Career Changes: Do You Have What It Takes To Do Something New?

Apr 24, 2020

Interviews & Inspiration | Lauranne Heres As many of us end up working in jobs that have little to do with what we studied; or find ourselves daydreaming about a different life, the answer might just be: make a change. But it can be daunting to leave everything behind and start afresh. While some of us feel like that is the best way forward, others decide to start small, and do something on the side.

Here we talk to three brave people who have decided to take the plunge!

Tim, 32, lives in London and is a commercial airline pilot who happens to sell quirky merchandise on the side. “I’ve always wanted to be a pilot ever since I visited the flight deck on my first flight as a child.” He went on to study Geography at University and then started working for EasyJet and later British Airways. The idea for Pilot Timo Art came after helping out at an Education Centre at Stansted Aerozone, talking about STEM and being a pilot. “I have always had an arty side to me, but rarely got to use it so I got creative with the presentation graphics and people said they were really good so I decided to try and create more and sell my designs online.” “I get my ideas from travelling and retro airline designs and artwork. I currently design everything on Photoshop, though I am teaching myself how to use Illustrator. I design the artwork, and then society6 makes the items. No cost to me and I earn royalties.” He stumbled on society6 while googling how to put his designs on products to sell them and decided to try it as it had good reviews and was not going to cost him a penny to try.

“I make some money, not much, but at the same time I could do more to advertise and market my products. That does require more time and effort on my part though. I have since seen at least one colleague with one of my phone case designs. They took out their phone and I saw the case and I asked where they got it from and then realised it was one of my designs!” While Tim would never give up flying, this certainly allows him to put all his traveling to good use and is a great escape on days where he’s at home. Find Pilot Timo Art on Facebook and on his Society6 page.

Louise, 31, from Birmingham, spent the past five years working for a newspaper. She studied Journalism and Creative Writing at University, then worked in various publishing jobs including as a marketing assistant, production editor and assistant editor. “This year I decided to move away from journalism, which I’d done for the last decade, and changed career, joining the British Transport Police as a crime recorder.” As a child, she first wanted to become a teacher, then thought about becoming a police officer for most of her teenage years. However, she quickly realised children could be tough to deal with, and friends and family warned her against joining the force as it could also be a tough job. After being in the journalism industry for more than 10 years, she found her passion for literature was fading. “I struggled to find pleasure in reading and writing for leisure since this was my job. I’d be so busy writing up a feature or proofreading news articles to a deadline that by the time I got home I didn’t want to look at any books or pick up a pen. I also found I was no longer pushing myself; I’d gotten too comfortable in my work and was no longer using my brain; it was too easy. By changing career, I’ve moved out of my comfort zone, I’m challenging myself again and helping victims of crime. I’ve also reignited my passion for writing and take pleasure in reading books again!”

Louise chose the British Transport Police as it policies all the railways and underground - a territory she’s remarkably familiar with since she’s a born and bred Londoner. She likes the fact that as opposed to local police, the BTP covers the whole of the UK, which makes the job more interesting. “A sergeant was in my interview, but he was very friendly and took the pressure off for me slightly. There were lots of competency-based questions, but no physical assessment as I wasn’t applying for an officer role, but police staff. The vetting process was very lengthy and there was a lot of paperwork and form filling before I even started the job. The whole process took more than two months.” Does she miss her old job? Not really, and she’s barely had the time to think about it amidst all the skills and systems she’s had to learn. She says training has been intense, but really enjoyable. The uniform is quite a novelty too, but it makes everyone look professional. “I find it amusing that I’ve moved from the newsroom to the police - especially as the two don’t often get along. Before it would be my job as a journalist to try and get the police to release stories and information, now I’m on the other side - protecting the identity of victims and remaining wary of the media especially for major incidents!” Liz, 34, from Worcester, works in marketing and has a small baking business on the side. When she was little, she wanted to be a nurse, probably because there were nurses in her family. At university she studied Film Studies with English Literature which she loved. “Since Uni I've had a series of jobs from call centres to bar work, marketing to office manager. My two years living in Australia also saw me doing a lot of varied roles from receptionist and night manager in a hostel to fruit picking and photographing kids at a Santa's grotto.” Marketing has been her most consistent career as it’s what she was doing before she went to Australia and what she returned to. She started her baking business LizHeartBakes as an escape from working for someone else. “It has allowed me to be a bit more in control of my destiny and is an amazing creative outlet.”

She loves her full-time job so she’s not looking to give that up any time soon. She doesn’t want her baking business to become a chore or to stop being enjoyable. Did she know how to bake beforehand? She’s always known how to do the basics as her mum always made everything from scratch, so she picked it up from her, as well as her grandmother. “For specific skills such as Swiss Meringue buttercream, I've followed online tutorials, but for Macaroons I did a class. I've taken a few other classes such as sugar flowers and cake pops, but otherwise just lots of practice!” She’s part of some great Facebook business groups both cake-related and not, and she’s already invested in learning new skills. “I have no idea what I'll be doing in 10 years’ time, but I think that's quite exciting! I have lots of long-term and short-term goals for how I want to grow and where I want to be. It's become a very crowded market, but that actually makes me more determined to be successful in the ways I want to be.” “My first customer was actually a friend of my husband. I've had a few orders from friends and family, but a lot of it is word of mouth. I ran a competition when I started my Facebook page which really helped with growing my audience. I think offering products that are slightly different and photographed well is key. I have a few repeat customers now as well as one off orders.” She’s currently creating a website, but it's not quite finished yet. To find LizHeartBakes, you can go on Facebook and Instagram.