“I Don’t Feel Like An Expert In Anything. How Do I Find My New Direction?”

Seren's itching to move into something new, but feels she doesn't have any specialist know-how outside her current experience. How do you get started on the journey when you don't know what you're aiming for?

What's your career history and current job?

I currently work two days a week as a freelance marketing and business consultant with a data analytics start-up I've helped to launch.

Prior to that, I worked for ten years in media and market research, which was followed by ten years in recruitment.

Since leaving recruitment two years ago, and before going freelance, I've held two shorter-term and part-time contracts back in market research.

How do you feel about your work?

I like the responsibility and efficiency with which I get to implement decisions for the start-up.

I also enjoy the independence and the flexibility of working for myself as that's always been one of my key goals.

The trouble is that I don't feel I'm learning anything anymore.

And I need some added job security for the other three days of my week.

My fear is that freelancing has caused me to stagnate in my professional progression.

I worry I've harmed my career by freelancing, but at the same time, I don't want to go back into a full-time role working for someone else.

What would you like to be doing instead?

The idea of a portfolio career appeals to me because I want to maintain the freedom and flexibility that comes with being a freelancer.

But I also need to earn some more money because two days a week is not enough.

My background is in marketing and advertising, and recruitment and HR. I'd like the opportunity to do something different and develop some new skills, rather than go back in to the same areas as before.

I am open minded. I'd be happy to retrain but I don't know what to retrain as.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I don't feel like much of an expert in any area that I feel I could turn into another career.

I've had several career paths in different areas, from project management to writing to recruitment through to media research. I feel like a Jill-of-all-trades.

And because I don't know exactly what I want to do and I don't know where to look, I've ended up feeling paralysed by uncertainty.

I go through phases of being really practical, trawling through the net, applying for office-based roles that I know I don't really want but it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

Then I end up feeling demotivated and disinclined to do anything further, which leaves me feeling panic-stricken – I know I need to do something but I don't know what.

I've lost my confidence. Even though I've worked in recruitment, I can't figure out the practicalities of finding a three-day role that would offer some learning opportunities and fulfil me.

I've started to talk to friends and associates to let them know I'm on the lookout for some other work or projects, but nothing long-term has come of these conversations as yet.

How do I find my new direction?

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

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