Looking after your career in the time of Coronavirus

MAApr20026 - Tessa Armstrong Associates Winners Logo

We have recently entered a really uncertain time in our lives.  It has been a really worrying and emotional time for many, all for many different reasons but with the same underlying cause – Coronavirus.  We have our inspirational NHS workers, carers and other key workers working around the clock to help provide and care for those affected.  There are also those who are quietly at home not knowing what to do and wondering what’s going to happen.

Many of these individuals are wondering what’s going to happen in their working lives.  They may be on furlough, facing possible redundancy when we come out the other side, reassessing their values in life or thinking it is now time to follow their dreams and do something different but unsure how to go about such career changes.

For five days at the beginning of lock down, I gave away my eBook, ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’ for free and had over 700 downloads.  This tells me there are many people worried and anxious about their future careers.

If you are feeling worried or anxious, that’s okay.  You are allowed to feel this way.  Things are tricky at the moment.  All I want to say is once you feel ready, I really hope you can use my career resources and coaching experience to help you move forward:

  1. My website has lots of free career resources and videos for you to browse through at your leisure.
  2. I have written lots of articles on my blog. Make yourself a cup of tea and have a read.
  3. Read some of the Inspirational Career Change Interviews on my website.  These are true stories from individuals who made successful steps towards building satisfying and fulfilling careers.  They have kindly shared their stories to inspire you if you are struggling with your career.  They want to reassure you that you can find a career you love.
  4. If you haven’t already done so, grab a copy of my book ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’.  My book provides a structured process for planning your career.  It includes career coaching exercises to help you discover and pursue a satisfying and fulfilling career.
  5. Contact me for a free career coaching consultation.  We can have an informal chat about how career coaching can help you.

I have 10 years experience of coaching and have won awards for my services, including most recently ‘Recognised Leader in Career Coaching Services UK, 2020’ by CV Magazine.  If you want to hear more, have a read below about what one of my fantastic clients said about career coaching.

‘My career was not moving in a positive direction, and I had been feeling unhappy after two redundancies I experienced in less than one year. And whilst the redundancies were out of my control, they were a further negative impact on advancing my career, so thought that career coaching would help me see things more clearly.

Working with Tessa was far more than I thought it would be. I am still a work in progress, but she helped me see some underlying patterns of thinking that were having a negative impact on my moving forward. She also provided me with a systematic process of looking at career options and how to move forward to achieve them.  I have found a new role with a great company and I am studying in order to bring about the change I want to see in my career. I also feel more confident that I can better handle any bumps in the road…and there are always bumps in the road!

Kate G, April 2019

It’s okay to feel stuck, it’s okay to feel anxious, it’s okay to feel uncertain.  If you have no idea what to do, that’s okay too…..I have been there too (read about my career change journey here).  A little bit of guidance (or a lot of guidance!) may be just the thing you need to help you move forward and start making positive changes as we navigate these uncertain times together.

 

 

 

Tessa Armstrong’s Career Change Journey

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I want to let you all know that I have been there too!

Many people ask me about my career and what led me to running my career coaching business and so my blog this month is all about my own career change journey.

I want to let you know that I have been there too!  I have spent time wondering about and imagining a career I would really enjoy and I have spent time planning and developing this career.  It is these experiences that have enabled me to build a career coaching programme with a lot of understanding behind it of what people go through in their careers and how they can create a fulfilling career.

From the beginning…

Many of you may not know this, but I actually did a music degree at Birmingham University.  I chose music because it is a subject I am very passionate about.  Whilst studying music, I started to think about my next steps and made the decision for music to become more of a hobby than to provide me with an income. At this point, I started looking into law.  I was particularly interested in family law as I wanted to be able to help people resolve issues in their personal lives.

A few years later I did indeed qualify as a solicitor in family law.  It was an amazing experience, representing individuals from a range of backgrounds.  It was also hard work and you had to learn fast.  I will never forget walking into the office one day as a newly qualified and being told I was going to have to go and do a court hearing (alone!).

However, something still wasn’t quite right.  After a few years, I was still really wondering what else was out there in the world of work. It fascinated me and I knew I had other passions I wanted to explore.  I decided to take a career break to allow me time to make these explorations.  My plan was to do some voluntary work within the charity sector as well as build more experience of working with children (two areas I am really passionate about). As it happened, within a few weeks of leaving my job, I was offered a job as a teaching assistant for a very good teacher friend of mine which I did at the same time as doing the Place2Be Certificate in Counselling Skills for Working with children. When these came to an end, I managed to secure a major gift fundraising role at Macmillan Cancer Support.  I had carried out a lot of research through networking in the charity sector and had previously done some voluntary work abroad and so I already knew a lot about the roles available.

