I want a career change

I am the mum of a three-year-old son. My husband works full time as a financial advisor and I work 4 days a week with a company I have been with for many years, in their finance divison. I have good qualifications, having passed all my ACCA exams, but I am not confident. I have got to the point where I am not even sure I want to continue in my role as a finance analyst, or even remain within finance. I often look to see what roles are available on the internet, but I can’t afford to take a pay cut either. There are many roles I feel interested in, but I don’t have the relevant experience or qualifications. I’m not against the idea of retraining or learning a new skill, but I worry how I will fit it into already hectic lifestyle. And then the concern is whether it will even open up any more opportunities. Any guidance you can provide will be received gratefully.

I’m sorry to hear that you are not having a good time at work and not enjoying it. You are doing the right thing questioning your job if it is having an effect on your own wellbeing both at work and at home where you have got your most important job raising your son. No job is worth risking your health for!

Before, I ask loads of questions about your job, organisation etc., have you heard of ‘Imposter Syndrome’? This is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud. I would say it is something I sometimes struggle with too. Loads more information can be found on Wikipedia and a through a great article in the Telegraph. There are loads of ideas how to deal with ‘Imposter Syndrome’ leading to you accepting that you have got to where you are in your career through hard work and determination, not luck and you deserve what you have achieved.

If you feel that this could account for how you are feeling, or even not, do you have anyone you trust at work to share your concerns? Perhaps a colleague, a manager, HR? Does your organisation have an employee assistance programme at all?

Ok, so onto the more practical help… you need to think about what exactly is it about your job that you are not liking. Is it your role? If so, what specifically? Is it your boss? Your colleagues? The finance division? The organisation? If you were to carry on within the finance department, would some additional finance training help? You passed all your exams, so that tells me that you know your stuff as ACCA exams are not easy! Could you perhaps ask for a mentor within the department to build up your confidence?

I see there may be other roles that you could be interested in. Have you conducted your research on these jobs? Will what you do not like about your finance analyst job be solved by choosing a different path? It might be worth identifying some people in the jobs you like the look of, maybe through LinkedIn or ask around friends and family to see if they know anyone in those professions. Once you have found people who could help, arrange to speak to them about how they got into their role and what the pros and cons are and what type of skills, experience and qualifications are required to get started. Please ensure you are getting as much advice and guidance as possible before drastically changing your career.

Perhaps a middle ground would be looking into how a different role in the organisation might solve your problem. Could you ask to see if your organisation were amenable to you perhaps exploring other options internally? Are there any opportunities to perhaps have a slightly different role maybe, something that relates to your current work, like in procurement & supply chain or business analysis or even a management training programme?

If you have done all your research and reflection and find that a career change is in order, please don’t feel like you have wasted your time pursuing a financial career. You’ll have learned lots of transferable skills. Using me as an example, everyone is always surprised how much statistics and data analysis is involved in my work as a business psychologist! I wish you the best of luck and hope you feel better and more fulfilled in your work life soon.

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