Why I am helping organise the Alt. Career Festival

Quentin Johns is Head of Sales and Marketing at Hub Westminster (ex-conjurer and international retail manager) – he writes below about why he’s helping to organise the Alternative Career Festival in London on September 15th, which you can check out here

Here at the Hub Westminster…

I share a very similar story to many of my work mates.

Until January of this year I was working in a job that I liked, one that I was good at and luckily for me, one that paid well.

I did however always have this little niggling feeling that it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do.

I felt there was something out there that would fit a little better, fit my self image, my morals and my life goals more seamlessly than what I was doing then.

Don’t get me wrong

My job was amazing, in many respects.

I was the international manager of one of the world’s largest retailers of Magic products. I lived my life between London and New York with occasional trips to Dublin or Hong Kong and had good friends in all of them.

However, I knew that there was something else waiting for me, so in mid-2011, after a year of thinking about it, I forced myself to take the thought seriously and I handed in my 6 months’ notice.

I only wish now that I had known…

About Escape the City or Careershifters, about inspirational speakers like Rob Wilson or Mat Powell!

I wish I had had a careers coach like Phil Bolton, or advice on my CV from Julian at I Am Enterprise.

I am sure if I had:

1. I would have made the move a lot sooner.

2. It probably wouldn’t have taken me 3 months to find the job I had been yearning for.

In April 2012 I started work at Hub Westminster as the Head of Sales and Marketing. Here I meet people on a daily basis that inspire me and push me forward and introduce me to new exciting ideas.

I feel rewarded because in helping them I am contributing to a community of change makers and together we are up scaling our impact and each other’s ideas.

I made a promise to myself

A month after I started here (a month after getting up in the morning had become an exciting prospect again and work had become something I really wanted to talk about), I promised that I would help two of my friends change careers by the end of the year.

I wasn’t sure which two or how I would do it, but I knew I wanted to.

Surrounded by an enthusiastic team and people with similar stories we came up with this – The Alternative Careers Festival – a springboard for finding out what services there are out there to help you do it.

We are inviting you to join the conversation with people just like yourself and people that have already made the move. We want to introduce you to the tools you will need and the advice that you didn’t realise was available. To help us do this we need to hear from you.

We want to know

  • What you do – and why you want to change your job?
  • Have you already changed jobs?
  • If you did, how did you do it?
  • Most importantly, we want to know what you would like most out of an event like this… more inspiring talks? More workshops? Or more of a chance to network? You tell us, so that we can facilitate a conversation that you want to be a part of.

To make a lasting change, we need more and better people than I, to commit to it – it may not be the answer but the Alt. Careers fest feels like a good first step.

  • Adele

    Thanks Quentin! I’m actually prepping right now for an event we’re holding on career change: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3881052332
    Here are some responses I’ve just been reading from the pre-event survey – they might help:

    “I want strategies for:
    – Working out where my key strengths best fit into the career landscape
    – Identifying a good starting point for change
    – Exploring different options ‘safely’”

    Some pressing questions (these might be too specific for this, but still..):

    “1. How to deal with the common issue of being too exhausted and unmotivated during the day at your current job to find the energy to research new areas of work in the evening? How do you know if you can change jobs and what you are suited for?

    2. If you really feel lost and have no idea what else you could do (and you have already given it a lot of thought and are panicking about it) what can you do about this?

    3. Are contacts in other professions the only way to move around if you don’t want to go in to anything new at a slightly junior level?

    4. Where do I start? How do I figure out what the right career is for me?

    5. What do I do if I don’t know what I really want to do?

    6. What do I do to identify my passions/area I should work in? What can I do with my existing skill-set?

    7. How long can the process take?

    8. I feel dissatisfied in my career – I don’t feel I am serving any purpose and I think that’s driving the dissatisfaction so I am keen to find out what I need to do to address this. What questions should I be asking myself to help me move forwards?

    9. What is your earning potential with a career change? What other factors should you consider when changing careers?

    10. Do you have to start at the bottom?

  • http://www.hubwestminster.net Quentin Johns

    Thanks Adel,

    This is really useful! I would also Like to add some context to why a more general shift in the what people are working towards is so important and relevant at the moment by sharing another blog post a meber of ours Karl H Richter wrote http://karlhrichter.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/social-investing-fixing-capitalism-with-capitalism/#more-867

    I look forward to seeing lots of people at the event.

    Speak soon


  • http://londoniknow.wordpress.com Lola

    Hi, I am coming to an event. I work in Financial Services, and I’d like to move to doing something more meaningful than selling bank products. I feel that I can and should do more. In the UK, I only worked in Financial Services, so I am not sure what else is out there. I looked at the agenda of the event, it covers adventure, starting own business and moving to charity sector well. How about cross industry move, eg from Finance into Digital or Media, or from Finance into teaching. Is it even possible? How? What should be the next steps? For me, inspiration is there, I need information on what’s possible and available, as well as guidance in terms of the next steps. Thanks and see you on the 15th!

    • Adele

      Thanks Lola – I’ve passed on your comment to Quentin. He’s away next week but he should see it when he’s back! Thanks again.

    • http://inspiringadventures.co.uk Richard Brownsdon

      Hi Lola,

      I’m involved with organising the Alt Career Festival, and I hear what you are saying. We’ll have some career coaches here on the day for one on one sessions, so that you can talk through specific questions. If you arrive early, you can sign up for a 25minute session with one of them.

      All the best,