“I was deeply unhappy at my job.”

Image of Aromire Afolabi
From Trade Negotiator to Software Engineer

Aromire Afolabi was miserable in her role, but kept talking herself out of making a shift. Here, she shares how she worked through her fear and followed her personal interest to create a new fulfilling career. 

What work were you doing previously?

I worked as a trade negotiator for the civil service.

What are you doing now?

I am currently working as a junior full stack software engineer for a fintech company.

Why did you change?

I realised that I was deeply unhappy at my job. 

The sense of fulfillment just wasn’t present and it made me miserable.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

I had been thinking about making the transition for a long time but never took the plunge. 

I constantly talked myself out of it due to fear of the unknown. My mum then passed away and I had a lightbulb moment. 

I no longer wanted to do anything that made me miserable. I wanted to feel excited about all aspects of my life and I just took the plunge.

How did you choose your new career? 

I have always been interested in the tech field.

But coming straight out of university where the job market wasn’t the greatest, I jumped at the first offer I got in another field I was interested in. 

As time went by I kept finding myself being drawn back into software engineering.

Are you happy with the change?

I am the happiest I have been since the beginning of my professional career.

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

I do not miss being stuck in meetings all day, and going back and forth with colleagues and stakeholders over words.

How did you go about making the shift?

I began by self teaching myself the basics while in my old role but very lightly.

Then decided I needed more focus, so I took the plunge, left my old role, and enrolled at General Assembly for their software immersive course.

I found my new role via networking. A product manager that I connected with saw his old colleague was looking out for a junior developer and connected us.

How did you develop (or transfer) the skills you needed for your new role?

I developed the technical skills I needed through my course and through practice.

But the soft skills that I already possessed such as stakeholder engagement and writing documentation came in really handy for my new role.

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

I got a 0% interest educational loan and tapped into savings.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

The hardest part was the fear of the unknown. 

I wondered what I would do if I ran out of money and had not secured a new role after my training. 

However, all those fears were just fears and everything worked out perfectly.

What resources would you recommend to others?

Speak to people in the field you want to transition into and network.

What have you learnt in the process?

I learnt to believe in myself and go for the things I want. 

I had let fear hold me back for so long and I will not be making that mistake again.

What do you wish you’d done differently?

Changed earlier!

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

If your current career is not fulfilling or not what you expected, think about what you want.

Map out the paths required to get there, work out what is financially feasible for you and go for it! 

Life is too short to be miserable.


Thanks to our friends at General Assembly for this story. To find out more about their work, visit www.generalassemb.ly, or learn more about them in our Retraining Directory.

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.