Sara thought she'd found her ideal career, but the glow faded fast; she's bored, frustrated, and fed up. Now, she's swinging from idea to idea, trying to make sure her next choice is the right one. How can you be sure of something before you make the leap?
What's your career history and current role?
I started out in a blue-chip, management-consultancy firm, and then went in the opposite direction, becoming a fundraiser for 12 years.
I ran my own fundraising consultancy for eight years, but, last year, I decided I'd had enough of fundraising and moved into recruitment for the charity sector.
How do you feel about your work?
I love the fact it's not fundraising!
I like getting out and about and meeting people – both clients and candidates.
I'm very lucky because I can work from home, or anywhere I can take my laptop, and this fits really well around my family.
The company is friendly and the people are just brilliant. There's a lot of trust and autonomy given to staff. I'm also pretty well paid.
There are loads of positives, so I'm not sure if I'm just being picky.
However, I do miss being my own boss. I miss the freedom of dictating my own hours and being able to go to the gym or to the shops at any point in the day if I feel like it – I don't like the feeling that I’m chained to a desk from 9–3 every day. And it's been difficult arranging childcare this summer, which I didn't have to think about when I was my own boss.
Also, I haven't really had any training, so I often feel like I'm floundering or underperforming. We joke about my non-existent induction (the day I started, my boss went on holiday and I had to wing my way through a meeting with a client!). I can ask the team anything and they're really helpful, but I don't want to be constantly bothering them.
The market has become difficult and I'm worried about my job security, as the company itself is struggling. And there's not enough variety in recruitment for me. Frankly, I'm bored.
It feels like such a shame. When I first started this job a year ago, I thought "Finally, finally. After 20+ years of work, I've finally found it!" But having been there a year now – actually, it's not brilliant. I'm not happy getting up and doing my job anymore.
What would you like to be doing instead?
This is the big question!
There are lots of things I'm interested in (health, nutrition, fitness, HR, reading, animals) and I've done the odd free course here and there to get a taster.
I like the idea of running my own business, perhaps selling something tangible rather than a service, and I've bought some books on coaching recently, as that seems to tick a lot of my boxes.
What's the biggest obstacle in your way?
I'm worried that I'm a 'grass is greener' type of person, that if I were to pursue a career in one area I'd quickly get bored.
My husband's always saying to me that I seem to chop and change my ideas every five minutes. He tells me: "Whatever you choose, choose something, and stick to it – stop changing your mind all the time".
Whatever it is, I want to find the thing that I'm going to be able to enjoy for a number of years. And it's really hard to be sure of that before I've even tried it.
When I went into recruitment last year, I was trying to weigh up between retraining as a lawyer and this, so I went and did some work experience in law firms, and I talked to a number of recruitment firms. That's how I made my decision. But you can't always do that. It's not like I could just sit in on someone's coaching sessions, and now it's even harder, because I have a desk that I have to be at every day.
When making the right choice matters, how can you be sure you're choosing the right thing?
- Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
- How do you think Sara could move her shift forwards?
- Do you know anyone she could talk to?
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