Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018

suitcase

Can we all find an inspiring career which makes us feel happy and fulfilled?

We all want a career we love but often lack the ability to find the job that inspires us the most.  In fact, many people I speak to say they would change career tomorrow if they could but have no idea what motivates them or what they could do.  I then wonder, where has their positivity gone?  Where has their childlike curiosity disappeared to?  Do they really have no idea about what motivates them?

The reality is that our positivity and curiosity does not disappear but instead becomes buried deeply under a sea of everyday thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, the world and the future.  These have formed through past experiences, knowledge and predictions for what might happen. 

‘I am not good enough’

‘If it goes wrong it will be my fault’

‘They will think I’m crazy’

It is these negative thoughts that are pushing your positive thoughts under the surface and preventing you from being open to opportunity and fulfilment.

So, how do we allow our positive and curious thoughts to resurface?   Well, if you bear with me for a moment and use your imagination to work through the following instructions, I will attempt to help you…

First, pack the interfering everyday thoughts into an old suitcase and secure the case (you can unpack them later if they mean that much to you!). 

Your positive and creative thoughts now have room to resurface, retrieve these and pack them into a new suitcase.  Use these questions to help your thinking:

What jobs would you like to try for a week?

If all jobs were paid the same, what would you do?

What are the three things you feel most passionate about?

Great!  You now have two suitcases, one with new inspired thoughts, the other with old everyday thoughts. 

Now imagine both these cases are on an airport conveyor belt. They will pass you once and you must choose just one of them to take home and continue filling, the other will be left behind.  Which case are you going to keep, the case of positive ideas and thoughts or the case of old everyday thoughts? 

Quick, they are passing you…this is your chance…GRAB ONE NOW!

I am sure you are now getting the point! 

Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else.  If you actively seek out the thoughts and ideas that will give you the best chance of finding an inspiring career, you will find happiness and fulfilment.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND INSPIRED NEW YEAR!

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

Are you fed up of worrying about your career?

careerpath

When looking back at 2017, were there things you were worried about in your job or career which you now realise were not worth the worry?

Perhaps you were worried about not being good enough for your new job.

Were you anxious about a work appraisal?

Perhaps your family and friends were telling you not to change career making you worried about it all going wrong if you went against their advice.

Were these things worth the worry? Did worrying make you feel happy and positive, driving you towards a fulfilling career, or did it make you feel stressed and tired?

Worrying can make you feel miserable.  It stems from negative attitudes and beliefs and can delay decision making and progression.  A common belief which causes worry is thinking you are not good enough.  This belief frequently stops people achieving what they want to achieve.

If you found 2017 to be a year of worry and would rather make 2018 a year of self-control and planning, then first have a think about your current beliefs about yourself and ensure you adopt an ‘I can’ attitude.

With this new positive attitude, you can then move forward with your career planning, using these questions to help focus your ideas:

  1. Do you still want to be in your current job in 2019? What can you do over the next year to develop within your current role?
  2. Do you want to progress within your organisation? What is your next role and what can you take on to enable you to progress?
  3. Do you want a career change? If so, what is your overall goal and what steps do you need to take to get there in 2018?

Leaving behind the worry and taking control of your thoughts will enable you to decide what you want in your career and have the confidence to achieve it!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Have you experienced the two year itch in your career or job?

Image result for free career clipart images

When will I be able to change jobs? How will my career develop? Do I want a career change? If these questions sound familiar to you, what do you do to find the answers?

It is really common for individuals to start reviewing their career having been in a job or role for two years or more.

We start a new job with such enthusiasm and motivation, jumping out of bed on a Monday morning keen to ensure we get ahead in our careers. We want to perform well and develop a fantastic and fulfilling career, until that well known ‘Monday morning feeling’ gradually creeps in. As time has moved on, we have settled into our new job and are familiar with our day to day role. We become restless and start wondering where our career is going.

If you have got to this point, how can you now restore the motivation and enthusiasm you once had when you started your new job? How can you prevent your 2 year itch developing for the next 2, 3 or even 4 years? It all comes down to two main options:

  1. Stay in your current job

Often it is much easier to simply stay put than find a new job. If you decide this is the right career path for you, then finding techniques to improve your motivation should be the first item on your to-do list. Perhaps take this opportunity to review where you are in your career, what you have achieved and what you want to achieve next. Start planning your career path, set yourself challenges at work and establish ways to achieve your ambitions. Make sure you tell people at work about your career ideas and plans. This will give you the best opportunity of achieving your ambitions and restoring a good Monday morning feeling.

