Notes from last night - "How to Fast-Track Your Career Change & Feel In Charge of the Process"

photo 4Last night 60 Escape the City members packed out an Escape School event at Adam Street Entrepreneurs Club (just off the Strand in London), to hear Rikke Hansen give a fantastic talk and Q&A about career change.

Rikke runs a career change consultancy which helps ambitious professionals with career change and entrepreneurship. She thinks of it as management consulting for your career.

She has worked with over 500 clients, been a business owner for 8 years+ and comes from a background in HR at Morgan Stanley, Shell and Citigroup.

What did we learn?

1. What is your “what”?

  • We can all break ourselves down into a few different buckets: A) The thing that we’d do even if no one paid us to do it, B) The area that we’re working in at the moment (i.e. our sector or specialist subject), C) Our job description (i.e. regardless of our industry or specialism – what tasks does our role actually consist of?
  • We need to be able to take our whole selves to work. If we aren’t doing what we like doing across A, B and C above – we’re not going to enjoy our work. People get ill when they can’t be themselves at work.

2. Stop self sabotaging!

  • We need to stop starting the search for our next move externally. We need to stop calling recruitment consultants and scanning job boards and expecting the perfect job to just be presented to us.
  • Job ads just make us feel awful because we often don’t feel like we have any of the skills they are advertising for (especially if we’re planning a big career change).
  • Instead we need to figure out what our “what” is and then take that out to the market.
  • We need to tell people and employers and organisations what we have got and what we can offer – rather than trying to fit their pre-existing boxes.
  • We need to avoid the trap of “all or nothing thinking”. Job to No Job /  Job to Building Our Business Full Time / Accountant to Nurse / Lawyer to Journalist. It doesn’t have to be that extreme and we don’t have to do it all at once.
  • One of the biggest things Rikke has learned is that a large percent of people don’t need that much of a career change – they simply need a new boss or a refocus or a change of environment (not a change of profession or job description).
  • She made the distinction between Overlying F (your work situation or the office culture) and Underlying Factors (fundamental things to do with your profession).
  • It may be that we are really well suited to our jobs… but the situation or context or environment just doesn’t work for us. Often people transition into similar job “functions” but in vastly different contexts and feel much happier.

3. Too much research – not enough contact with people

  • New, exciting opportunities come via other people. For the most part they don’t come via job boards.
  • Yes I know Escape the City has a job board – that’s why I know it is true. Yes people find exciting opportunities online and apply for them and some people get them – but the vast majority of opportunities will come via your network – not via something you stumble across online. Get out. Meet people.
  • Networking isn’t awkward conversations with over-bearing people. Networking is simply connecting with people you actually want to connect with.
  • Identify the three things you’re super passionate about. Go to those Meetups. Not your sector specific ones, the ones based around your interests. Rikke meets loads of new clients at Raw Vegetable Juice meetups and Yoga meetups.

Other gems of wisdom…

  • “The right time is a state of mind. There is never a right time unless you make it so.” – Rikke Hansen (TM!)
  • If you had a year left to live (but still had to work through that year) would you be doing what you are doing today? If the answer is no, then that’s all you need to know.
  • There’s only one thing Rikke wants for herself and that’s to live a life without regrets. I thought that was a pretty good thing to want.
  • If your career change doesn’t work out and you have to go and do something else or you have even more information than you had before. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
  • Mistakes are all about storytelling. People love hearing stories about failure. If it didn’t work out, what are the selling points of what happened?
  • Do you want a CV or do you want a really amazing tombstone?
  • CVs with interesting stories get looked at. Those people get invited to interviews. People who started businesses that didn’t work out get asked to interviews – as long as they can tell a compelling story around the experience.

Massive thank you to Rikke for an incredibly engaging and energetic talk – it was inspirational and hilarious and impactful in equal measure. Please come back soon!

Find out more about Rikke here:

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Final word from Escape the City

You aren’t going to make your career change or start your business by thinking about it. You’re going to do it by taking small steps in the direction of your goals.

Don’t have any goals yet?

Don’t worry.

Start taking small steps in lots of directions (without quitting your job) and see what you discover (about yourself and the world). The key is that you take actions – rather than living through 100s of scary scenarios in your head.

If we were doctors treating you for “feeling stuck on your career change plans” our prescription would be as follows: stop the all or nothing thinking (rich/poor, happy/miserable, success/failure) and take the pressure off by leaving the actual resignation on the shelf for now. All you have to do is: Learn, Experiment, and Network.

Exposing yourself to new ideas (learning), new experiences (experimenting) and new people (networking) is the best way of opening yourself up to new possibilities. And you can do ALL of this without quitting your job.

Escapees often say they feel like fate is rewarding them for making the leap.

We think the reality is far more straightforward, they are simply doing the scary work of trying new things and, through that, discovering potential new paths.

What did you learn?

What did you take away from the event? Do share your main thoughts in the comments. What do you still want to know? Ask Rikke, Rob or Leah any follow-up questions or leave us feedback in the comments.

If you enjoyed last night, we’d love to see you at another event:

What is Escape the City all about then?

Frustrated by climbing the corporate ladder, we decided to build a community to help people build meaningful careers doing work that matters – to them and to the world. We help talented people find fulfilling work by making big career changes, building businesses, & going on big adventures. We’d love you to come with us on this journey.

How do you get involved?

1. Job Seeker? Create an Escape Profile to get matched to exciting jobs.

2. Aspiring Career Changer / Entrepreneur? If you’re in London, come and see us at The Escape School.

3. Want to stay in touch? Subscribe to one of our newsletters. Find us on Facebook or @escthecity.

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