I'm a career change coach for women struggling to find the confidence to change jobs after a career break or in their 40s. AMA!

(46 Posts)
balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 11:26:25

Hi, I'm Laura, a life coach with 15 years experience of helping people to find the confidence to take their next steps. I now work mainly with mums who are thinking of returning to work after furlough or mat leave, or who have been back at work a while and are thinking they now need a change. But self doubt, tiredness and feeling a bit clueless about where to begin are holding them back. I went self employed last summer, leaving my comfy role for the uncertainties of doing my own thing. I love it but I also know how hard the juggle of kids and life and starting a new business is, so I've got the t-shirt (and often feel like I'm still struggling to get it over my head at times!)

So, ask away. I've got a coffee and I'm ready to go :-)

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speedtalker Mon 07-Jun-21 11:34:58

A career break mum here who has been developing her coding skills as a way back into a skilled role in the workplace.

How likely is it to really be able to find work that allows you to be there for school pick up every day? In theory it sounds very doable, but if you're re-entering the workplace don't you have you realistically pay your dues before gaining the trust to cut down? Having alerts on for jobs, and most are full time.

Thanks

DelBocaVista Mon 07-Jun-21 11:41:34

Are you a qualified careers adviser?

I'm not asking to be rude but I'm currently involved in some to work to re-professionalise the career guidance sector so I'm always interested in what qualifications people doing these types of roles have!

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 11:42:16

Hi @speedtalker

First of all, really great to hear you have been developing a new skill while on a break.

I think that part of the reason we don't go for jobs that are listed as full time is that very thing of 'having to pay our dues', without taking into consideration all the other skills and experience you bring to the job from you previous roles. We doubt that we will be good enough to negotiate or be assertive when it comes to accepting a role.

We also tend to assume that because a role is full-time that there's no flexibility, but I think if the employer wants you they could be willing to have a conversation about starting flexibly, or working towards flexibility over a set period of time.

Since COVID we are all used to working so much more flexibly and from home, I believe there is more of a shift in working patterns on the horizon.

Be bold! I'd love to know how you get on.

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Softpebbles Mon 07-Jun-21 11:45:19

Is early 40s too late to make a total change. Financial reasons keep me where I am. But my god I need a challenge.

On paper I have flexibility, ok salary, respected. But I’m bored. I am sure I could do my job in two days and not the 5 I am paid for.

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 11:48:52

Hi @DelBocaVista

Thanks for the question. Your work sounds really valuable and interesting.

I'm not a careers advisor, I'm a qualified life coach, via the International Coaching Federation. I don't give out career advice so I think that would be the difference; I have conversations which focus on the individual and what's going on in the background to help work on positive action towards change.

There's such a lot of blurring of lines as to what coaching/ careers advisor/mentor/therapist all are so it's good to get to know who you are working with and for what purpose.

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Choccorocco Mon 07-Jun-21 11:50:01

Hi! What's the best way to figure out what to do next? I've been a SAHM for a few years and have no wish to get back into my old career - too many hours, too much responsibility, too many unreasonable deadlines. I've been wondering how to find something that is interesting and varied enough to want to do it, meaningful enough that it's worth making the sacrifices to do it (taking time away from the family, requiring my DH to step up more in the home, etc) but that doesn't take me into my old world of work stress. What's the best way to identify a new direction?
Thanks!

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balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 11:56:48

@Softpebbles

Ah that sounds like a big conundrum. I hear this often from the women I speak to in my work, there's that sense of the job being ok, but not great and boring.

You mentioned financial reasons keep you where you are, what would you need to do to, earn or save, to feel comfortable enough to take the leap? And what would the benefits of changing have to be to balance out the potential financial hit?

Have you worked out what would make you feel alive, rather than bored? I've got a download that could help you on my website, where you look at 4 key areas in your life to work out how if the decision is the right thing for you

1. What do you love to do? What brings you joy? How can you do more of this in what you do, or what you could be doing?

2. What are your strengths? What expertise, life experience and personality traits do you have that new employers would value.

3. What can you be paid to do? Think outside the box, are the creative outlets, other means to make money as well as the job you can do on paper?

4. What does the world need from you? What are you values and how can you do something that lights your soul up and kicks that boredom out!

And nope, its never to late to make a total change!

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DelBocaVista Mon 07-Jun-21 11:57:23

balancingmumlife

Hi @DelBocaVista

Thanks for the question. Your work sounds really valuable and interesting.

I'm not a careers advisor, I'm a qualified life coach, via the International Coaching Federation. I don't give out career advice so I think that would be the difference; I have conversations which focus on the individual and what's going on in the background to help work on positive action towards change.

