“How Do I Change Career When Life Keeps Getting In The Way?”

Marc has great ideas and great reasons for wanting a new line of work, but he can't seem to make any steady progress. When life is busy and there's always something that needs his attention, how can he keep focused on his career change?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a visual merchandiser for a well-known retailer.

I studied Fine Art at university, but got more and more interested in my boyfriend's subject, psychology, while I was there.

Visual merchandising seemed like a fun way to merge the two after I graduated, so I've worked my way up from window dressing to my current job over the past four years.

How do you feel about your work?

I'm lonely, and I feel a bit dirty.

I still enjoy the creative aspect of my job; I really do have fun designing layouts and displays to catch the eye and surprise people.

But I spend a lot of time on my own, travelling around the country and working at night after stores close, and I'm too much of a sociable person to thrive on that for very long.

Plus, I feel a bit sad that the point of my job is essentially to trick and cajole people into spending their money. Of course I've always known that was the idea, but nowadays it's feeling less like a fun challenge and more like a dirty secret.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I haven't quite got the details of it down yet, but I'd like to start a business where I create visual journeys for people's special events – weddings, surprise parties, graduations…

A big part of my job now is taking people on a 'journey' through the store, piquing their interest in different things at different points, and I'd love to do that in a more positive and upbeat way. I don't even really know if that kind of thing exists, but essentially I want to do what I do now, just with the intention of creating positive emotions rather than money.

What's the main obstacle in your way?

From the outside, my career change looks like something from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

I keep making a little bit of progress and then scurrying backwards, and then taking a giant step forward, and then falling over… I just can't sustain any progress!

I'll try to save money, and then I'll dip into it because my mother's sick and I need to get her seen privately to avoid NHS waiting lists.

I'll sit up late one night researching how to start a business, and then the books will sit piled up on the kitchen table for the next month.

I'll contact someone to arrange a chat, and then life will take over and I'll forget to follow up.

I just can't seem to ride a wave of inspiration far enough to get somewhere, which seems so strange because I have every reason to make a change.

Can you help Marc?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?>
  • What can he do to build some meaningful momentum?
  • Do you know anyone he could talk to?

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