some good friends, one of whom has invited me to their wedding this year.
What were the toughest moments?
The toughest moments were trying not to be seduced by my old, comfortable work life, and committing to the change that I was trying to create.
I’d often find myself looking at job boards on the internet, and applied for a few jobs that I thought I could do, and even had a couple of interviews.
But I knew that if I was to carry on through that path, I’d be unhappy.
What was the impact on you?
The biggest impact, that brought me the most confidence on the journey, was finding work that would make me happy, and feeling content that I was making the decision to do so.
Basically, having no more what-ifs.
What on the course led to that impact?
One of the projects gave me a clear, achievable path to making my shift, and broke it down into what felt like manageable chunks.
When it’s broken down into chunks that you can understand, and you know how to do each chunk, it gives you a tremendous amount of confidence to go ahead and make the change.
Where are you now in your career?
Right now I have successfully shifted into becoming a freelance videographer.
This is my second shift; my first shift was heading up the media content team at a little startup. Now I’ve made it to be more hands-on, making the content rather than managing those who do – what I’ve actually always wanted to do.
How do you feel about your work?
I feel pretty happy about the work I do.
I’ve never felt satisfaction in work like this before. Sometimes I find it hard to sit down when I’m working because I’m so excited about what I’m doing – like when I’m editing footage that I shot yesterday.
It’s great to see it coming together – I can see all the hard work I put in the day before is paying dividends today. It’s just fantastic, it’s really exciting.
What’s been the impact of your shift on your wider life?
I feel like my creative capacity is now being filled, so now I don’t have much energy left for the other creative hobbies I used to have.
That might sound sad, but actually it’s really good, because I can spend time with friends and family and not feel like I don’t have enough time for all these creative things I used to do.
Basically, the job is scratching the creative itch that I’ve always had.
How did the Launch Pad help you get clear on and move into your new career?
The Launch Pad helped me get clear on my career path via some of the exercises in the course.
It helped give me some understanding of what I wanted from a job other than the salary. It got me thinking more about the organisation and structure of the sort of company I wanted to work for.
I realised that what I really wanted was more control and influence. So rather than being a small cog in a huge machine like Samsung or Google, I wanted to take my transferable skills to a startup where my work had a bigger impact.
Eventually I took this one step further and became a sole trader in the form of a freelance videographer. Each time I defined what I was looking for it gave me a clear target to create a path towards.
That path was mostly plotted using a tool from the Launch Pad, which basically broke down the process of getting to my destination in smaller chunks and made the journey less daunting and more manageable. It gave me a bit of confidence and helped eradicate the paralysis analysis.
What would you recommend to anyone considering the Launch Pad?
The Launch Pad doesn’t give you all the answers to happiness at work, but it does enable you to go out and find those answers.
Don’t do the Launch Pad thinking that your dream job will arrive in a lightbulb moment, and you’ll be happy forever. Just look forward to enjoying that journey, and getting there.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Appreciating the journey allows you to appreciate the destination, because you know all the hard work that’s gone into it and all the decisions that you’ve made to get there.
Image © Kenneth Chu
To find out more about Kenneth's work, visit kenchu.co.uk.
You can find full details about the course on our dedicated Launch Pad page.