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Jo Bristow

Connor Consultancy

Training Services Delivery Expert

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Are you in the driving seat of your career?


According to a survey conducted by the Association of Accounting Technicians in 2018, British workers will spend an average of 3,515 full days at work throughout their lifetime.  The survey also found the average British worker travels 94,192 miles to and from their workplace, spending 14,053 hours commuting.  The changes to the world of work in the last year has brought this top of mind to many, resulting in more people having a real career epiphany and re-assessing whether what they do at work fulfils them in ways deeper than just financially.    

Further to this, the pandemic has led people to review their current profession’s resilience to external forces, as well as meeting their personal needs.  Whilst we can argue that no one could have foreseen the impact of the pandemic, on many industries it has certainly led people to reconsider their career options.  They are often looking for alternatives that provide a more stable and robust future, as well as increased flexibility in how and when they work. 

Changing career direction at any time can be challenging.  During a global pandemic, it can be even more daunting, whether it is by choice or as a result of redundancy.  It can be tempting to jump to the first new opportunity that comes along, but that may not be the best long-term move. Career coaching services can be a vital support to ensure any change is fully considered, and that it is the right one for the person and their family.

But how can career coaching services support people?

  1. Proactively managing your career - Many of us drift into career pathways by chance or luck without a clear direction of travel and can experience feelings of being ‘stuck’ career-wise.  Proactively exploring WHAT is individually important to us at work and our career drivers can help us feel in control of our own career rather than being directed by life events or organisational change. 
  2. Exploring career options – This includes WHEN you would like to realise your career goals.  These may be improving your career progression in an existing organisation, developing your career after a period away from work as a result of furlough, to become a parent or perhaps as a result of a period of ill health.  Understanding our career drivers and working with a career coach can help us identify future options and set goals and an action plan to realise any change. 
  1. One of the options many want to explore is a change in career direction - This could be a similar role in a new industry or sector or a complete re-skill into a new area which can take more planning and a longer time scale to realise.  Having the support of a career coach during this significant transition can mean the difference between success and failure.  They can support with the practical aspects of refocussing a CV to pull out transferrable skills and knowledge, accessing job search tools, and maintaining confidence and momentum during the period of transition. 
  1. Realign your working life and personal priorities - The pandemic has led people to re-evaluate how their work and personal lives intertwine.  Who wants to spend the time and cost of commuting those 94,192 miles when many can effectively fulfil the responsibilities of your role from home and achieve a better home/ work-life balance?

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies briefing note (published in Sept 2020), one in eight older workers (13%) have already changed their planned retirement age as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  Later retirement is now the plan for around 8%, most commonly those with a pension fund that has fallen in value, and those working from home.  Meanwhile, 5% wish to retire earlier than planned. This is more common among richer households and those on furlough.

Those who are further down their career pathway often do not retire in the traditional way anymore.  Many look for retirement transition services to support them with this significant life transition, often called the ‘third age,’ taking a more staggered approach to leaving the workplace.  They use a retirement coach to explore options such as a move to consultancy or part-time hours, perhaps a different type of work, perhaps on a portfolio basis in a more proactive way, rather than a harsh segregation of finishing work and starting retirement.    

Retirement brings a need for significant psychological realignment which is hard to navigate alone. Support from a coach offering retirement transition support helps people understand what is important to them in their next stage, how their identity shifts once they leave their ‘traditional work’ and how to set goals and an action plan to realise their retirement vision.

Any significant change in career whether that is voluntary or as a result of external factors is an emotional journey.  Some of us go through this quicker than others and some of us can get stuck at points and need an impartial helping hand to keep us focussed.  Having a safe space to explore our emotions around the change and get practical help and guidance is key.  Together with a tangible action plan to help us remain motivated and moving forward with our vision for the future, is where career and retirement coaching add huge value.  But what these services do is enable YOU to be the driver of your career and not the passenger, so that when you finally choose to hang up your ‘work hat’ you can look back with satisfaction on what you have achieved and enjoy the benefits of your third age.  

Author Profile Picture
Jo Bristow

Training Services Delivery Expert

Read more from Jo Bristow

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