My time at Macmillan was extremely inspiring, working for an organisation which delivers such a fantastic service and with people who are so passionate about the cause.  It was also fascinating to work in a place where there are lots of different jobs available within one organisation.  Although I missed parts of my role as a family law solicitor, at this point I knew my career was going to take a slightly different direction.

What led me to career coaching?

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After making the move from law into a different sector, lots of people started to ask me for career advice and I realised I was really enjoying the process of speaking to them about their own careers.   Deep down I’d always wanted to work for myself and so looked into how I could make a career out of giving careers support helping those who are struggling going into work each day.  I discovered career coaching and you all know what happened next!

I have now been running my business for 10 years.  I coach many solicitors as well as many individuals from other backgrounds and professions.

 

What about my passions for children and charities?

…and I haven’t forgotten about my other passions…children and the charity sector…

logoTMjpgMy passion for helping children has continued in a voluntary capacity leading me over the last couple of years to designing my primary school confidence coaching programme (My space 4 me) as well as a secondary school careers programme.

As you will no doubt realise, none of this happened overnight.  It took time, thinking, experimenting, talking, getting things right and getting things wrong!

My Book

Book Tessa Armstrong IAPC&MEverything you read in my book (The Tea Model), I have done personally as well as used this programme to coach 100’s of individuals. I have made goals, assessed my skills. I have developed a career vision, overcome that tricky negative mindset. I have explored different options through paid and voluntary work, networked to help me find the answers as well as battled with that work-life balance (which is always a work in progress for everyone!).

I want you to know that carving your own way through the world of careers may take time, but it is possible, and it will be worth it as I can honestly say I love what I do.   If you are not enjoying your job, please do use the people around you who have been on a similar journey like me.  There are always times in our lives when we need a bit of extra support and that is okay!

It is possible to find a fulfilling and satisfying job for you.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

20 Pieces of Career Advice For You!

TessaIt’s that time of year when I do a round-up of all my articles and blogs for the year.  I do this so that when reflecting on your career (as many do over Christmas and New Year) you can quickly scan through this round-up and read what is relevant for you.  I hope it is helpful!

I try to cover a range of topics in my articles.  This year many of the topics covered are hinting towards what is covered in my newly published book (The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’.)

BLOGS

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  1. The key ingredient for making a career change (Jan)
  2. Making your dream career a reality (Feb)
  3. What do you do when your current job doesn’t suit you? (March)
  4. Finding the best career and job ideas when feeling stuck(April)
  5. The best kept secret to career success(May)
  6. Four rules you need to know for career success (June)
  7. Four reasons why celebration is so important for career happiness and fulfilment(July)
  8. Six reasons stopping you getting the job you will love (Sept)
  9. ‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing’ (Oct)
  10. Publication of my new book: ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’ (Nov)

 

VIDEOS

  1. How to achieve the best work-life balance for you and enjoy your job
  2. Stop leaving your career to chance
  3. The best kept secret to career success
  4. Confidence Coaching for Children

ARTICLES

  1. How to stop procrastinating over career-changing decisions
  2. Don’t forget this important consideration when making a career change
  3. How to ‘just do it’ when perfectionism takes over
  4. How career coaching can help you create a career that suits you
  5. 6 benefits of coaching for career success
  6. 9 ways to progress your career when feeling lost

 

CAREER ADVICE BOOKS

….Did I mention MY NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK?!

The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love

Book Tessa Armstrong IAPC&M

 

Do get in touch now or in the New Year to tell me your career news (or dilemmas).  In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a fantastic new year! 

Best wishes

Tessa

Tessa’s 2018 career blog round-up – something to help everyone’s career!

CareerIt doesn’t seem that long ago when I was writing my 2017 round up and already we are looking forward to our next Christmas break.  I wonder what lies ahead for your career in 2019.  Will it be a career change?  Will you be returning to work?  Are you facing any uncertainty at work, perhaps through redundancy? Perhaps you are contemplating having a break from work?  Is there a promotion you have your eyes on?

Whatever your situation at work, I hope my 2018 blogs and articles will provide you will some helpful and insightful information to help you. There is something for everyone…

BLOGS

Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018 (Jan)uk_career_development_1000px

Hidden careers you never knew existed (Feb)

How do you choose the right career coach for you? (Feb)

Aiming for perfection is not realistic (Mar)

How to explain a career break (April)

Stop procrastinating and just do it! (May)

Find career inspiration now from our new spotlight interviews (May)

How to tackle the changing job market (Jul)

The easiest way to find a job you actually enjoy (Oct)    

How to redesign your career now? (Nov)

 

GUEST BLOG

CV Pitfalls/setbacks and how to get over them by CV-Library

 

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

Fundraiser follows passion and sets up successful travel company

Discover how Radha made an inspirational career change from charity fundraiser to setting up her own company.