There's such a lot of blurring of lines as to what coaching/ careers advisor/mentor/therapist all are so it's good to get to know who you are working with and for what purpose.

Do you call yourself a careers coach though? I worry that people may think you are a qualified careers adviser if you are using the term 'careers coach'.

One of the things we are working on is making the profession a chartered profession in order to protect the job title.

I know that coaching and life coaching have the same issue - anyone can call themselves a life coach! It can be very worrying which I'm sure you would agree!

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 11:57:51

Sorry for the typos! Overly-keen typing!

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TropicalFairyCake Mon 07-Jun-21 12:01:48

I agree @DelBocaVista . Especially when making lifechanging decisions that will affect income etc I would want someone with more intimate knowledge of careers and impact various moves would have on your carer. Actual knowledge than just working out my own feelings and goals.

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 12:04:31

@DelBocaVista

Great points. I'm aware of coming across as defensive, which I'm really not! I wholeheartedly agree with you - anyone can call themselves a coach without any certification or qualification and I also worry about it undermining the professional standards of the industry. I don't call myself a careers coach (apart from in the subject line here, which I see now causes the confusion); I'm definitely a life coach in all I do, how I work and what I offer.

It's really important to me that the lines are kept clear; different professions for different needs.

Thanks for raising it

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denverRegina Mon 07-Jun-21 12:07:14

How much do you earn?

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 12:07:40

@TropicalFairyCake

I think we all need different things depending on what stage we are at. For some that step by step process of switching careers (including things like CV writing, interview skills, etc) is what's most needed, for others it's the mindset and confidence of being able to think about moving out of the known, to the unknown.

I don't do the former; I can recommend a great coach for that! I'm here for the latter, which helps on the self-esteem side of things.

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Oenanthe Mon 07-Jun-21 12:08:17

What's your track record like?

How many 'mums' have gone on to get work as a result of your intervention?

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 12:09:53

@denverRegina

Not as much as I used to! Are you thinking of becoming a coach or interested to know what I earn for another reason?

I'm in my first year of business so I'm aiming to earn the same as I did in my previous role within the first 3 years. Starting a new business is a long road.

I also work part-time around my kid's school hours.

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denverRegina Mon 07-Jun-21 12:09:59

And are you aware that you are making a lot of generalisations based on your own experiences?

Much of what you've said wouldn't apply to many of the women I know and comes across as patronising, bordering on misogynistic.

DelBocaVista Mon 07-Jun-21 12:10:14

balancingmumlife

*@DelBocaVista*

Great points. I'm aware of coming across as defensive, which I'm really not! I wholeheartedly agree with you - anyone can call themselves a coach without any certification or qualification and I also worry about it undermining the professional standards of the industry. I don't call myself a careers coach (apart from in the subject line here, which I see now causes the confusion); I'm definitely a life coach in all I do, how I work and what I offer.

It's really important to me that the lines are kept clear; different professions for different needs.

Thanks for raising it

Thank you for responding so honestly. I really appreciate it.

It sounds like you're doing great work. I train careers advisers I have seen a number of my students go on to support women returners - it's valuable work!

TropicalFairyCake Mon 07-Jun-21 12:10:52

I think the problem was calling yourself a "career coach". If you say you're a "lifecoach" irl I think that's more likely to reflect what you are doing.

Lumene Mon 07-Jun-21 12:11:39

When you say you are qualified via the ICF what do you mean?

Where did you train and do you have regular supervision?

Do you work with your own coach?

denverRegina Mon 07-Jun-21 12:11:41

"Are you thinking of becoming a coach or interested to know what I earn for another reason?"

I'm asking because you said AMA. I'm not interested in becoming a "coach" no. I'm wondering what kind of cash people are parting with for this.

C0nstance Mon 07-Jun-21 12:11:52

I feel like my problem getting back in to workplace finally (at 47) was not that I didn't believe in myself, but that employers had a very narrow view of what constituted ''a good fit'' so that just ruled me out. It's very difficult when employers and recruiters don't see women in their forties returning to the workplace as potential candidates.

I did go to a career coach and she helped me writing down my soft skills and dividing up what experiences had given me what competencies. She helped me extract those experiences from my memory and order them in to competencies.

balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 12:16:50

Hi @Oenanthe

After coaching my clients go on to say that they feel more confident, understand what they want, how to prioritise their needs and ready to take the next step. They may go on to get new jobs, start something for themselves or go for promotion, but it's not always an overnight thing.

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balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 12:17:45

@DelBocaVista

Thank you, I'm sure we have a lot of overlap in who we work with.

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balancingmumlife Mon 07-Jun-21 12:18:39

@TropicalFairyCake

Yep, apologies for the confusion caused by the subject line.

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