Look Up, Look Back, Look Inside, Look Around

My name is Clara Lawrence and I am a Career Changer…

Is there a support group for Career Changers? Should I start one?
My head is so busy that it feels like a tumble dryer stuck on a never-ending cycle, churning ideas, fears and desires. I seem unable to open the door and take one single item out, every time I open the door, just the tiniest bit, everything comes crashing out and I have to forcibly tuck it away again. It’s been a week of turmoil, but I have worked a few things out…

Look Up

Yesterday evening I was going out for dinner and left the house at 6.15pm to go to the station. I hummed my way along the road, loving the warm spring sunshine, forgetting that this was home time for commuters. As I arrived at the station, two train loads of people were flushed out through the entrance. I had no choice but to stand back and let them go. Heads down, barging their way to the oyster card scanner, never thinking that someone might be going the other way. A miserable herd of grey, tired and grumpy work cattle. If there is one thing that spurs me on, it is moments like this. It took less than 30 seconds to pan out in front of me, but was enough to make me realise that I am not ready to go back to that. This feeling was reinforced by the ‘Look Up’ video that went viral on social media this week. A new take on my old friend W.H. Davies’ poem ‘Leisure’ – he was clearly a man well ahead of his time.

Look Back

On Tuesday I finished my mentor training with Mum Plus Mum and pretty soon I will be introduced to a mentee. The prospect is scary. When you don’t have your own life under control it is hard to imagine being a voice of reason for someone else. Our training has been emotional as we have been getting prepared for what lies ahead, but the last session was meant to end on a high. The topic was goal-setting and achievement. I realised that, for me, the essence of this career change so far has been the freedom not to set goals. I follow my heart and follow what interests me. Our trainer used lots of imagery about climbing mountains, false summits and plateaus, but the real joy in climbing mountains is surely to look back – to see the view, where you’ve been and what you have achieved.

Look Inside

The fears in my tumble-dryer mind are the items that fall out of the door most often. Like spare socks making a break for it. I am fearful that no Big Idea will ever come and that I will be forced back into the workhouse. I fear that I have let my family down, by not continuing to take the pay cheques. I fear that the work happiness I seek is at the end of the rainbow and totally unobtainable. The fears are inside me so I hope the answers are inside me too. I want the next stage of my Career Change Project to be less busy, and more reflective to give myself a chance to connect with my old dreams and ideas.

Look Around

I am spending too much time working alone at my kitchen desk and need a new spark, so next week I plan to launch the next phase of Project Me by meeting someone new or going somewhere new every day.
All ideas welcome!


6 Thoughts on “Look Up, Look Back, Look Inside, Look Around

  1. Gina on May 19, 2014 at 1:38 am said:

    Here I am, 02.27 am, unable to sleep with the ‘worry’ of having not worked for a year! Like you, I had enough of what I saw as the unrealistic corporate world. I looked at the grey, tired faces (including my own) and decided “life’s too short” – yes, it’s now a cliche but, to me, so true! I am now pondering what to do next – do I want to go back to delivering workshops to people who have been told to be there and want to just use me as a sponge to absorb their frustrations? Am I brave enough to take the leap of faith to continue my coaching development? Shall I rent out my house and move in with my partner and continue in this unreal bubble? Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased to have stepped away from corporate life – I am just not sure where my next step should be and, after 12 months, that kind of frustrates me. I agree with you about goal setting and following your heart as that is what I have been doing. I have, however, come to the conclusion that, for me at any rate, I do need to start setting some goals in order to move forward towards something better even though I am not sure what “something better” looks like.

    • This is why I think it is important to look back. Any time I feel I am having a ‘wobble’ I think to myself ‘is this better than a year ago’ and as long as that answer is yes, then I am getting there. The only problem is that I am also starting to feel that there might not be an end point, maybe the real pleasure is never getting ‘there’!

      • Gina on May 19, 2014 at 8:39 am said:

        I ask myself the same question and, thus far (and I think it always will be) the answer is ‘yes’. I can see other people’s eyebrows raise when they know what I have done ….. “You’ve given up your job? What are you going to do? And you haven’t got another job”? Initially that made me ‘wobble’ – why am I doing something many people tend not to do (my perception anyway)? Now, though, I just tell people “I’m on sabbatical”.

        • ‘Sabbatical’ always sounds so relaxing though! Something you and I don’t appear to be doing much :)
          I tell people I am working on a project, and if they ask me what it is I say ‘Me!’

  2. Hi Clara,
    I came to your blog through street life. I thought it was very nice of you to post such nice words of encouragement! I too left my job of 15 years (should I better say the job left me, the school I was working at closed :() and decided to do something related to my passion, education, but different and flexible. The road up to know has been full of adventures, peeking and finally venturing out of my comfort zone (still need to work on that) but many many self doubt moments, lonely days sitting at my sitting room table and well just all the things you mentioned. Also like you, I don’t feel I can go to any networking meetings since I don’t really know if I fit the profile; I have so many questions about my “business” and how to really make it happen and I have no clue of what to do or who to talk with about it!! my poor, very supportive husband and children have been great! but I also feel I cannot fail this.
    Thanks for having this blog!

    • Thank you for your kind words Josefina, and great to hear your story too. I had a look at your website and it seems you have the makings of a very good business so you should certainly feel comfortable about going along to networking events and seeing what development advice you can pick up along the way. Take a deep breath and go.
      You have a passion and a skill, that seem (happily) to be aligned, so try not to think about failing. When you love what you do I am sure it will shine through. Good luck!

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