“I Don't Believe I Can Have The Career I Want”

Cheryl harbours dreams of doing what she loves, but she can't escape the voices in her head telling her she can't do it. How do you overcome self-doubt and forge ahead with a career change?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a Project Manager for a charity helping to make subjects like physics and engineering more accessible and appealing to children – girls in particular.

How do you feel about your work?

I've always believed in the cause and I enjoy some aspects of what I do.

For example, I'm always proud to tell people that I'm playing a part in making a male-dominated field more of an equal playing field.

But in recent years I've become bored. Bored of talking about the same things with the same people, bored of going to the same places every day, bored of the sound of my own voice saying the same information. I know I'm capable of more than this, and that this routine isn't right for my character.

Something's just not feeling right, and it's got to the point where I can't ignore that feeling any more.

What would you like to be doing instead?

Ever since I was young I've been a keen seamstress, always making my own clothes and bags and bits and bobs.

In a perfect world I'd love to work for one of the big fashion houses, but I know there's no chance of that happening at my age and with my background, so for the past year I've been thinking about starting a business to sell my work. It would be fantastic to do what I love every day, and to have the freedom of working when I want, from my own home, on my own terms.

What's the biggest obstacle you're facing?

I just don't think I can do it!

I've been reading the Success Stories on the Careershifters website, and books about starting your own business, and I'm just not convinced I've got what it takes to make such a major change. I daydream about it all the time, but when it comes to the practicalities of actually making it happen, I get scared.

My head fills with ways it could go horribly wrong, and reasons why I'm not cut out for a change like this, and I end up feeling really bad about myself. All the career changers I read about are such amazing people, and I'm just me! I'm nothing special, I'm not a motivated superwoman, I don't have a lot of money behind me to keep me safe if it goes wrong, and I'd be so ashamed to go crawling back into work after making a hash of everything.

I can't escape the 'what if's, and I wonder if I'm just kidding myself to even be thinking about doing something like this.

Can you help Cheryl?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What can she do to build up some self-belief, and move forward with changing career?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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