“My job felt unfulfilling and pointless.”
From Finance to Social Media
What work were you doing previously?
I was an account manager in the financial services industry.
What are you doing now?
I'm a social media executive.
How did you feel in your work before you decided to make the change?
I loved the people I worked with – they'd quickly become like a second family – but my job felt unfulfilling and pointless.
I had so many creative ideas that I wanted to share but there was no room for them. It was so frustrating!
Why did you change?
I'd studied journalism and photography at university, and yet somehow ended up in a customer service role in finance – probably the furthest career choice from my mind.
I hadn't a clue about the world of finance but thought that my customer service skills would keep me happy. I just took anything to pay the bills. The idea of career satisfaction wasn't something I focused on.
I seemed to blink and three years had passed. There was no room for promotion or career progression; even if there was I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it.
I'd once dreamed of working for a magazine. Every day that went past took me further and further from that dream.
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
I had an appraisal at work and was told that there would be no promotions for a few years.
They made the decision for me.
How did you choose your new career?
I knew I had to be doing something creative.
It's the one thing I've always felt passionately about. I was great at writing, media, design and communications. I did a lot of research and thought marketing would be a good direction to go in.
Are you happy with the change?
I was terrified that I'd be taking ten steps backwards – I felt I was too old to make the change. But now I've got my foot in the door of a career I want to be in, a job I enjoy doing, and a company I like to work for (and feel valued by).
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
I miss my old work mates but we still stay in touch. I've also made some new friends at my new job.
I don't miss feeling undervalued and underappreciated. I finally feel like I'm bringing something to the table and making an impact.
How did you go about making the shift?
I looked for other jobs in finance on and off for a good few months and found that they all seemed to be exactly the same.
I was worried that the grass wouldn't be any greener and that I was just going to get stuck in a similar situation.
It was only when I came across Careershifters that I even considered the possibility of a more significant change. I started to read other success stories and made up my mind there and then that if I moved, it would be into a different career. No more finance!
I started studying marketing in my spare time to aid my search (and hopefully add some value to my, frankly, boring CV!).
What didn't go well? What wrong turns did you take?
I was worried that changing to something creative would mean starting from scratch.
That terrified me.
I also started looking for jobs that were way out of my league and ones that I knew I didn't have the right experience for. At one point I even applied for an apprenticeship in a desperate attempt to try something new. It wasn't going well.
It was only when I made my expectations realistic that I started to see results. I went for ten interviews all in all before I got my current job.
How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?
My new role was for the same salary but with fewer holidays and perks than come with a corporate firm.
I wasn't too bothered about the perks becuase I wanted to actually enjoy what I do. I had to weigh up how much those little things meant, compared to the possibility of enjoying every day that I went into work.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
Having to admit that I was starting over and doing something completely different terrified me. I suppose for a lot of people the fear can stop them from making the change, but I knew that it wouldn't be forever. What scared me most was picturing myself in the same position in three years' time, not having achieved anything or improved in any way.
Also, the interviews. I went for ten interviews before I was offered my current job. Being told "No, you don't have enough experience", or "You just aren't the right fit" was soul destroying, but I knew that I was getting closer.
What help did you get?
I took some online courses in the programmes I knew I would be using in the new job, so that I wasn't going in blind.
My new employer was impressed that I'd taken the time.
During my job search I spoke to other people in marketing and asked all the questions I wanted to know. I even had some of them look at my CV to see how it could be improved.
What resources would you recommend to others?
I would also have a look at open days at local colleges and universities to get ideas about what you enjoy doing.
Don't be scared to include others in your job search. Ask for help and you will be surprised by what you find.
What have you learnt in the process?
I've learnt that change is not only inevitable but not to be feared.
I used to be so torn between being stuck and being scared. But I didn't let that fear keep me stuck. I went for it!
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Take a chance.
Find out what it is you want to do (even if it takes a few attempts) and do that.
Learn a new skill or brush up on your old ones. Be brave!
What lessons could you take from Natasha's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.