Wanting to change profession, but not sure if I can cope

I am feeling my energy levels are falling after a punishing few years emotionally dealing with bereavement and that I need a bit of a breather. I can’t afford to retire or really to reduce my hours much. I was looking at retraining in teaching, but it looks like that would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire at the moment and I’m not sure I could cope. I don’t know if there are other ways to find a job that I feel has more meaning to me, where I can give back to the community and earn a decent salary, that doesn’t involve more stress. Where should I begin? My background is in HR so very people-focused.

Teaching for working mums


It’s so important to look after your wellbeing during times of change.

Do you understand the triggers for increasing stress levels and have you got a toolkit to help to keep it at bay? Do you understand how to increase your energy levels and have techniques for this?

One way of managing resilience is by understanding your energy givers and your energy drainers – The Energy Battery. Your energy givers help you to build an energy surplus; whereas your energy drainers are things you should stop seeing/tasks to stop doing – or if you must do them, do the minimum in the most efficient way.

It’s not easy making a job change, but with a background in HR, being people-focussed, coaching and empowering people seems like a natural remit to stay in.

HR professionals tend to have the advantage of being self-aware, but they also tend to focus on everyone else’s career rather than driving their own career forward.

The easiest job search is same skills same sector, followed by transferable skills to a new sector.

If giving back to the community is important to you – what does that look like? Do start to unpick that a little and write words down. When you refer to earning a ‘decent’ salary – is that around having a regular and secure income or having a high income? Both values but slightly different.

Have you asked yourself questions around what it is about teaching that’s attractive to you? Do you know any teachers or have teachers in your network? If so, can you spend time with them to understand why they like their job and the different routes to get into teaching. Have you researched how long the training is and how long it’ll take to qualify? Retraining as a teacher (or indeed any profession) is always possible if the passion, energy and drive is there. It’s often around getting the timing right and what’s going on in your personal life.

I’d start off by looking at your values to really understand what are your personal values and career engagers at this current time. What motivates you, what are your strengths and where do you get your energy from? Then look at your skills/talents and ask yourself what skills are you good at, what skills do you love doing and which skills do you want to develop.

When your work, life activities and goals are in sync with your core values, this creates an energy surge that can effortlessly lead you towards greater success and goal accomplishment. Consider one small thing you can do in the next week which is in line with your values? Taking time to clarify your values is one of the most critical things we can do, but how they impact on your career decisions is up to you. Values affect different people in different ways, so it’s for you to decide how important your values are. You might feel so strongly about your values that they help you limit the choices that you have. For instance, you might want to exercise creative values over and above anything else and so narrow your choices to areas you feel would be most in line with these values. However, some people are able to put their values to one side temporarily in order to get the sort of training they need, for example, delaying having work which is morally fulfilling such as working for a charity, until fully trained in accountancy and finance, thus being better able to make a useful contribution in the long run.

I’d also recommend you talk to your network – to your trusted advisors and share your initial thoughts and ask them what they’d recommend as they are your eyes and ears on the ground. 75% of jobs come through your network so these conversations will be really helpful.

Good luck!

*Liz Sebag-Montefiore is a career coach and Director of 10Eighty, a strengths-based HR consultancy. For more information, please visit www.10Eighty.co.uk.

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