  1. Change Job/Change Career

If you decide changing career or job is the best career choice for you, take time to evaluate your career options, working out what you want and exploring possibilities and opportunities. Talk to people to find out more about specific roles, jobs and careers. This is the best way to discover the best job move or career choice for you.

For further help, click here for my free career resources.

Remember, the more consideration you give to your career development, the better your decisions are going to be.  

http://www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk/

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

maze

We all want someone to tell us what job we should do, to make the decision on our behalf so we can simply focus on enjoying our career.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? I know that’s what I wanted when I was pursuing a career change. The decision-making process was hard work and I just wanted someone to tell me what to do. When I was advised that the best decision would be the one I made for myself, I realised I needed to take responsibility and do some serious thinking!

What did I discover? I found that I was frequently being given advice on what I should or should not do and I didn’t know which advice to follow. I soon realised I would be far more committed to a decision I had made personally, rather than a decision someone had made for me or advised me to make, and what I really needed to do was develop a thorough understanding of my skills, passions and aspirations to enable me to make that decision.

Still not convinced? Let me give you another example….

Do you remember the career advice you received at school?

I have a very distinct memory sitting in the school careers room completing a personality questionnaire and subsequently being advised, amongst other things, that I should be a probation officer. It was as simple as that…the answer to my future career was found by completing a 10-minute test. Was this the right answer? Well, I did not become a probation officer!

There can be limitations in being pigeon holed into a specific career before you are ready to make that decision. It can lead to career paths being pursed but not enjoyed and an individual’s confidence being knocked. Many people need time to build their self- awareness and once they really understand what they want from their career, they will then be in the best place to move forward. Many of my clients say they regret following early career advice for this reason. They wish they had spent more time thinking about and discussing their personality and aspirations before taking the next step.

Have I just talked myself out of a job?!

No, because the best thing about all of this is that, although it may be up to you to make the decision, you do not have to go through the process alone. I become part of the process when individuals become stuck and need some help and guidance in moving forward. I help individuals build self-awareness to enable them to discover and explore different career possibilities and find the best career choice for them. I also help individuals to eliminate issues of procrastination, fear and anxiety to enable them to believe that they can achieve a fulfilling career. Career advisers can also help with the decision-making process.

It is all about you and how your career is going to fit in with your life. You may need a bit of guidance and assistance in getting there but….

…the best career decisions are those that you make and discover yourself.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

www.careerchange.blog

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

Handshake

I was recently asked if I had written a blog on starting a new job and making a good impression and was surprised to discover that, over seven years of writing about careers, I had not yet covered this topic. This month I am therefore going to write about four focus points to help you make a good impression when starting a new job.

Making a good impression

When starting a new job, you want to make a good impression. You want to be liked and do your job well. The question is, how do you do this when there are so many different aspects to starting a new job that you have yet to discover. What will the office culture be like? What will my boss/colleagues be like? How will I fit in? What will my daily routine be like?

Starting a new job is an exciting time but can also feel daunting as there is so much to think about and take in. Planning for every eventuality is an impossible task. However, what you can do to help you prepare is to think about your approach to the job and I have identified four focus points to help you:

    1. Preparation: Ensure you are prepared for your first day. What do you need to bring? What are you going to wear? Have you researched the company/organisation?
    2. You: Be open to new ways of doing things and be careful to avoid comparing your new job to your last one. It is important to be confident but not arrogant!
    3. People: Introduce yourself and spend time listening and getting to know people so you can understand more about the office culture and the way people work. Work out who you can go to for help (the things you don’t want to bother your boss with). Ask questions, but not too many.
    4. Work Routine: Throughout your first week, spend time working out the most productive way to structure your day. Be organised and write notes to help you organise the range of information you are given and remember the names of people you have met.

Managing your new job and making a good impression will be a lot easier by being prepared, organised and open to new opportunities! Most importantly, it will help you to enjoy the new experience!

