“When I realised that I was no longer springing out of bed in the morning, eager to start the day, I knew that I had to do something about it.”
What work were you doing previously?
I was Marketing and Events Manager for a global business with offices in 15 countries.
I was responsible for marketing the services of one division in the UK. My role was extremely varied over the ten years I worked there, encompassing all types of marketing, events and communication activities; it was a job that I'd loved.
What are you doing now?
I'm now self-employed with my own business called Girl Friday.
I offer a wide range of services, including event management, administration, household services, gift services – basically taking care of projects and chores that my clients don't have the time (or the inclination) to do themselves. In a nutshell, I'm an extra pair of hands to call upon when your to-do list gets too big.
Why did you change?
The business started to change, as did my role.
When I realised that I was no longer springing out of bed in the morning, eager to start the day, I knew that I had to do something about it.
After doing the usual things like trawling job ads and getting nowhere, it dawned on me that the reason I wasn't finding my perfect job was that I wasn't actually sure about what job I wanted to find.
I'd had a varied career over the years but I couldn't put my finger on what job I wanted to pursue next. I had thought about starting completely afresh, but the fear of having to start from the bottom in a new field soon got rid of that thought!
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
After reading a book that was recommended by Careershifters: Screw Work, Let's Play, by John Williams.
The idea that you can make a career out of doing the things that you enjoy doing may seem a little 'dreamy' at first, but by the time I'd finished the book, I was starting to believe that it might just be possible. All I had to do was work out what it was that I really enjoyed!
Luckily, I didn't want to make a career out of eating cake, being the next invisible woman or staying in bed all day. As it happens, I'd enjoyed most of the things I'd gained experience in over the years and I wanted to use them all to give me variety though the working week.
I also get a lot of satisfaction from helping other people; what could be better than utilising the skills and experience I already had and enjoyed using, in order to make life a little easier for others?
Are you happy with the change?
I'm very happy that I made the change.
Girl Friday is still in its early stages but I'm back to jumping out of bed in the mornings, looking forward to the day ahead.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
It may be a cliché, but I do miss the people I worked with (well, some of them!).
I enjoy working from home on my own but I also miss having someone to throw ideas around with.
I don't miss sitting in traffic on the way home and I certainly don't miss the office politics, or the unnecessary egos.
How did you go about making the shift?
I attended a Careershifters evening workshop.
I knew I would be completely out of my comfort zone. Although I didn't have a 'Eureka!' moment, I did meet lots of like-minded people who were all going through the same thing. I left the workshop knowing that I had to make the change if I wanted to get back to being happy again.
I handed my notice in later that week.
What didn't go well? What 'wrong turns' did you take?
I'd thought that I'd be able to set the business up fairly quickly, but unfortunately not all the suppliers I'd chosen were working to the same deadlines that I was! My eagerness and enthusiasm were not enough to get the ball rolling any quicker.
How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?
I'm lucky to have a fairly healthy savings pot and a very supportive partner.
However, my love of new shoes has been kicked into touch.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
Making the decision to change, and resigning from a role that I'd once loved.
What help did you get?
My partner has been my rock; he's supported me to make the change and get back to being happy.
My family and friends have also been extremely supportive. I've had some amazing help from a few people that I shared my idea with from the start.
What have you learnt in the process?
Large businesses have big budgets, but lots of red tape; small businesses have to watch every penny but have the ability to make swift decisions. Both want good service but don't always get it.
This makes me more determined than ever to ensure that I give every client the highest level of service at all times.
What do you wish you'd done differently?
I wish I'd worked with suppliers that had been recommended by someone I know.
What resources would you recommend to others?
Talk to other people, share experiences, don't limit your options – anything is possible.
Reading about other people who have successfully made a change is a great motivator!
Steff attended one of our 'How to find the work you love' evening workshops in London. To find out more, visit www.careershifters.org/london-workshop.
To find out more about Steff's services, visit www.girlfridayharrow.co.uk
What lessons could you take from Steff's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.