2015 New year’s resolution: Career
As a family we already knew that we would leave Australia to go back to Europe where ou family is, where our kids and parents could enjoy each other company more and where my parents could find new professional challenges to motivate him and provide a good solution to his early midlife crisis.
So as early as November 2013, I told my manager I was thinking of leaving by July 2014.
One defining moment was when, during a performance review, my boss told me:
“not everyone can become a CEO”.
When you graduate from a business school which Alumni includes the CEO of L’Oreal or the current President of the French Republic, you think only sky is the limit. I wasn’t dreaming of becoming CEO but still, it was such a shock to hear that.
Then what she meant was that trying to reach those positions wouldn’t make me happy. The lifestyle, the type of decisions, the content of the work, the pressure won’t suit me and honestly what is it for? More money, a more prestigious status, more challenge I can handle? Not worth sacrificing my current beautiful life fulfilled with kids, family, friends and fun. So what we did with my boss was to extract what is it I love doing and do naturally well to try and find a job where I can solely rely on those strengths. As a prep work I used various books and tests to figure out how I’m different in the way I work:
- Strengthfinder allows you to determine the 5 natural talents you do better than anyone else and that you love doing in your everyday life. Mine are: Harmony, Activator, Communication, Positivity, Woo. The book is like $25 and gives you an access code to do the test. It’s worth the 25 bucks, trust me.
- Finding your element, by Sir Ken Robinson provides a few framework to figure out if you’re currently spending your time as you wish today, allocating more time to the things you are passionate about or if there is anything you need to change. I figured out I have to try new things to know what I really like. I also decided what I really love doing is to meet people and help them, provide something useful to them.
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). You have probably done it, several times even. It describes your style preference along 4 major dimensions. From there you can figure out the best types of jobs for you. It is $5 for the test on that particular website, I didn’t mind paying then, I’m sure you can google “free Myers Briggs MBTI tests”. Unfortunately my style is not clear cut. When I started my career as a Management Consultant I was an ENTJ. Of course! Now with time I shifted to a ES something something. Extravert and Sensing at 70% vs Introvert and Intuition BUT the two other dimensions: Feeling vs Thinking and Judging vs Perceiving came at 50% vs each. So here are the various combination that could apply to my profile:
So after all these exercises, what I clearly saw was
- I care about people and I am motivated by helping them succeed or achieve something
- I get energy from meeting new people and spending time with friends
- I love connecting people whether it’s match making or business synergies
- I have impact when I tell stories or write, which I enjoy doing (hence this blog). I’m good with aesthetics and what would work commercially
- 15 years consumer marketing experience in Blue Chip companies allowed me to develop a wide range of hard skills that I can use to complement many types of leaders/ entrepreneurs, from analytics to creative
- I still want to spend time with my kids while they are young. It’s time I won’t get back and I want to make the most of it i.e. be available during all school holidays.
I’m now in Zurich where German is still a challenge for me so I started doing what I could do and enjoyed doing naturally, meet with other French speaking mums. From there opportunities came up and with hard work, dedication and genuine interest I feel it’s the beginning of something that can grow bigger.
The beauty of being self employed is that I can spend time with my kids and make sure they are adapting well to their new environment and feel secure.
This also had a positive impact on my health: no more air con, I choose who I want to work with, plenty of time to play tennis and take dance class, more time laughing with friends, the husband and the kids. Read my 2015 New Year Health Resolutions.
Here’s another post where my friend and established blogger Christine Knight shares how she made a career change.
FAST FORWARD 6 months after I wrote this post: I figured out one thing I’m doing well and love doing is Managing Facebook accounts.