“I decided to look for a career which combined my two passions.”
What work were you doing previously?
I worked in the legal sector, primarily practising criminal defence.
What are you doing now?
I'm now Learning and Development Manager for the National Accident Helpline, a leading marketing and services provider in consumer legal markets, working in partnership with law firms across the UK.
Why did you change?
I enjoyed working in the legal sector and having the opportunity to apply my legal knowledge to help others.
However, working in criminal defence was extremely difficult for me mentally and emotionally, as I heard and saw a lot of horrific stories. Work was starting to take its toll on me – I'm a blue-sky thinker and this was becoming tarnished.
Prior to qualifying, and whilst studying, I worked for a large bank in a contact centre environment, so I had experience of managing people and helping others develop. I enjoyed this aspect and so decided to look for a career which combined my two passions – working with people and the law.
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
The last legal company I worked for was in the process of restructuring, meaning redundancies were being made.
I decided to take redundancy and use it as a springboard into my new career.
Are you happy with the change?
Extremely. It's the best career move I've ever made.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
I miss the satisfaction of helping and supporting those who are going through a difficult time in their lives.
However, I still retain part of this in my new role, because my aim is to develop others, both personally (as a mentor) and professionally (through training and coaching).
I don't miss the ad hoc nature of the role, not knowing what's going to happen from day to day, or the horrible stories I used to hear.
How did you go about making the shift?
It was actually quite straightforward.
I'd had exposure to Learning and Development in a previous role, and from experiences with people who had developed me. Also, my husband works in the field. Redundancy gave me the push I needed. I simply applied for roles which combined my passions.
How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?
I was actually financially better off by making the change.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
Having confidence when entering into a new sector.
What help did you get?
I spoke with others in the Learning and Development sector and still do. I now have a strong network of people I liaise with. We bounce ideas off one another.
What have you learnt in the process?
I've learnt that a job shouldn't be about money or your title, it should be about job satisfaction – feeling passionate about what you do and enjoying going into work every day.
What do you wish you'd done differently?
I wish I'd done it sooner.
I also wish I'd looked into supporting qualifications.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Talk to others!
What resources would you recommend to others?
I'd recommend speaking to other people in similar roles, as I did. I'd also recommend attending conferences and events in the sector – there are lots of free ones around.
Rebecca's story was sourced via www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk.
What lessons could you take from Rebecca's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.