“How Do I Turn A Long-Held Career Dream Into Reality?”

Nadine’s worked hard to achieve success in her career. Now she wants to channel her skills and experience in the direction of a long-held dream, but she’s finding it hard to make a positive start. How do you make a successful shift when opportunities are scarce, and it seems nobody can offer you the right advice?

What’s your career history and current job?

I did a Masters in International Management, then fell into an assistant’s role at a construction consultancy.

I worked my way up through the company over the next ten years, progressing to Associate Director level.

I’ve been in this role for three years, assessing and advising on major real-estate projects around the world.

How do you feel about your work?

I enjoy learning about how different buildings are constructed, and I love working overseas as part of an international team. It’s also good to see a clearly defined end result for the work I do.

I felt that working in the global construction industry would be a good opportunity to travel and communicate with people from different backgrounds, whilst building a strong career with transferable skills.

But although there are lots of aspects I enjoy, I’ve never felt completely fulfilled by my career, and I find some elements of it frustrating. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, so it’s annoying when clients don’t value my professional input, and I hate constantly having to chase up fee payments.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I’ve always wanted my work to have a meaningful social and economic impact.

I love people and culture, and I speak four languages.

I started my career with a dream that I would eventually relocate to Africa, channelling my skills and experience into a rewarding international development role.

So, now I want to create a focused shift that turns my dream into reality.

What’s the biggest obstacle in your way?

I don’t know how to make my dream shift happen.

Initially, I thought the process of moving to Africa and starting a new career would be easy. While I haven’t got direct experience in international development, I’ve successfully lived and worked overseas, and I’ve got lots of transferable skills. Not to mention years of experience working closely with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

I’ve also worked hard on my CV, meticulously tailoring it to every job that interests me. However, I’m either rejected, or I don’t hear anything back from the roles I apply for.

I’ve seen some relevant volunteering opportunities that would allow me to move to Africa, but I can’t afford to consider unpaid work at this stage in my life and career.

I’d also love to speak to and learn from someone who has either achieved the new life and career I want, or knows the right steps I can take to make it a success. I’ve joined professional groups, attended regular networking events, and connected with specialist recruiters, but I still haven’t been able to find anybody who's able to answer my questions.

All of this has made me wonder if my dream is achievable, and that I may have left it too late to make the changes I want.

How can I set myself on a successful path towards the career I’ve always wanted?

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

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