Engineer and Mum makes successful career change following career break

Find out how Suzanne made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business.

Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

Discover how Toni Sharp has created a portfolio career, combining work as an employment solicitor and her love for travel.

 

ARTICLES

Three action points to help you change career (Jan – Life Coach Directory)

Taking a career break from work (Jan – Jobsite)

What to do when work gets you down (March – Life Coach Directory)

How to find hidden career opportunities (May – Life Coach Directory)

Top 10 UK Career Development Blog (June)

The secret to finding the best career path for you (Aug – Life Coach Directory)

Getting the most from your career search when times are tough (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Four simple words that can transform your career (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

I look forward to being in touch again with more blogs and articles in the New Year!  In the meantime, I wish you a very merry Christmas!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Spotlight career interview: Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

My spotlight interviews return to help and encourage those wanting to find a fulfilling and rewarding career.

toni 1My third interview is with Toni Sharp who talks about how she created an inspirational portfolio career spending part of her working week in her role as an Employment and HR solicitor whilst also spending time working as a travel consultant.  Portfolio careers are a great way of creating a career which matches your interests and provides flexibility. The increasing range and variety of jobs available allows for a more creative and flexible approach when designing your career path.  Toni’s journey in creating her portfolio career is an inspirational read as she details how she made her decisions to find different roles which match her passions, skills and interests.

 

Spotlight career interviews:

Read Toni’s interview here: Solicitor makes leap of faith and creates her dream portfolio career

 

Previous interviews:

Returning to work:  Suzanne talks about how she made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business. Read her interview here: Engineer and Mum returns to work and makes successful career change following career break.

Career Change: Radha talks about how she changed career from fundraiser to setting up her own travel company.  She shows how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.  Read her interview here: Fundraiser follows passion and sets up travel company

 

Relevant help sheets:

Could a portfolio career be right for you?

Career options for lawyers

Transferrable skills for lawyers

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

‘Aiming for perfection is not realistic’

perfectionism

Is 100% perfection ever possible?

Not according to Winston Churchill,

“The maxim ‘nothing but perfection’ may be spelled ‘paralysis.’” (Winston Churchill)

….and I think my course tutor agreed when she wrote on my feedback form:

‘There is obviously more you could do but aiming for perfection is not realistic (although it is expected of lawyers.)’

This was 10 years ago, yet I will never forget her comments.  I have been guilty of perfectionism and have had to learn to lower my high and unrealistic expectations of myself to allow myself a chance to try new things and learn from mistakes I make along the way to improve.

I am, of course, not the only one. Perfectionism is extremely common and continues to trouble individuals as they enter the workplace, as confirmed in a recent article about the rise in perfectionism in young people.  This article sets out the characteristics and beliefs of a perfectionist as:

  • Holding excessive standards and punishing yourself for failing to achieve these standards.
  • Validating your worth by perfection.
  • Experiencing guilt and anxiety about unworthiness.

Does this sound familiar? I am sure those of you who are perfectionists will agree that always believing nothing is ever good enough is an exhausting state of mind.  It can lead to stress, anxiety and poor concentration as well as other mental health issues.

If you consider yourself to be a perfectionist, there are steps you can take to alleviate the pressure you put upon yourself.  Use the following tips to start the process:

  • Failure is not a weakness – start to believe there is a learning process through which you can gain knowledge and succeed.
  • Set yourself high achievable standards and realistic goals that do not require perfection.
  • Get the job done. Do not procrastinate for fear of failure.  Take manageable steps instead, taking each decision at a time.  Enjoy the process, not just the outcome, and this will open new opportunities you didn’t know existed.

Don’t let perfectionism hold you back.  Motivation comes from striving to be excellent, not perfect.

“Strive for excellence, not perfection, because we don’t live in a perfect world.” (Joyce Meyer)

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Tessa’s 2017 career blog round-up – something for everyone!

career clipartWill you be pondering over your future career during the Christmas break?  If so, perhaps one of my blogs from 2017 will help to guide your thoughts.  I have provided all the links below (please excuse any inaccuracies with the publishing date– these became slightly muddled when I launched my new website in June!).

There is something for everyone –  whether you need help with your current job or would like to search for something new. Have a look…..

