My work journey all started with some basic career advice from my father – ‘You are good with people’. After graduating from Leeds University with my 2:1 in hand I researched what companies and industries might suit my skills and personality attributes best.
I believe at these early stages that this is a time to learn, experiment and gain foundation skills and experience, ideally in an area you will enjoy. Environment, training and the people you work with are also very important. Every one of my jobs has given me experience, skills, opportunities and fantastic contacts and friends and it is only looking back that I can now see they were all stepping stones to where I am today.
So, my journey to flexibility, here it is…
I temped throughout my holidays in a variety of London companies which gave me excellent exposure and experience. After graduating, my first position was on a graduate training scheme for a large recruitment company. I worked there for a year before moving to my favourite corporate job which was working for Victoria Wall Associates. A boutique consultancy in South Kensington where I provided Career Coaching advice, HR consulting and assisted on the permanent recruitment team. I remained there for the next 12 years.
After my first maternity leave, I went back part time before branching out and working independently. I completed a Coaching qualification and set up on my own. For the next nine years, I provided Career Coaching advice to individuals at all levels. It was at this time that I wrote my book – What to do next?
Two years ago, wanting to help a wider audience I set up Transition Peak in Partnership with one of the school Mums, an amazing person called Linda. Her background is very different to mine (an MBA graduate who worked in senior positions at Citi bank and Expedia). Our skills and experience work well together. We have spent the past two years building something I am incredibly proud of www.transitionpeak.com – an online Career transition portal to help corporates look after those that they need to make redundant and to assist individuals with Career Transition. Concentrating on the most important assistance needed at this time.
My advice and tips that have helped me, if anyone is looking to follow a similar path are as follows:
Speak to people who have done it before you.
Learn as much as you can about yourself and what you are suited to – your values, strengths, motivators, analyse your career to date – see www.transitionpeak.com Self Analysis module £20. A practical exercise book can assist you with this. I love what I do; I know I am very fortunate to do so, but you could too by following these self-analysis steps – find your path it will make all the difference.
Research – You can never do enough research.
Skills and learning – Are there any loop holes in your offering? Can you do a course? For me it was a coaching course, but everyone is different – (tip; make sure it is a recommended one).
Use your network – once you know what area/areas you are interested in talk to people. Most people are very happy to have a conversation about an area they are in and passionate about so ask. Can you join any supportive work groups of people doing a similar thing to you? Online or ones where you meet and listen to talks. Tell people what you are looking for and be specific and clear – when they hear of opportunities in that area, they will then think of you.
Have confidence. This gains with experience but we all know so much more than we think we do, quieten that inner negative voice.
Read, absorb and soak up information in your field.
Work hard but also have boundaries.
Be open to opportunities.
Have a mentor or assistance if you need an extra hand or need to overcome any roadblocks or negative thinking.
Charlotte Billington & Linda Ghusayni are co-founders of Transition Peak, an online career coaching and training portal who help companies and individuals move forward faster and more effectively following redundancy or career change situations. www.transitionpeak.com Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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