“I was so ready to move forward, to be challenged and developed. I decided to look for an organisation who would recognise my capabilites and potential.”
From For-Profit to Not-For-Profit
What was your role in your old job?
It was an administrative position supporting a team of Graduate Recruiters. I was desk bound and much of my workload was given to me day to day by my managers. The rest of the team would go out to universities around the country to recruit graduates and then I would facilitate the process of screening, assessing and hiring each candidate. I also assisted in planning the Summer Intern Programme.
What is/are your new role(s)?
Now I have so much more autonomy in my role. I manage my own budget and am in charge of recruitment from 4 leading UK universities. I design my own marketing strategies and even interview candidates for our graduate programme. I'm accountable and have the responsibility to make decisions whilst still being trained and guided by my managers whom I get along very well with.
Why did you change?
I was bored and underchallenged in my old role. I felt over qualified to be doing such an administrative job as I already had a good degree plus lots of admin experience under my belt from temp jobs during my gap year and university holidays. I was so ready to move forward and be challenged and developed but it was made clear to me that I would have to stay as an administrator for at least 1.5 years before I would even be considered for promotion. I was simply not willing to wait to be offered this opportunity so I decided to look elsewhere for an organisation who would recognise my capabilites and potential.
Are you happy with the change?
Thrilled! I have been given a great opportunity to take on responsibility for interesting projects and work with people who believe in me. Working in the Not-for-Profit sector is rewarding, especially in such a successful organisation that is growing rapidly.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
I don't miss being made to feel guilty for wishing to have a work-life balance. Also I don't miss feeling undermined at work.
How did you go about making the change?
I knew after about 4 months in my previous role that I was not happy there and so I started registering with quality recruitment agencies and talking to everyone I knew about their jobs to see what else was out there that would interest me. I considered going into Social Research for a while but eventually the opportunity to move up in the field I was already in presented itself to me and I knew it was the right choice for my next career move.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
Lots of people told me it was a mistake to leave your first job after university after only 7 months and I worried that I would be considered a risk to my next employer and therefore miss out on opportunities to others with more experience and a track record of longer term commitment to their past roles. However, I realised that nothing could be worse that feeling negative at work every day and I instinctively knew I would be able to get a great job despite leaving my first role so early.
What help did you get?
I relied heavily on my parents for support and advice. My mother has been a Recruitment Consultant and Headhunter for many years so her help was invaluable. I also took the risk of resigning from my last role before I had secured another position elsewhere which turned out to be the best decision as it gave me time to research and consider all of the options open to me in a calm way. Job hunting became a full time job for me and I really look back on those 2 months between jobs as time well spent taking a good look at what I wanted and what was best for me.
What have you learnt in the process?
I have learnt never to settle for something that feels wrong - don't be afraid to take calculated risks. Also - I had the option of staying in the Financial Services sector which would have given me an impressive increase in salary but I chose to take a job with a more modest salary increse knowing it was the most fulfilling and exciting option on offer. So I would adivse anyone think carefully about what kind of salary they really could be happy on rather than automatically taking roles that pay better but could mean you compromise on happiness and work-life balance.
What do you wish you'd done differently?
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
The best decision I made was to resign from my old job and devote all my attention to soul searching and job hunting. This means you make decisions about your next career move with clarity and without the desperate pressure of simply wanting to escape from a job that makes you unhappy.
What lessons could you take from Celia's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.