“I'm Overwhelmed By The Prospect Of A Big Change. How Do I Get Unstuck?”

Louise is considering a major career change: one that will impact almost every aspect of her life. She's inspired by her new career idea, but she's also paralysed by the size of her shift. How do you find the courage to make a life-changing leap?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a recruitment manager in the oil and gas industry.

I've had a fairly varied career, including employment and self-employed consultancy, but always within oil and gas.

A few years ago, when my first child was born, I took a step back from consultancy and moved into recruitment.

How do you feel about your work?

It's fine.

The people I work with are driven and friendly, and I respect the senior leadership team I work for.

I know the industry well, and I appreciate the balance of time I have to spend with my husband and son.

But the industry is changing rapidly, and that sensation of change is infectious. Over the past year I've been thinking about the later years of my life, and I feel it's time to do something that feels more meaningful.

I've earned good money, I've done the high-flying, fast-paced thing. Now, I'm feeling a pull to do something good.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I think I want to become a midwife.

After my son was born I started to develop an interest in the idea, and it's been at the back of my mind ever since.

It sounds crazy, even to me, but I just can't shake the thought that if I could make any kind of meaningful contribution, I'd want it to be that.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I'm paralysed by the idea of such a big change.

Yes, you eat an elephant one bite at a time, but this doesn't feel like something I can do bit by bit.

My whole life is arranged around my work: my friends, the city I live in, even my relationship. I've worked in this industry for almost my entire career – it's who I am. I don't think you can ease your way out of such a deeply embedded identity.

Midwifery is full of pressure, long hours, antisocial shifts, and I'm going to have to take on years of retraining and a serious pay cut right from the start. If I go for it, my life is likely to become unrecognisable. It's going to have a big impact on my son, and on my husband.

And while that's probably inevitable if I make any career change, this feels very extreme.

How do you decide to make a shift, when it means changing everything?

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

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