Feeling stuck in your job, struggling with workplace changes or simply looking for something new? These challenges can be quite daunting later in life, says career coach Josie Copsey. Here, she offers three ways to look at your work situation and make those important changes

As a career and confidence coach, I see many of my clients experience self-doubt about the job they’ve been in for a number of years – from experiencing imposter syndrome to wanting to make a career change – but they’re not sure where to start in order to fix these issues.

With that in mind, I’ve prepared three questions that have been presented to me from my clients recently about their own work situations, plus a snippet of the coaching we’ve gone through to help them navigate a solution and find a way forward. Hopefully you’ll find these answers useful if you’re going through a later-life career change.

‘How do I move to remote working?’

Q ‘I’m in my late 50s, currently working in office admin and looking for a role where I can work more from home. I’m not sure where to start or what I could do?’

A You’ve identified that you’re currently working in an administrative role and want to work from home on a more regular basis. There are many opportunities available now for remote-working administrative assistants who support many companies and entrepreneurs, for a few hours or days a week.

Spend time identifying the areas you enjoy about your role and list out your skills and strengths. Would these be transferable to a new remote-working role? This gives you clarity on what you can do and who you can help – particularly useful when meeting potential employers or clients in the future.

You can either work for yourself and source your own clients, or alternatively you can work for companies who specialise in sourcing virtual assistants for their clients.
They arrange the work for you.

It’s also worthwhile reaching out to your own professional network and arranging a coffee with colleagues you may have worked with in the past. You never know who you could be connected to and the opportunities those connections could bring.

‘My job has changed focus’

Q ‘My company recently carried out a review of key functions and as a result I’ve lost an area that I’ve looked after for 25 years to another department in the business. It’s where I started my career initially; I’ve achieved so much in this area and now feel like it’s been taken from me.

My boss has told me it’s not personal and that they want me to focus on project work, which is another area of my role. I can’t help feeling lost and that part of my identity has been taken. I’m not sure what to do?’

A Grab a journal and write your answers to the following questions:
• What’s been your greatest achievement in your career and why is this important to you?
• What does success mean to you now?

The answers that you see reflect where you are today. They will change, because your definition of success will change, and you will have many more incredible achievements in your future career.

But remember, your job and role do not define who you are. Your skills, strengths and experience are what make you unique. Reconnect with these to remind yourself of who you are and what you can do.
Make a list of your top 10 skills and strengths. Then pick five significant people, at least two who know you in a work capacity, and ask each of them to tell you what they believe are your three greatest strengths. Make a note of what they share and look over your list. What themes do you notice?

Build on this with your experience. I encourage clients to write their story so far, a short biography. Include in here what you’ve accomplished, the lessons learnt and where they’ve taken you both personally and professionally. This is a powerful reminder of what you’ve already achieved in your life so far.

‘I’m returning to work after time away’

Q ‘I’ve taken a couple of years out of work to concentrate on some personal projects. I now need to look at getting back into work to bring a salary in, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to go back into a senior leader corporate role.’

A Taking time out from work can help to put other areas of life into perspective. Before you make any decisions, look over your last two years and journal on what you have learnt about yourself. Are there any new skills that you’ve acquired in your time away from work? There may be some inspiration here that can help shine a light on what you do next. Returning to work after a long time can also bring mixed emotions, so be kind to yourself.

Here are some journal prompts to help you explore that next step:
• What did you love about your previous job or role?
• What did you love about your three favourite past roles?
• What has been missing from your past role?
• If you never had to work again for money, how would you spend your time?

Finally, before you make any big decisions on what to do, get clear on what your non-negotiables are when returning to work. Think on your work hours, your work-life balance, the type of work environment, the location, and travel time to get to work. By defining what you won’t compromise on in your next role, whatever that may be, you’re putting what matters most to you at your core.

Josie Copsey is a career and confidence coach for corporate professionals, supporting individuals, teams and senior leaders to become the best version of themselves. Josie is her clients’ cheerleader, helping them to believe in themselves with 1:1 coaching. Visit josiecopsey.co.uk for more or connect with her at instagram.com/josie.copsey.

Images: Shutterstock

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