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How to Switch Careers

How to Switch Careers

This week’s blog will focus on how to make a career change, following a request by one of my followers on Facebook.  I don’t know if you’ve had this happen to you, but I personally have applied for quite a number of jobs over the past 10 – 15 years or so mainly due to short term funding in the voluntary sector where I have worked.  I have found that the jobs I have been successful in being offered are usually closely aligned with the sort of work I have been doing in the recent past, in a previous role.  The more people who apply for the job, the more they seem to focus on experience – whether their priority is with the client group or maybe a database they want you to use without having to give training.  The reason often given for not being offered a job is that someone else had more experience than me.  The problem is, how am I to gain that experience unless I am given the opportunity?  It is definitely not an easy issue to get round, especially if you have commitments to a mortgage, to paying off a loan, or to raising your family it can make changing career harder.   So if you are in a career that is not well suited to your values – you took it because it was well paid /  it offered you good job security /  it was what your father did / you fell into it by accident –  then what do you do?  Well the answer is that it depends.
I would start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many years am I prepared to work towards my chosen career?
  • Can I afford to be without an income for the duration of retraining or is there an option for part time learning?
  • How motivated am I to do this?
  • Is it the right time?
  • If I am miserable at work, are there any ways I can minimise the factors that make me miserable?
  • Am I prepared to volunteer to gain experience?
  • Are there many opportunities in the career path that I would like to enter into, or is it very competitive?
  • Am I prepared to start in an entry level role again and work my way up?
  • If I have children, how will this impact on my decisions?

There may be a few more questions depending on your own personal circumstances, and this is before you have even explored the possibilities of career options.  Add in the fact that if you ask other people for help they will no doubt all have opinions – and let’s not be too hard on them they want to help! These suggestions can be really useful, or they can drown out our values and our inner voice so that we get so confused we really don’t know what to do or where to turn.  If you are facing this dilemma, please do get in touch.  I can help you work through your confusion and make some decisions based on what your own values are, to help you be true to yourself.  Whilst the suggestions of others can be helpful at times, you only have one life – why waste it on making other people happy?
If you want to go for it and would like some help to get where you want to go, please contact us.

Seize the day!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Workplace Conflict

The Do’s and Don’ts of Workplace Conflict

Workplace conflict can be very damaging to employee health.  Not only does it lead to stressed out employees, it also damages productivity, as people avoid each other or spend a great deal of time attempting to put the situation right instead of getting on with the work they are there to complete.  However, workplace conflict is very common, so today I will look at the best way of dealing with it if it happens to you.

Do –

  • Keep calm.  Don’t let your emotions get in the way.
  • Keep a diary and record events as they happen in a factual way.  This can feel very alien as we don’t want to get other people into trouble.  However, situations can escalate and if this happens you will need evidence to back up what you are saying to your manager.
  • Seek support from a colleague, or impartial third party
  • Try to resolve the situation informally with the person you are having difficulty with
  • Challenge the behaviour not the person
  • If you can’t sort it out yourself, ask your manager to help
  • If your manager does not resolve the situation read the relevant policies and procedures and follow them to make a formal complaint
  • If you need information on your rights as an employee, ACAS have a helpline that can advise on the law and what you should do next
  • If you need emotional and practical support, contact Cygnet Careers on 07881294894 or email Kelly@cygnetnortheast.com

Don’t –

  • Place blame.  This will quickly lead to escalation of the issues
  • Shout.  Try to keep your emotions out of it
  • Gossip about the person you are in conflict with
  • Get violent – this will obviously make the situation a lot worse and you could get into trouble with the law
  • Say things that are not evidence based – if you are going to confront the person you should do so in a positive way – “when you say X I feel like Y.  Please can you do B instead?”  Use your own language though!
  • Don’t take it personally

If you are facing a challenging situation Cygnet Careers can help you to get through it, so please do get in touch for advice and support.

Returning to Work After a Gap

Returning to Work After a Gap

It can be difficult to return to employment following a gap for any reason – whether that is because you have been looking after someone (bringing up a family or supporting a family member due to ill health), because you have suffered a health problem yourself, or if you have been working in a career and decide you would like to pursue a different direction.

Without recent experience in the field that you would like to move into, or without an idea of what it is you want to do it can be difficult to know where to start.  There are many options open to you, and your path will be determined by a number of factors.  These include your current financial situation, how long you want to work towards your chosen field (are you prepared to retrain or volunteer for a few years?), what your current skills are and what your values are.  Its also wise to think about the opportunities that are available to you.  Is it realistic to want to be the next Prime Minister?  Well someone has to be but it’s important to know what might be involved in this and whether you think it is worth the effort.

Having a fixed idea of what you want to do can be helpful as it means you will be able to plan the steps you need to take quite easily, however there are disadvantages to this approach if you don’t have any flexibility and you are not prepared to change course if opportunities arise on the way to your chosen goal.  However on the other hand not having any idea of where you want to go and being swayed by every potential opportunity that comes your way can be a massive barrier too.  This is due to having too many opportunities and not focusing on any one thing, you are less likely to achieve any of them.

So the point of this article really is to point out that it is good to have a plan, but a plan that is flexible and one that is dynamic based on developments of the situation that invariably come up in your life.  If you don’t know where to start, or you just need a little bit of help, I can help you to get onto the right path and help you to stay focused.  Sometimes, just knowing that there is someone there asking how you are getting on with your plan can help you to stay focused and make sure you do all the things you say you are going to do!

If you need help to decide what next, or how to be successful in finding a job after taking a career break for whatever reason get in touch – Kelly@cygnetnortheast.com or phone 07881294894. Or you can use our contact form.  We can help you to explain why you haven’t been in work in a positive way.