Disillusioned with his work, Jason feels he's stumbled on the perfect career change. He's worked hard on re-training, and he's having lots of interesting conversations. But there's just one problem: people aren't buying. When your skills are unproven, how do you convince others to give you a chance?
What's your career history and current job?
I'm a part-time English teacher, working with students online.
Before that, I was a sign language interpreter in education and community, and a Maths and English tutor.
How do you feel about your work?
I enjoy learning and sharing knowledge, so I always thought teaching would be a natural career path for me.
But my work as a Maths tutor demonstrated that I'm much more suited to one-to-one tuition than teaching people in a large group.
When you work closely with one person, you get to go on a journey with them. It's so great when you see the 'light-bulb' moment that happens when everything you've been working on falls into place.
By contrast, teaching groups means you're never really sure if the light bulbs are switched on, or not! You don't always get to see the personal impact your teaching has made. I'm also bound by a formal curriculum when I teach, which I don't always agree with.
I was so unhappy teaching in schools that I ended up suffering from a panic attack. That forced me to take some time out. I fell into work doing sign language interpretation for a young deaf girl, and from there I found professional jobs interpreting for deaf people in the education system and my local community.
I've worked with some great people, helping them understand things like medical appointments and job interviews, and assisting deaf children with their school work.
Unfortunately, the interpreting work has started to dry up, so I started teaching online. But that isn't what I want to do.
What would you like to be doing instead?
I’d love to work as a one-to-one health coach.
My family and I started a gluten-free diet for health reasons. The positive results we experienced led me to research different food allergies and sensitivities.
I became so fascinated by the subject that I'm currently studying for a degree in health and wellness. Now I'm armed with specialist knowledge that I'd love to put to good use as a coach, helping people to make healthy food choices that fit within medically restricted diets.
I've got lots of ideas about all the different ways my new career could work, such as accompanying clients on shopping trips, helping them to interpret food labels, and finding diet-friendly ingredient substitutions.
I've also thought about things like visiting clients in their own kitchens, helping them to cook healthy meals at home, and maybe even developing my own YouTube channel.
What's the biggest obstacle in your way?
I've got proven coaching skills and a wealth of knowledge about food and health, so I thought the transition into health coaching would be simple.
But even though I meet lots of people who are interested in my new career, I'm having trouble finding people who want to work with me.
I've taken allergy-friendly, home-made snacks along to my local community events, which have always gone down very well, even amongst those without allergies! I've also taken web design classes, and built my own nutrition website. While I've had some very positive feedback about that, I haven't received any enquiries from it.
I speak to people all the time who tell me about their diets or their food allergies, and that they would love some specialist help. While they seem impressed with my in-the-moment advice, somehow these conversations never turn into business.
Even though I've worked hard on my own research, built a website, and have a wealth of skills and knowledge to offer, I'm left with the feeling that I'm not being taken seriously enough as a health coach.
I know this could be because I haven't worked successfully with any clients yet, so my skills are unproven. But that's the classic 'chicken and egg' situation: how can I prove my skills, when nobody is giving me a chance to use them?
I keep wondering what I'm missing, when on paper at least, it seems like I'm doing everything right.
How can I convince people to give me a chance, and make my new career plan a success?
- Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
- How do you think Jason could move his shift forwards?
- Do you know anyone he could talk to?
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