What took you into Tax to start with?
I was studying Finance and Economics at University and wasn’t sure exactly which career I wanted in the finance sector. I applied for a graduate program at a global consulting firm and ended up in a niche area of Tax.
Were there any bits of it you did enjoy?
I enjoyed working at a global firm and working with various prestigious clients. I enjoyed the importance placed on client service.
When did you realise you needed to make a career change?
I was 5 years into this career and had relocated cities with a new employer, however I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. There was no room for creativity, new ideas or strategic thinking.
I really enjoyed communicating with people and understanding the big picture in an organisation and my then role limited exposure to both. My former role was about understanding minute details and communication was filtered through a hierarchy.
In addition, the environment I was working in had a culture that didn’t align with my values. I wanted to work in a team that was happy, where people were supported and appreciated and treated with courtesy. I knew that to achieve my full potential and have a rewarding and fulfilling career, something had to change.
What steps did you take from there?
I started researching career changes online. As I worked in quite a niche area, I really didn’t think it was possible to change careers without starting at the bottom and taking a significant pay cut. I was concerned my years of experience would count for nothing.
It was then that I came across a career coach specialising in career change. I booked my first session with the career coach and started the process. The advice and process the career coach provided me with was invaluable and as my ideal career was identified, I was engaged and excited to pursue my new career.
The career coach helped me to identify which skills were transferable to my new career, and shortly after commencing the process I started my first role in HR. I then also started studying my Masters in HR and found that working in the field helped my studies, and studying HR enriched my work. The first 18 months were a period of great learning and prepared me to take on more senior roles over time.
What things were most helpful in changing career?
The most helpful questions for me during the career change process were to consider what tasks or experiences I really enjoyed and aligned with my values and look for roles and organisations that align.
In addition, examining my existing skill set revealed that I had transferable skills I wasn’t even aware of. Identifying these skills is key to pivoting between careers.
What kinds of things held you back?
My peers thought it was crazy to leave a prestigious firm to pursue something unknown. The fear of failure crept in sometimes along with the fear of having to start at the bottom again.
However, when I considered the amount of time I spend at work and the longevity of my career to retirement age, it was too much of a missed opportunity to continue being unfulfilled and unhappy.
Tell us about what you’re doing now?
I commenced my career change 5 years ago. In the past 5 years I have had the privilege of doing interesting and rewarding work, connecting with a wonderful community of people in my field, learning from inspiring leaders and progressing into more interesting and impactful roles.
I successfully completed my Masters and today work in leadership positions where I have the opportunity to lead others. I also work as a Sessional Academic at the university I studied at and volunteer with an industry body.
What advice would you give people thinking of making their own career change?
Change is scary, and there are always risks. However, with the guidance and support of a career coach the opportunities are limitless.
We each have unique talents and in the right environment and career can achieve amazing things. Life is so much better and happier with a rewarding career.