When changing direction in your career there are a few trade-offs. The first trade-off is between what you’re good at and what you like doing. The next trade-off is usually between money and happiness.
I could be earning pretty nice money if I was still an Accountant at a big fancy listed company, but I wouldn’t be very happy doing it. In fact I'd be MISERABLE. I wrote a brief overview of my personal career journey via my LinkedIn page here and boy, what a response I received!
WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT
Whilst I was preeeety good with numbers I found it bore the living lights out of me. I hated being stuck at my desk all day working through endless spreadsheets, P&L's, budgets, reporting - no, no no. I'd get home after some 12 hour days feeling exhausted, grumpy and unfulfilled. This however was my skill so I almost felt obliged to do accounting despite how it made me feel. (Full props to all those Accountants out there - I just wasn't getting the same buzz out of numbers!).
I had toiled over 3 years of university and pictured being in a fancy job wearing fancy suits so why wasn't I happy? On the other end of the spectrum, I would love to live in Paris and learn French, but my French is still rather basic and well I don't think I could survive on just baguette scented air and beautiful people to sustain my lifestyle choices, but boy I know I would be happy!
NOT SO LOST IN TRANSITION
My transition from Finance to HR was a strangely supportive and easy one. Anyone else here believe in the power of visualisation (blog on that later perhaps)? I knew at the time that my French dream was a bit unrealistic, so after a little more soul-searching I realised I loved learning about people. I loved meeting new people, socialising, networking but in my head I didn't know how to make a living from this passion of mine.
I remember being at a BBQ and some new acquaintances asked what I do for work. Let’s just say there was a raised eyebrow or two when I said ‘Accountant’. ‘No way!’ would be their reply. We thought you’d be in Marketing, PR, or working with people. For me, that was my light bulb moment and gave me the resolve to move out of accounting. I knew in my gut that a people focussed job would make me happy but I had no idea how to get there.
BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Fortunately, a good friend of mine saw my predicament, pulled me aside and said stop being so unhappy, do something about it. Find a job with more people interaction! She was so sure I’d be a natural at it. After our chat I was PUMPED and that night I wrote down what I loved doing and if I had the transferrable skills to do what I loved whilst earning a reasonable pay-check. It came to me that I had all the potential to be a successful Recruitment Advisor and still be able to utilise most of my skills whilst doing something I loved, talking with and helping people find jobs. If you're keen to learn the exact method I used to determine my dream career, then check out my Dream Career Planner course.
My interest and my passion, was clearly with people, not numbers. So, later that month I took the brave step of approaching my manager and asked if they would support my transition into HR. After a few weeks of exploring options, my manager agreed to sponsor my HR studies and also create a role for me that included HR responsibilities. I know, I am INCREDIBLY lucky but it was also very smart from the employer to get a little more bang for their buck out of me! I worked full time as an Accountant/ HR Officer by day and studied my heart out for a Masters in HR by night (needless to say my resume looked very strange at this point)! I was even given the opportunity to run training sessions, recruit and apply some of my newfound people knowledge to the team. And you know what, I’ve never looked back.
THE PAY CUT
When I made the shift from Accountant to Recruiter I took no less than a $55k pay cut. It hurt a lot financially and it meant I had to sacrifice on things that I got used to in my early 20's such as an endless wardrobe, fancy cocktails and exotic holidays. Overall though, I adjusted quite well. Perhaps it was because I didn't feel the need to fill the emptiness I felt with work and found I was more motivated and more energised as I was finally doing something I loved! And when you have that amount of energy and positivity on your side, the money follows. I made back the loss of salary in less than 15 months and now could not be happier. I'm so glad I stuck with my gut. My 20's were full of weird decisions but looking back, this was one of my smartest moves.
Life is short superstars, do something you love and be happy versus something you hate just for the money.
Did any of this resonate with you? What's the career change you are dreaming of and what's holding you back?
I've created a library full of FREE career resources to help get you on track. You'll find resume advice, LinkedIn resources and a guide on how to write an amazing cover letter. Check it all out here!
It you believe you have more to offer but unsure what your next move should be, I encourage you to enrol in my Dream Career Planner course. It will identify your potential dream jobs with an action plan to get you on your dream career path.
Until next time talented people.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruby coaches career minded individuals who are on a quest to find their dream role and build a career around it. She leads an active social community on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She's always up for a coffee or two and will always, always take bribes when it's in units of almond croissants.