I know that January is the start of a new year, but writing this in September I realise that so many new things start now: next year of school, off to university, enrolling in new evening classes. It is also a time, following the summer holidays, when people consider the next stage in their careers, whether to move jobs or even change direction in their working life. Sometimes the decision is not voluntary, especially in the tough competitive working market we are experiencing in Cambridge.
Whether it's your own choice or the situation is foisted on you, the whole process of work change can be fraught with difficulties. Some people are lucky enough to have a mentor within their organisation, otherwise you have to work out the best way forward more or less on your own. Having a coach to use as a sounding board, supporter and adviser can be invaluable - that sounds immodest, but the thank-yous I get allow me to write that without blushing!
Without help, this process of changing jobs can be lengthy, time-consuming and stressful. With support, it becomes less painful, constructive and even fun. We get individuals to brainstorm things they have always wanted to do, however impractical - often beginning with the words "in an ideal world I would ……." Combined with the insight into what aspects of present or past jobs have been most enjoyable, this provides good guidelines and direction. We also look at no-go possibilities. Of course people have to be practical and take mortgages and responsibilities into account, but looking at the much bigger picture lets you consider different and exciting options. None of this is proscriptive, but it allows the next stage to take place, ensuring that your CV reflects not only your actual educational and work experiences but also your specific strengths and 'unique selling points'!
Tightening up and formatting CV's is as much a skill as making a presentation or interviewing well and these can all be honed with a coach. It is important to have someone to chivvy you gently but firmly when you are applying for jobs, to debrief after interviews, to support you to make telephone and follow up calls and above all to encourage you to remain focused and as confident and up-beat as possible. Alternatives are out there for you somewhere, as long as you invest time and energy challenging yourself and looking for them, and remember - you needn't do it all on your own.
We would like to thank you for your practical advice and sensitive support which was much needed and hugely appreciated by both of us. Thank goodness we found you and managed as civilised a separation as possible – we are so grateful, both for ourselves and for our children.