“I've Got Options. Now What?”

Alice is a hard worker who's never had trouble making things happen. But when it comes to the next stage of her shift, she's feeling stuck. When you're faced with several paths, each with their own risks, how do you decide where to go?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm an environmental consultant.

I went to a good university and then got a job in London. I was well respected, moving up through the ranks very rapidly. I moved to Canada to boost my career even more.

Things there went amazingly well over five years. I started to manage a team and was involved with decision making for the group; it was all really exciting. Then, after the birth of my son, my priorities changed.

After returning from maternity leave and working incredibly hard to juggle work and home life, my husband and I decided it was a good point in our lives to draw a line under our time in Canada and move back to the UK.

I've now found part-time work. I love having more time with my son, but I'm not someone who can be happy solely as a stay-at-home mum. I need mental stimulation too!

How do you feel about your work?

I used to be in management, making decisions, working with large teams, and being a go-to person in the office.

I'm now starting from scratch in a new company, doing work that's pretty repetitive in a very small team. It's fairly flexible, but it's a long way away, so I'm doing a long commute.

I've always been a high achiever. I need something more.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I keep swinging between options.

I know I want flexibility and autonomy over the hours that I work. And I've been proud to say that I'm an environmental consultant, so I'd like to be trying to improve the world in my own way…

I've thought about becoming a copywriter. I'm good at writing – but down the road I wonder if I'll feel like I'm selling my soul a bit, taking jobs for the money without an interest in the subject matter.

I've set up a blog about non-toxic products in the household, and I've thought about setting up a business selling these. I did chemistry at university, so maybe I could find myself a niche in creating an information website and then showcasing some products that I think are great.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I'm not short of possibilities, but I'm just not sure how to go about the next step.

Let's say I go for the option to set up a business. That's never going to be easy to begin with, trying to get clients and build up my reputation.

And would setting up as a solopreneur be lonely? I feel like I'm great at managing other people and I really enjoy it, so I'm not completely convinced that running a business or freelancing would hit the right buttons for me.

Maybe I should just hang tight in my career until I have more time to put into my role in the future?

I think I need a little bit more structure to my decision-making, but I'm not sure how to get it.

How do I turn all these possibilities into a focused plan of action?

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

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