After 13 great years at the same company, I decided to invest in myself and took a year out.
It was one of the best decisions of my life. A year of bonding with my family, recharging my batteries and reinventing myself.
When I was working, I would leave the house before my children got out of bed and arrive home when they were tired and ready to go back to it.
Now I was there when they left for school and when they came back home. My children loved this extra time we had together.
Whilst they were at school, I kept myself busy working on personal projects that had been on my backlog for years.
I wrote some online software – swiftsay.com. This taught me that I could still cut some great code, but was not a career I wanted to return to.
I attended a free two day personal performance coaching certificate course in London run by the coaching academy.
I thought the course was going to be like a time share event where they lock you in a room until you part with your hard earned cash.
But the course exceeded my expectations. I learnt some basic coaching skills, began coaching some people on the course and made some great friends.
The only time they talked about the diplomas and the cost is at lunchtime on the second day. If you wanted to attend, you attended.
I left the event buzzing and the following week signed up for the formal diploma training.
I have coached small business owners, corporate directors as well as people looking to grow their careers. There is nothing like the feeling you get as a coach when you see your clients achieve their goals or have an aha realisation moment.
One of my favourite quotes from a client was one who told me that I had put the head back on the chicken. A few weeks later she sent me a photo of her on Sky TV promoting her new start-up.
I also started blogging and became hooked.
I blogged about questions that people had asked me over the last 13 years i.e.
- How do I get a pay rise?
- How do I get promoted?
- How do I get noticed?
I did a post each week and shared it on LinkedIn. I really enjoy sharing stories of my experience – the good, the bad and the ugly.
During Christmas I stopped blogging for a few weeks and received some enlightening emails on LinkedIn on how people really valued my posts to the extent that one person told me how a post had helped her get promoted.
Wow, what a motivator to get started again.
Recruitment agents pay attention
As my year off came to an end, I started thinking about getting a job again. Well someone had to pay the mortgage.
I decided I wanted a job that was not as senior as before. This would allow me to spend less time at work and find time to continue blogging and coaching.
It was difficult as I kept being dismissed by the agents for the roles advertised as my previous role was too senior.
It was frustrating as I knew I had the skills to do the roles.
I think this is definitely an area that the tick boxing agencies need to think about.
Out of the blue I received a message on LinkedIn. It was from an internal recruiter. He told me how he was an avid reader of my posts and saw my status change to looking for opportunities.
Yeah right I thought, this was just a sales pitch. But as we spoke more, he shared how he was applying some techniques I had shared and how they were working out for him.
He asked me whether I would be interested in a few roles he was recruiting for.
Well 3 interviews later, I got the job.
It is also a job that allows me time to coach and continue blogging.
A win, win situation.
During my career break, I learnt a lot about myself, what I love to do, my future direction and the importance of social content and extending your online network.
Where could happen if you started blogging today?