 

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

www.careerchange.blog

Mums returning to work – How to achieve your desired career

mazePortfolio Career

Prior to starting a family, you had control of your career. You could work long hours if required. You could apply for the perfect job that suited you. You could go out after work without a thought. You could even go home and flop on the sofa after a bad day at work!

You then became a Mum….

A new bundle of joy entered your life and, as you settled into maternity leave, work became a distant thought as you used the time instead to start adapting to your new life.

However, as the end of maternity leave approaches, the reality starts to sink in as you begin to think about returning to work. Things are different now. Priorities have changed and there is a little person now controlling your time.

How will you be able to control your career when you have your family to think about as well? Who will be doing childcare drop off and pick up? Who will be available if your child is unwell? Who is going to do the cooking, cleaning, shopping and feeding?

It can all be quite daunting for many Mums who also want to continue working and achieve the career they always wished for.

So, how can you achieve your desired career and dedicate time to your family?

My advice is to sit down with a cup of tea (and a large slice of cake), and start preparing your 10-year career plan.

10 year goal – What do you want to be doing in 10 years? Your child will be starting secondary school so you will have much more time to dedicate to your career.

4 to 5 year goal – What can you do that helps you work towards your 10-year goal? Your child will be starting primary school so you will have more time available.

1 to 2 year goal – What can you realistically achieve around your childcare options? Perhaps you can start building a portfolio career to help you progress towards your 10 year plan? (see my portfolio career factsheet)

Now – What can you do to start preparing the way for your career path? Networking? Voluntary work?  Self-employment? Do you want to start/continue part or full time work?

It is possible to create the career you desire around your family commitments. It just may take a little more time and planning than you expected so make sure you always keep your end goal in sight.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Could a portfolio career be right for you?

maze

Imagine a career which has a purpose and uses your skills and interests.

Imagine fulfilling your desire to become self-employed, alongside part-time employment to reduce the risk of going it alone.

Imagine being able to build a career around your family life.

The portfolio career

The way we work is changing. A job is no longer for life. The increase in choice and variety in the job market together with the increase of part time and contract roles allows for individuals to be more creative and flexible when designing their career path.

We are starting to recognise that each individual has a variety of skills and interests that can suit more than one role. We are also starting to accept that an individual may have more than one job and move between jobs more frequently to enable them to rise up the career ladder, earn more money as well as to find a career that suits them and makes them happy.

The portfolio career fits into this new way of working really well.  It has many parts to it and involves an individual having two or more jobs at any one time.  The advantage of creating a portfolio career is that it can enable you to form a career to suit you.  You will be available for opportunities to fulfil different skills and interests whilst being in control of how your career balances with your lifestyle.

Is a portfolio career for you?

Since mentioning how a portfolio career could be an option for Mums returning to work in my blog ‘Mums returning to work – ‘how to achieve your desired career’, I have received numerous enquiries from those who are intrigued to find out how this could work for them.  To assist your thinking, here is an example of a portfolio career:

Jane is self-employed as a private tutor, having previously worked as a full time teacher. She also works in an employed position as a garden guide to fulfil her love of the outdoors and interest in sharing knowledge with others using skills developed whilst teaching. In her spare time, she is starting to write a book on garden design, something she has always wanted to do but has never found the time.

Is your mind now buzzing with ideas of what you would like to achieve?

What would a portfolio career be like for you?

If you wish to explore this further, start putting together your ideas of what a portfolio career would look like for you. Understand your finances so that you know what you can afford to do. Talk to people and find out what opportunities are available and to help you confirm that this is the right route for you. To maintain a portfolio career, it is important that you are able to talk to people and network. Finally, put your plan together to make it all happen and plan your time wisely so that you take on a manageable amount of work!

 If a career with purpose and flexibility sounds appealing, then perhaps the portfolio career is for you.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Five simple steps towards a career change (that you can do today!)

career-coaching

Have you been saying for months or even years that you are not happy with your job and want a career change? Do you struggle to know where to start? Do you fear change and so have ended up remaining in a role you dislike, despite your motivation decreasing daily?

You are not alone! Many individuals remain in their current role despite knowing their career aspirations are likely to be found elsewhere. They remain in these roles due to the common mistaken belief that a career change requires a big life change and therefore involves taking a big step to achieve it. This step is simply too big, unachievable and scary and so excuses are made to delay any change.

