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A New Direction

Is a trade for life or until you get bored? Are we ever too old to change direction? To dream of a different or better life often means making changes but are we prepared to step out of our ‘comfort zone’ to do this?

Is a trade for life or until you get bored? Are we ever too old to change direction? To dream of a different or better life often means making changes but are we prepared to step out of our ‘comfort zone’ to do this?

When I completed my veterinary nurse training, one of the first things that I wanted to do was to leave the profession. So after qualifying, I gained some experience in clinical research working in a cats’ renal clinic. Still not convinced this was to be the career for me, I commenced a newspaper journalism course so I could indulge my love of writing.

After much thought and consideration, I decided that enough was enough and I decided to leave veterinary nursing, the career I thought would give me a ‘trade for life’. To the horror of friends that thought I was ‘wasting’ my qualification and all the years it took to train, I hung up my uniform so to speak and began to gingerly seek another career.

Only it wasn’t that easy because once people found out that I had worked and trained with animals, it was a case of ‘Oh what a lovely job, but unfortunately we are unable to offer you anything’. ‘How do they know what I can do?’ I thought, angry that someone could write me off without as much as a glance.

So brushing up my typing skills and shorthand I finally made someone believe in me that I could do the job as well if not better than someone that had not penalised themselves by working in a veterinary hospital. Nearly a year and a half on, I can type 70 wpm, write shorthand and have acquired excellent administrative skills. I am also due to start University in September to train as a nurse in learning disabilities. Perhaps medical journalism in the future combined with community work. Life for me is actually quite exciting now because the friends that thought I had wasted my skills when I left veterinary nursing, now think somewhat differently as I travel once or twice a year to film wild animals. A trade is only wasted when you regret doing it and I say that the rest of your life begins when you say so.

What I have discovered however, is that the more areas that you are trained in, the more you can do in the workplace and in turn increase your employability. If you have trained as a nurse for instance, the following skills from your nursing career could be highlighted;

  • People/communication skills
  • Ability to prioritise your workload
  • Coping with emergency situations whilst keeping a cool head – something that many people in the workplace cannot do.
  • Administrative skills

The list could go on but you get the general idea. Employers might dismiss you because of whatever qualification you do have without considering other skills you may have gained along the way. It really is down to you to alter the way people perceive you and it is possible because ALL skills are transferable in the workplace.

Changing your resume and your attitude

How many of us could produce a resume of high standard to show what else we are capable of doing? When creating a new resume that doesn’t relate to your current career, you have to change the way in which you see yourself and if you are contemplating major changes in your working life then it is best to seek the help of someone that can do this for you professionally. Just having a resume that highlights your qualities is worth having wherever you work. It can help remind you that you are a skilled person and if you are not treated with respect from your boss, you can leave and find work somewhere else. It is a reminder of self worth. None of us know what the future holds and it’s nice to be prepared for any changes.

Losing your job/redundancy

When my friend lost her job, she was devastated. It was as though she had completely lost her way in her career path. ‘What else can I do?’ She asked me that night. Asking her what she enjoyed, she replied ‘Grooming dogs’. As the old saying goes, if you enjoy it then make money from it.

So after the initial shock of the whole situation, my friend ‘picked herself up’ and decided upon an action plan. Not letting the dust settle from under her feet, she ordered business cards and made flyers to post around her village offering her services as a dog groomer. It was something she had previously done as a hobby but not on a professional level. Purchasing some basic equipment, she then made offers to groom friends and neighbours dogs cheaply. Word soon spread and she was soon grooming several dogs a day, taking photographs of her achievements to proudly show her next customer.

A few months later, a different job was offered to her but she still does her grooming on a casual basis, knowing full well she can return to it full time should she need to. It’s worth remembering that if you have a hobby that you enjoy, you can more often than not, make it work for you. So use your hobby, research the market and don’t just settle for being good, aim to be the best in what you do.
If you are prepared to do that and take that gamble, then losing your job might just turn out to be your very own success story.

Deciding to retrain

Enrolling on a college course is an empowering experience and the benefits are enormous. I made great friends at college and it was stimulating as well as challenging to be learning something different. New contacts are made and it is something to add to your resume. Professional development is favoured by employers as it shows a keen interest in keeping up to date as well as being motivated. Some people choose to study from home which might sound a viable option. Correspondence courses are great in theory but working from home is not always easy and at least at a college you are in the appropriate environment for studying.


{mosbanner right}If you do have a resume that you are happy with, a job that you enjoy or are able to stay in, then why not learn something that you have always wanted to try anyway? Spending money on yourself whether it is for retraining or for pleasure, is never a waste of money. Look on it as an investment in yourself and for that reason alone, it is worth it.