“I felt very boxed in.”

Image of Amanda Dahlman
From Sales and Recruitment to Talent Management

Amanda Dahlman was ready for a change, but didn't know what her next move could be. Through finding support and community to help with her shift, she now works in a way that's better aligned with her values. This is her story.

What work were you doing previously?    

I worked in sales and recruiting through a direct sales company. 

What are you doing now?    

I work in strategic talent management at a university. 

My role focuses on identifying professional development opportunities for staff, onboarding new team members and strengthening the culture. 

Why did you change?    

Through the pandemic I started sensing a desire to do something else for my career, but I wasn’t sure what that thing was. 

I felt very boxed in. I remember sitting in a coffee shop and googling 'what to do when you don't know what to do for a living'. That’s when I found Careershifters. 

I signed up for a workshop, and then subsequently signed up for the Career Change Launch Pad.

How did you choose your new career?    

Participating in the Launch Pad clarified what mattered to me in a career. 

I attended the weekly group calls, engaged in the online community, and completed the homework. Each helped me get a bit clearer of what I wanted and what I didn’t want in a career. 

One of the exercises helped identify “themes” that mattered for me in a career. One of those themes was ‘facilitating meaningful connection through individuals and teams’. 

That gave me a clue I wanted to do something strategic with people through facilitation at a mission-driven organisation. 

Even though it wasn’t a traditional job description, it provided guidance for me as I looked at job postings.

Are you happy with the change?    


What I do in my day to day aligns better with what I like doing and what matters to me. 

I also have a new mindset around work. I see it now as part of my life versus being my whole life. 

What do you miss and what don't you miss?    

I miss the people. 

I was very fortunate and had world-class leaders who mentored me. 

How did you go about making the shift?    

I found my current role through a LinkedIn post a former colleague of mine had shared.

When I finished the Launch Pad, I knew it was important to keep my momentum up. I created a daily list to do. One of those tasks was looking at LinkedIn to see if there were any opportunities in line with my values. 

So a few weeks after the Launch Pad, I saw the post for the job I have now. The closing date was the next day.

Because of all the pre-work I'd done during the Launch Pad, my CV/resume was up to date. 

Without the work I’d done through the Launch Pad I don’t think I would have seen this job or been prepared to apply.

How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?    

I had enough savings to step away from my previous job while participating in the Launch Pad for a period of time without creating stress. 

Then I gave myself a deadline that regardless of where I was in my career shift, if by a certain date I hadn’t landed my ‘shift’ job, I would go ahead, apply and accept whatever job to cover my finances (i.e. contract work, part-time job, etc) while continuing my larger career change journey. 

What was the most difficult thing about changing?    

There is something unnerving about starting in a new organisation, doing an unfamiliar job with people you don’t know, that makes you feel like the new kid on the block. 

But, at the same time, it was really fun because it gave me a chance to meet new people and learn new skills.

What help did you get?    

I was active in the Launch Pad community both during and after the course. 

Post-course there was a small group of us that would check in with one another on a monthly basis. 

Additionally, my family and friends were extremely supportive. 

What have you learnt in the process?    

I learned so much during this process. 

If I had to narrow it down to three things it would be 1) do challenging things in community, 2) take imperfect action and 3) keep it light. 

First, it’s a lot easier to do challenging things in a supportive community going through a similar experience. 

Second, imperfect action is always better than perfect inaction. 

Lastly, even though making a career shift can feel ‘heavy’ at certain points, it’s important to keep it light. Heavy things are harder to move. 

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?    

If you have a sense it’s time for a career shift, trust yourself and go for it. 

Remember there will never be a perfect time. 

It’s ok to be afraid during the process. It’s better to do it scared than not at all. 

Focus on what you can do, and let go of what you can’t do. 

And most importantly, celebrate your progress.

Amanda took part in our Career Change Launch Pad. If you're ready to join a group of bright, motivated career changers on a structured programme to help you find more fulfilling work, you can find out more here.

What lessons could you take from Amanda's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected]. and you could win a £25 / $35 voucher in our monthly draw.