‘It is not the right time.’

‘The market isn’t good right now.’

‘It is too risky.’

You remain disappointed and unhappy, continually waiting for the right time to make this big step.

This is so frustrating for you. However, it doesn’t have to be. Let me use a quote from Lao Tzu to explain to you how to make your dream career change manageable and achievable.

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ (Lao Tzu)

All that is required of you is to take the first single step towards your career change now. Yes, it really is that easy.

Think about it, everything in life requires a first step. Why should this be any different? To get to work each day, requires you to get out of bed. To eat your meals at home, requires the purchase of food. To arrange a night out with friends, requires communication with your friends. Without these first steps, you wouldn’t get to work, eat or see your friends.

The five steps towards a career change

Let me summarise this in five simple steps:

  1. Accept that a career change does not necessarily involve one great big step.
  2. Use the above words of Lao Tzu, to frame your thoughts.

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’

  1. Decide on your first single step and do it!
  2. Once you have taken the first step, you will have the knowledge and confidence to work out the next step.
  3. Keep taking small steps until you succeed in reaching your desired career.

This journey may take months. However, you will always be moving forward and it is far easier to achieve a small first step, followed by lots of little steps, than a great big jump into the unknown. Often taking lots of small steps gets you to your goal more quickly than going for one big, difficult leap and the one that counts the most is the first single step.

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

How I made a career change possible

maze

Many people really struggle to see how a career change can be possible. Perhaps they are unhappy in their job but feel they should persevere with it. Perhaps they do not want to risk changing career for fear of failure. Perhaps they have absolutely no idea what they want to do.

I changed career and, although I did struggle at times to believe it could be possible, I am glad I persevered as I did eventually discover what I wanted to do. This is how I did it.

I initially trained in law and qualified as a family law solicitor. I was attracted to this area of law given my interest in problem solving and helping people move forward with their lives. I enjoyed tackling the challenges my caseload provided but, after a few years, my mind started wandering. I started to become more curious about the world of careers and the options available. I felt there was more for me to explore and that I might be better suited to something else, something that was really me.

After a lot of thinking time, I realised that I was not going to be able to leap into my ‘dream’ job from my current role and so I made the bold decision to save some money and take a six-month career break to enable me to experience different roles of interest to me and make a better decision about my career.

I remember one of the hardest things about making this decision was having to justify it to people. Why would I leave the certainty of my job in law? Perhaps many people wouldn’t leave their job but this decision was right for me and I always knew that I would regret not making this step. If it didn’t work out, I would return to law.

During my career break, my initial intention was to do some studying and voluntary work. My focus was on improving the lives of adults and children within the education and charity sectors.

Within a couple of months, I had completed a Foundation Course in Counselling Skills for Working with Children with Place2Be and was offered temporary paid experience working in a primary school. By the end of my six months and upon completion of my work in school, I was fortunate to secure a paid full time position as a Major Gifts Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support.

Working for Macmillan was fantastic and, through witnessing the courage of those suffering from cancer, I became even more determined to find a career I was passionate about.

It was during this time that career coaching started to feature in my mind. Given my experience of moving from the legal to the charity sector, several people approached me for career advice and guidance. I was surprised by the number of people who did not enjoy their jobs and the negative impact this was having on their lives. I started to investigate the world of career coaching and found this to be a career I wanted to do.

I established my business, Tessa Armstrong Associates, and have now been working as a career and performance coach for almost 7 years. I am using my past and present experiences and skills to improve the lives of individuals by enabling them to discover what they want to do and support them in getting there. I am also currently keeping in touch with my other interests (children, education and charity) in a voluntary capacity.

Finding this career path took a lot of research, planning and networking as I thought seriously about what I wanted to achieve. It also took a lot of perseverance to overcome the challenges and uncertainty along the way but it was all worth it. I enjoy what I do and hope my story has given you something to think about.

The biggest thing I learnt was that a career change takes time. There may be a few steps to take and decisions to make before you reach your destination. Be patient, be brave and focus on solutions.

If you do not enjoy your career, are thinking of a career change or struggling with your performance at work, have a look at my free resources here and start thinking about your next step.

Imagine a world where we all felt fulfilled, confident and excited about our career choices!

http://www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk