Starting Afresh

You might have been working at one of the largest organisations in your industry for a number of years. Then all of a sudden, either due to reasons beyond or within your control, or you’ve simply become bored and disengaged with your job, you’re considering a career change, starting afresh or about to enter a new chapter. Starting afresh can be a nerve-wracking process filled with uncertainty and anxiety.


The big question on the mind when starting afresh is usually: How or where do I begin?


This article aims to answer that exact question, providing you with top tips on starting afresh, or rejuvinating your career.

It’s so easy to set goals that are not only grand, but unrealistic.


Be sure to take it slowly and try not to set yourself targets that may be impractical or too difficult achieve. The first thing you should do it to write out three things you would love to achieve, if you do decide to remain in your current job. These may be projects or areas you’d like to progress in.


Write down two or three other potential career paths that might interest you, or things you’d like to do. One of these options should include a job or career path you consider to be your ideal/dream job. It’s important to understand that there will be a way out of this situation, and the key consideration is not to settle on your current circumstances, realising that there is a solution and a way to move forward.


From the list of three things you’ve written, try to identify if you actually need to change your career, or do you simply need to change your perspective?


This step will form your framework and can be utilised when making decisions to ensure that each decision will lead you towards one of your chosen options. You may find that have to compromise in certain areas in order to meet your goals, however by identifying where you want to be, and what will make you happy, provides you with an important step towards changing your circumstances.

There’s nothing wrong in heading back to school. It can be a great leveller given it provides experienced professionals with the opportunity to relate years of experience to a subject they’re passionate about. Plus, formal education is a great source for new friendships, fresh ideas and often a catalyst for inspiration.


Whilst heading back to school later on in your career might be a little tougher, given that those around you are heading towards a path you’re diverging from, it can be a refreshing and valuable experience; meeting new people with very different ideas to what you’ve been used to. That being said, this option might not be for everyone, however, it is a great one to bear in mind.


Many who have taken this route and noted it to perhaps be one of the most seamless ways to start afresh career-wise. Schooling in this sense doesn’t have to be on a full-time basis, it could be part-time depending on your other obligations, by where you’re able to fit it around any other major commitments you might have.


Studying part-time whilst working can often give professionals a new lease of life, and something to be motivated towards, beyond just the day to day work responsibilities.

You might think your CV doesn’t need one, given you already have years of experience and can be considered an expert in your field. However, you can never know too much! There are a few reasons why interning could be advantageous to you. One for example, might be it gives you the opportunity to experience a different corporate culture, structure, and dynamic.


If you have previous work experience at a bank, the fluid, less stringent and more creative culture of a start-up would be a completely different environment for you, and may just expand your appeal. Secondly, interning helps you meet new people, thereby creating a greater network of professional contacts and friends across various industries.


It’s important not to overlook the financial impact of interning. The compensation for interning is often quite low, so be sure to think through this option and assess your financial situation to ensure you’re able to afford this step.

This is perhaps the most challenging option out there. Creating something that’s yours will require significant resources, both tangible and intangible.


Freelancing, or beginning a project can seem like a tall order, especially if you’re still holding down a full-time job. However, it does offer you an opportunity to assess if this path is right for you. Why not just create the job of your dreams, instead of relying on organisations to provide you with your income.


If you believe in yourself and your abilities, go for it. Most people tend to play it safe because the risk of failure overshadows the possibility of gaining a novel experience and set of skills. If you give it a shot and find out it’s not for you, you can always return to a full-time job.


As with all steps, proceed with caution. You should conduct thorough research and analysis into your chosen start-up, to ensure there’s a market for the services you wish to offer. You can however freelance on the side whilst being in your current job.


Imagine how the new skills you’ve learnt throughout your career could translate into your newly established start-up.

Volunteering is an alternative way to start afresh. It takes you away from the corporate life you have known and developed in. It also looks great on a CV, especially when asked by an interviewer to discuss things you do other than work.


Volunteering, particularly in social work has a positive effect on you as an individual, the people around you, as well as your career. It provides you with a purpose, and purposeful people are likely to be more productive. Volunteering also aids you in discovering a new industry or passion that you hadn’t previously considered.

It’s easy to believe that because your prospective job has nothing to do with social media or online marketing, you have no reason to have a strong online presence. This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Talent managers and recruiters not only source professionals using online tools, but tend to judge prospective candidates by their online presence, especially LinkedIn. Not having one drastically decreases your visibility and career prospects, given that more connections to mentors and future job opportunities are made online today than ever before.


To start off, create your LinkedIn profile and begin adding any of your existing and previous colleagues. You can also join various specialist groups that will give you oversight on some of the things happening in your industry.


Let your profiles do some of the work for you.

A great way to understand what you are about to undertake is to discuss these ideas with another person. Doing so ensures you get a different perspective and allows you to consider other angles you may not have thought about.


Whether it be LinkedIn, Quora or even Reddit, physical or virtual mentorship allows you to connect with experts who may have more experience than you in a specific area. This can help you to define your journey and decide which direction will be the best one for you.


Whomever you to speak with, it’s imperative this is someone whose opinion is valuable to you; otherwise, you’re less likely to take the feedback seriously or act upon it. So be sure to validate the experience of the person giving advice, as this is key to ensuring the decisions you take are based on experience, and not just opinion.


Whilst you’ll most certainly be making the final decision, talking it through with a third party is always a good idea.

When you have to start afresh, it is imperative that you have a goal.


Your goals should be realistic one with some rough plan of your next steps. Do not be afraid to take the route less travelled. Be open to volunteering and gaining more knowledge that may ultimately help you to arrive at where you want to be.

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