Guest writer: Mel Barclay, Head of Career Transition at LHH

Embarking on a career change is something that many of us will experience in our life, and there are many reasons behind it. Whether it’s a result of redundancy, a change in financial situation or simply the desire for a new challenge it’s not uncommon at all – however the impacts of the current pandemic have resulted in higher numbers of those in this position more than ever before.

Whether it’s a planned move, or brought about by circumstances beyond your control, a career transition is a big change, and can impact us in many ways. You may have considered teaching at some point, or it may have never occurred to you as an option before now. With nearly 20 years working with those going through a career transition, I wanted to offer some words of advice for anyone going through the process.

 Overcoming the fish out of water feeling

If you have changed career direction it can be easy to feel like a fish out of water. If you have spent the majority of your working life progressing up a ladder within a certain organisation or sector, it’s only natural to feel like you are starting from square one. This can understandably lead to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. It’s important to realise that you are not a failure for feeling this way, but there are some key pieces of advice to overcoming this and thriving in your new role.

It’s important to remind yourself of the skills that you have already acquired throughout your working life. Looking at teaching specifically for example, while you may not have actually taught in a school setting before, you will undoubtedly have an abundant of transferrable skills that are of value and can be built upon. Whether it’s presentation skills that can be brought to the front of a classroom, management experience that will be valuable when it comes to behavioral management with students, or office administration tasks which will be vital when it comes to organizing and planning lessons.

It’s easy to forget your strengths and skills, especially when going through a career change, so listing these skills out will not only remind you, but will serve as a confidence boost when entering a new career arena.

 Embracing a new challenge

Too often we can become defined by our careers and job title, and a change in this can be daunting – whether it was an unplanned change or not. If you’ve spent your entire working life as a marketer or an accountant for example, taking on a new moniker such as a teacher can feel as if you’re losing your identity.

In these circumstances, it’s important to view this change as a new challenge, an exciting new venture for you to leave your mark on. Looking at entering teaching specifically, recognise that you don’t have to leave your previous experience at the door, if anything it is an asset. You’ll be bringing your previous industry experience into a classroom, and bringing a fresh perspective to the teaching profession.


About Lee Hecht Harrison 

Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) is the world’s leading company in coaching and career transition by helping companies transform their leaders and workforce so they can accelerate performance. In an era of continuous change, successfully transforming your workforce depends on how well companies and their people embrace, navigate, and lead change; in the organisation and their career. At LHH, we use our expertise in talent development and transition to deliver tailored solutions that help our clients transform their leaders and workforce, so they have the people and culture they need to evolve and grow. We are passionate about making a difference in people’s careers and building better leaders so our clients can build a strong employer brand.