You can change your mind!

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This piece was written by Rachael Jordan, Director at Think Again Creative as part of the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s focus on adult learning. 

When Rachael hit a career crossroad, she used the CIPR entry-level qualification the CIPR Foundation Award in Public Relations to dip her toe in the water. It didn’t take her into a Public Relations career but gave her the confidence to follow her dreams and setting up her own brand agency.

Very little in life is straightforward, so don’t be afraid when your career isn’t either.

It’s not always the plan or the goal to have a career that changes course significantly mid-way through your working life.

You make decisions at a young age about where to start your working life, you make your entry point into the working world. At certain intervals in life, you assess whether your choices remain right for you. Too little money? Too much stress? Not a good work/life balance? Not enough headroom for growth? You decide whether to remain or to change, or sometimes those choices are made for you.

What do you do? How do you decide your next step? I went through this process at the age of 30.

Let’s rewind a bit first. Following my degree, I chose my ‘entry point’ into the working world because it was pretty much the first job I was offered, and I wanted some security as a debt riddled student. It was only meant to be ‘for a couple of years’ (are you smiling? Does that sound familiar?), but a decade on, I was at the same company, working in a roughly similar job throughout. Don’t get me wrong, I was lucky and worked for a great company in a role that suited me well, I had honed my craft and my professional pride was high. My personal life had moved on, I had grown and changed. I was in a long-term relationship and about to start a family. All sounds perfect right?

The answer is, it depends. It depends on your priorities, the goals you set for yourself or what motivates you. When the majority of your day, for the majority of the week, is spent working, it’s important for the sake of your wellbeing that you have something to motivate you to get through the week with your sanity. At that point in my life, conscious of my age and the need to prioritise family in the near future, I decided to follow a passion of mine.

My dream during my school and college years was to have a creative profession. At this point in time I wanted to be a successful writer. I used to visualise myself as Carrie Bradshaw (yes, I am such a cliché and I am definitely showing my age now). How on earth do I go from being an IT project manager to a glam, fabulous, talented writer? You Google it, of course!

I am actually not kidding. The first step of the last decade of my career started with a Google search (I love the irony of this, as I now work in Marketing). A simple step, the first of a million of steps which have followed since. Some harder than others.

Google led me to nesma, where whilst working full time, I took a CIPR Foundation Award in Public Relations. The course was purely exploratory, I was eager to see if PR was the right choice for me. It was an excellent course and whilst PR turned out not to be the road I eventually took, the teachers (shout out to Laurel Hetherington) and the subject lit a fire under me. The classroom environment and the sensitivities of the teaching staff helped me smooth over the cracks appearing in my confidence, being the oldest in the classroom by a fair stretch. I hadn’t quite found what I was looking for yet, but I knew I was on the right path, which spurred me on.

After nesma, I looked to more adult education opportunities. I took more courses, gained more qualifications through online learning. At this point, balancing full time work, with a one year old daughter and navigating pregnancy with my second child. My life was so much more challenging, but overall, so much happier as I knew that I was taking charge of my career and driving it in a direction I wanted it to go in, rather than being a grumpy passenger.

So where did this lead me? 10 year challenge time.

Me then:

IT Project Manager for a world leading FMCG company.

Great salary.

Never felt more professional frustration.

Me today:

With almost a decade of communications and marketing experience behind me, I am a Co-founder of a brand consultancy, Think Again Creative

Terrible salary.

More fulfilled than ever.

Whatever led you to this point in your career, whether you need to adjust your path or stay the course, think about and choose what is right for you. Don’t be afraid of the challenges it may bring, jump in and give it everything.

nesma’s qualification and workshop courses are designed to help you progress your career and learning at whatever stage and whatever level you are in your career development or decision-making process.