This feature was written by freelance writer Shelley Louise Baker
Dream career turn out to be not all you wanted? Don’t stress! We’ve caught up with two young workers, who’ve swapped plan A for plan B, to find out just why changing your career goals, especially early on, is no bad thing at all…
A year ago, Hollie Price (now 25) was working in London as Head of Department for a props company, who supplied films – including Bond blockbuster Spectre, TV, commercials and events. A role that sounds like a real ‘dream’ job. However, with her hometown of Birmingham calling and an urge to do her own thing, Hollie made the big decision to leave London behind and, using the skills she’d learnt, as well as with help from The Prince’s Trust, set up her own catering and styling company Pretty Odd Props in the Midlands.
“When I decided to move into pre-production from post-production, I felt like I was home,” she says. “Prop hire and set dressing were always something I had an interest in, so when I had an opportunity to move into it I was really excited. With my specific taste I knew I could build upon what I’d learnt, but use my own ideas to give me a USP – and if I liked what I offered, I hoped that chances were other people would. In all honesty, I always imagined working my way up in a company, but as time went on and I saw other people running their own I thought why can’t I do that?!”
“I knew about the work of The Prince’s Trust and knew that if I applied, I wanted it to be in Birmingham,” she continues. “Birmingham offered me more opportunities at the time, plus I knew that there was a gap in the market here for the kind of business I wanted to set up! I was told to consider catering by my Prince’s Trust mentor – and just went with it. The only experience I really had was that I liked food! I figured out the logistics after – now the business has a 5 food hygiene rating.”
For Hollie, turning her back on a glittering and glamorous London career wasn’t an easy decision, but as she explains, she’s really glad she made the bold move to turn her passion for props and food into a promising business and believes that we shouldn’t be afraid of changing up our career plans – especially, when we’ve made them so early on in our lives:
“I think that there is so much pressure on people nowadays to get a job in something that’s directly to do with their degree or to work their way up in a certain type of company – but how well can you really know the realities or know yourself when you’re in your late teens and early 20s?!”
“We have to make so many life decisions before we really know who we are or what we could be capable of. Our generation have many more options now: what are the chances of getting it right first time?”
Another person who knows just what it’s like to change career direction is Manette Kaisershot, who has paused her PhD studies (in Human Rights) and who had hoped to work in academia or as a charity researcher, to head up communications at ethical cosmetics company, Lush.
“I have been using the products for about 10 years and have become very brand loyal,” she says. “I also knew that they are a company that does a lot of good work for the environment. For me, working somewhere that shares the same values and ethics as I do is of paramount importance.”
After chatting to a passionate staff member in their Oxford Street store about TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), Manette felt that the company would be a great fit for her skills and speculatively sent her CV to them, even though there wasn’t any suitable vacancies at the time and it would mean putting her studies on hold.
“I think my job role as Communications Manager, fits perfectly with my education and aspirations- working in business and human rights- even though it wouldn’t have occurred to me that a role in communication could,” she explains.
So, what would they say to those of us thinking of making that scary change?
“Self-comparison is the devil,” Hollie says. “You can work your way up to this amazing job, but is it amazing to you?! I’ve worked with so many people that are on serious money, but they’re not the people you’d have a laugh with down the pub – It’s not a failure to change your mind and do something completely different!”
Manette also agrees and tells us to not be frightened into staying where we are because we feel we ‘have to’:
“As a rule, I feel that fear should never be the basis on which decisions are made! Also, while previous generations could work in a job or industry for their entire working life, the way in which people work is evolving and current generations will most likely work in several different industries and capacities and will probably also work in alternative ways- whether that be freelance, or in several jobs at once- and so a change in career will become the norm rather than an exception to the rule!”
If you liked this feature…