Stop waiting, take action! (Jan)

How to cope if you are put at risk of redundancy (Jan)

How to get a new job now – The three Ps! (Feb)

Four ways to feel happier at work (March)

Are you tired of being available 24/7? (April)

3 steps to turn your fear of rejection into career success (May)

How to make the first step towards finding a job that suits you (June)

How to stop stress preventing you from pursuing changes in your career (July)

Four focus points to help you make a good impression when starting a new job (July)

Who is the best person to tell you what job you should do (and it’s not me!)? (Sept)

Three steps to overcome your fear of being judged (Sept)

The importance of learning to say ‘no’ (Oct)   

Does looking at past events help you change career? (Nov)

Are you fed up of worrying about your career? (Dec)

Five ways to overcome setbacks (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Is it time to stop feeling so stressed at work? (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

I look forward to being in touch again with more blogs in the New Year!  In the meantime, I wish you a very merry Christmas!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

How to deal with criticism

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“I really struggle when my work is criticised. I take it personally and can feel stressed for days afterwards. I become really nervous and worry that my work will never be good enough. What can I do to stop myself feeling like this?”

It can be really difficult to accept criticism. You can end up feeling angry, frustrated and demotivated. Criticism can also really knock your confidence.

Dealing with your emotions after being given criticism can be difficult and so here are a few tips to help you deal with it constructively:

  1. Accept that no one is perfect. Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself can cause a lot of stress so ensure your expectations are reasonable.
  2. Replace the word ‘criticism’ with ‘feedback’. Feedback is a more positive word and can put you in a better frame of mind to deal with it. Ask yourself what you can learn from the feedback to help you move forward.
  3. When you are being given feedback, ensure you understand it properly and be open to what the other person is saying before you respond. Once you have this understanding, you can ask questions to clarify what the person giving you feedback is wanting from you and what changes you can make to improve your work. This gives the conversation a positive forward thinking focus.
  4. Don’t take it personally. Perhaps model yourself on someone you know who takes feedback well. How do they behave? How do they talk and act? Write down 10 qualities you admire about this person. Now identify what they do, that you currently do not do and think about what you need to believe in order to behave in the same way. Next time you receive feedback, use this new belief and try a different response.       Keep going until you start seeing the difference!

Throughout your career, there will always be someone who may criticise you. You are not alone. Even the most successful people are criticised. It is how you deal with it that is important. Keep in control and use any constructive criticism to enable you to become an even better employee.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

9 ways to improve your time management skills

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‘I never seem to have enough time to complete my work. I work really long hours and no longer have time to do the things I enjoy out of work. It is making me feel stressed.’

It can be really difficult managing a large workload. You can end up feeing exhausted and extremely stressed.

If this sounds familiar, perhaps take some time to review how you spend your time at work.   Use the following points to assist:

  1. Every morning make a list of the tasks you must complete that day and a separate list of tasks that you would like to complete if you had time.
  2. Do the thing you least want to do first. You will be so pleased when you have achieved it and feel motivated for the rest of the day.
  3. Eliminate all distractions when working on a large piece of work. For instance, turn your mobile off and close your emails.
  4. Focus on one thing at a time. For example, allocate part of the day to making telephone calls and another part to responding to emails and clearing your inbox.
  5. Are you expected to do everything yourself? If possible, delegate some of your work.
  6. Learn to say ‘no’ when you have too much work to do and to explain the reason why.
  7. If you are struggling with a piece of work, ask for help. Feeling that something is beyond your capabilities can make you feel out of control.
  8. Do you need to work late every day? Ensuring you leave work on time at least once or twice a week will free up time for your personal life.
  9. Plan to do something you enjoy at least once a week.

Often the smallest alteration to your working day can make the biggest difference in enabling you to work more quickly and effectively. It can also ease feelings of stress and allow you to enjoy your life again.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

For lawyers – What to do when you feel dissatisfied at work

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‘I have been wondering whether law is the right career for me for a while now. I don’t feel very motivated or satisfied at work but my options are limited as my skills are so specialised.’

It is not uncommon for lawyers to consider a career change when they are feeling demotivated or dissatisfied at work.   If a recent event has made you feel this way then wait until the situation has calmed down or you have managed to resolve it before you make any decisions.

Also, take a look at your current situation. What specifically is bothering you about your current situation –   is it the working environment, the subject matter, your work-life balance or something else? A career change may be the answer but consider other solutions too such as changing law firm, changing specialism, in-house work, further training and development, seeking help from your supervisor or even pursuing a hobby out of work.

If you do decide that a career change is right for you, the good news is that you do have transferrable skills. Start having a think about them now. Your skills are likely to include people skills, advanced drafting skills, research and problem-solving skills, excellent oral skills as well as many others that make you employable. You can then start investigating career options that closely match your set of skills.

Remember, with all challenges you face, if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting the same result. Try new techniques and tools to help you succeed and if you think a career change is for you, start your investigations now!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk