I have had the last two years out of the workforce due to health reasons and furlough. It has made me realise that I really don’t want to return to what I was doing before and that I want to branch out into something different where I can do something I enjoy that has real impact and where I can have more control over what I am doing, but without all the risks associated with self-employment. But I don’t know where to start. Is there any support out there that I can access to talk through what my options might be. I don’t have much money. Perhaps there are particular guides or organisations that could help?
The last two years or so have caused such upheaval, a lot of people are interested in doing something that feels more purposeful and fulfilling – and why not? Many years and our best energy goes into work, so it makes sense to find something worth doing.
What you need to do is explore, and widely. A career coach might help, but there are plenty of ways of doing this for yourself.
First, do the desk research on career possibilities – www.prospects.ac.uk is aimed at graduates but has up-to-date material on most career routes. Most industries have their own websites covering entry routes and training.
However, the best way of discovering what careers are really like – and generating ideas for further exploration – is to hear stories. You can find some great video career summaries online, for example, https://icould.com or www.careerpilot.org.uk/stories. There’s a great free resource for finding retraining opportunities, at www.careershifters.org/retraining-directory .
The best way to hear stories, of course, is through conversations. Make this a key part of your exploration plan. Reach out to people who seem to be in interesting jobs – interview them about how they started, what they enjoy about the role and how their sector is changing.
If you don’t know anyone, email a couple of job title requests to 20 of your friends and ask for introductions. The people who can make a big difference to your future may be just a couple of clicks away.
*John Lees is one of the UK’s best-known career strategists and author of 15 books on work and careers. How to Get a Job You Love (now in its eleventh edition) regularly tops the list of best-selling careers books by a British author and was twice selected as the WH Smith Business Book of the Month. More information: www.johnleescareers.com