Been made redundant? Ten steps to making it the best thing that ever happened

As a career coach, I’m increasingly being approached by people who are experiencing redundancy.  So I’ve written an article with a ten step guide to navigating redundancy.  If you know anyone who would find it helpful, please pass it on.  I do genuinely believe that redundancy can often be a helpful catalyst.  I’ve known a number of people (including myself!) who have experienced redundancy, and come out of it with more fulfilling lives having taken the opportunity to review what they really want to do.

Career coaching and advice – demystifying the market

If you need some sort of career coaching or advice, it can be really confusing to know where to go to find help.  Do you go to your careers office any more?  Whatever happened to them anyway??

To try and demystify the market and explain all the options, I’ve just written this article on my career coaching website.  I’d welcome any comments or suggestions.

Feeling motivated today …

I woke up this morning feeling flat and low on energy.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my day.  This afternoon, I’m feeling optimistic, purposeful and busy.  So, what made the difference?

For a while, I’ve had an item scribbled on my to-do list to ‘research potential outlets for my art’.  I’ve known that it is important for me to do art, but I’ve struggled to dedicate time to it, feeling it’s not serious and I should be doing a ‘proper job’.  Then I went to my co-coaching group a couple of weeks ago (they supervise my coaching practice and check I’m not falling into bad habits).  Being with a group of coaches for an evening, they helped me to see that I needed to research potential outlets for my creativity in order to allow myself to take it seriously.

So, today I sat down and wrote out all the things I could do that I feel passionate about.  Things that appeal, rather than things that I assume would be lucrative.  In doing this, I reconnected with my purpose – what I really care about, and what stimulates me to make art.  It’s a purpose that I keep coming back to when I pause to listen, and that makes me burn with energy.  When I reconnect with it, ideas suddenly start to flow and action always follows.  I have rediscovered my motivation.

Prompted by this, I’ve written an article on finding your motivation.  What is it that motivates you to work?

The unexplored ‘should’

I shouldn’t really be here this morning.  I should be in an interview.  Hear that word – should?

I realised after a chat with my own career coach that I need to beware of that word.  It can very much get in your way.  Let me explain.  I am currently navigating a career change myself.  I have a dream of a working life that enables me to use my talents to make the difference in the world that I want to make.  In my case, I’ve decided to do this by coaching people who want to enjoy what they do for a living; and also by using my creative talents to make others think about and appreciate the world that they live in.  To put it simply, I want to help others to create a life worth living.  So – why did I apply for a job that would use three days of my precious time, doing something that didn’t fit with this vision?  Because I thought I should, that’s why.  Some part of me that still thinks I should have a ‘proper job’ compelled me to look at job advertisements and send off an application. 

I should have listened to my own heart when I read the letter inviting me to an interview, and felt disappointed.  But I didn’t listen.  I still wasn’t listening when I felt no inclination to prepare.  I wasn’t even nervous about it.  Now that’s not right.

Then I spoke to my career coach.  He asked me a simple but very important question.   

“Imagine that you aren’t living in the real world – you’re in a different world entirely, one where you can do whatever you like.  Describe what you are doing in five years time.  Where are you?  What are you doing?” 

I described a very clear picture.  I was surprised at how clear it was, even to me.  Saying it out loud to another person brought it to life for me.  And the job interview played no part whatsoever in that vision. 

 “So – tell me again why you’re going for that job?” 

That’s what career coaches do.  They ask the difficult, the obvious, questions. 

We explored together why I had felt that I ‘should’ get a proper job.  I realised that there is actually no reason on earth why I should.  I can meet my responsibilities without doing so.  It wasn’t really a ‘should’ at all.

I realised that I need to take my vision seriously and focus as much effort on planning how I can achieve it as I have been doing on being a slave to the unacknowledged ‘shoulds’ in my life.

I know we all have responsibilities that we do need to meet.  I think we also have some unexplored ‘shoulds’ that are no longer relevant in our current circumstances.  What are yours? What do you think they might be stopping you from achieving?

Career change

I had my first mid-life crisis when I was in my early thirties.  After ten years of working my socks off, I realised that going home in tears every night was not healthy.  And what was worse, I was not even achieving anything.  What a waste of a life.

I spent several sessions with a careers counsellor.  This was one of the most positive and liberating experiences I have had.  I learned that I wanted to help others to grow and develop, and I realised I had been supressing my creative instincts and abilities for years.

I got a job as a management development consultant, coaching managers and teams to be the best they can be.  I studied for my MA in Management Learning with Lancaster University.  I took watercolour classes and started working through Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  But although I loved the work that I did, my company continued to frustrate me and I couldn’t do my best work.

The opportunity to take redundancy came up, so I grabbed it with both hands.  I enrolled in college, studying art and design which was completely new to me.  I continued to coach friends and ex-colleagues, and they told me I had a gift for this and should do more.  I started to write, and have completed several writing courses. 

I’ve realised that I need a portfolio-career.  I have also realised that I make my career up as I go along.  I suspect most of us do; we just don’t realise how we can turn this to our best advantage and create a life that fits us like a favourite pair of PJs.