“All Or Nothing: How Do I Reduce The Risk Of A Shaky-Feeling Shift?”

Andrea wants to make a change: to a notoriously badly paid, unreliable new career. If she gets it right, it could be a successful, inspiring shift. But if she gets it wrong, she risks losing a lot (and looking like a fool). Could there be a middle way?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a Senior Publishing Executive for a well-known children's publishing house.

How do you feel about your work?

I feel very lucky to have had the career I've had.

I know how perfect my career path has been for anyone interested in this industry – it's like I've lived the dream. But the shine wore off about five years ago, and I just haven't been able to get it back.

My team are wonderful people, and I do love so much of my work, but the children's publishing industry isn't the romantic, idealistic world I want it to be. There's politics and there's backbiting, just like any other competitive industry, and it's not the place I want to spend the rest of my career.

I've also been in this industry for a long time now (I'm 44, and I've worked in books in some way since I was 26), and when I'm an old woman, I would like to look back on something more varied and interesting than just one career!

What would you like to be doing instead?

I'm drawn toward what my husband calls "soft, wet jobs" (very flattering, I know!). I'm interested in nutrition, and Reiki, and holistic well-being, that kind of thing.

I can't say I'm 100% certain that I'll be blissfully happy doing that kind of work, but it's the one area I can really see myself fitting in. My friends agree: when I ask them what I should be doing, they all say something to do with the healing arts.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

These industries are notoriously poorly paid, unstable, and generally would involve me working for myself.

I don't work well alone, and I need to make at least two thirds of what I currently earn to maintain the quality of life my family is used to.

To make it work, the only thing I can think of doing is going into business with someone else and being very, very successful at doing whatever it is we do!

So I have one vague idea, and very little hope it'll work out. It's laughable, isn't it?

But it really does feel important to me.

If I can't find a way to make these interests of mine pay enough, I'll most probably stay where I am, and the thought of that makes me very sad.

But to find out if it's possible, I'm probably going to have to take a chance on it, and the thought of that makes me very nervous!

I don't want to make a leap into a badly paid industry and risk looking like a fool, especially if I'm taking someone else down with me.

But I certainly don't want to spend the rest of my career wondering "What if?"

Surely there's a middle way? Does it have to be all or nothing?

Can you help Andrea?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How could Andrea move forward with her shift?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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