It can be scary and overwhelming to seize the opportunity and take that first step in making a career change. I should know, just under 2 years ago I was faced with the decision to stick with what was safe or embrace that new opportunity.
My career change story
I have always been employed in a typical 9-5 Monday-Friday job, it’s what I knew for over 7 years. When I told people that I worked in the UK Fashion industry I got a lot of “Wow, that must be amazing” or “What a cool job!”. But the reality was I was unhappy, unfulfilled and bored, and surrounded by a lot of people who felt the same. I can tell you, this does not make for the most positive working environment.
One of the things that had been a real strength in my career and had led to some speedy progression was my work ethic. I am the kind of person who works hard, enjoys being busy and puts my all into my job. The thing is the people who were benefitting most from my work ethic were large corporations with a big bank balance. Yes, I know, that is the point if you work for big companies but it made me start thinking about how I could get more back myself from the energy I was putting in.
Working for myself and starting my own business had never really occurred to me before, but the more I thought about it the more badly I wanted to make it a reality. I’d worked in the wedding industry at the start of my fashion career for a couture bridal designer and I started to look at other roles in the industry that could make use of the skills I had developed so far. When I came across the Diploma in Wedding Planning, Styling and Design via the UK Academy I took the plunge and signed up almost immediately. It was the combination of organisation and planning with the more creative aspects that really drew me in and I thought to myself, the worst case scenario is I pay for a qualification I decide not to use but I still have my career in Fashion to fall back on. So I started my course, studying evenings and weekends to fit it around my Mon-Friday job.
2 years later and taking that small initial risk has paid off, as have the bigger exciting risks I have taken since enrolling. Within a year of starting my course, I quit my safe, well paid day job to freelance for the Academy as Brand Manager and this year I went on to launch my business, book my first clients and work for some amazing UK wedding planners and stylists. I am not going to lie, there are scary moments when I miss security and paid holidays, and I’m earning less than I did two years ago. However, I love working for myself and freelancing within the industry and as long as I keep working towards my goals there is no reason why I won’t be bringing in the profits I want in the not to distant future.
Are you ready for a career change?
Only you can answer this question. All I can do is share my own experience and give you some tips I’ve learned.
Tip 1 – Ask yourself questions and be honest with yourself. Are you happy in your career? Could you do this job for the rest of your working life? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?
Tip 2 – Don’t be scared of change. It is not possible to avoid change. I considered myself someone who thrived on stability but no job stays the same and I realised the changes in the fashion industry were not going to allow me to create the future I wanted.
Tip 3 – Take risks, even if initially they are small ones. No successful business owner got where they were without a little risk. If I hadn’t taken the risks I have taken I would still be procrastinating about my career. If risk makes you nervous start with small steps, you don’t have to dive into everything head first.
Tip 4 – Do your research. Look at your options, research career viability and the qualifications you might need.
Tip 5 – Empower yourself. Let your career dream and your end goals motivate and guide you. You know what you want and this will help you to put a proper plan in place for achieving your career change goals.
On a final note, I’d like to wish you all luck with your career change decision. And if like me you think a career in the wedding and event industry could be for you then you can find out more about the Academy courses here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martha Tobyn is a UK Academy graduate, the Academy Brand Manager and the Founder and Wedding Planner & Stylist behind Modern London wedding business Anemone. She loves being creative and helping couples have the wedding they really want.
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