My fantastically fulfilling career – and how I got there


This week it really hit home just how lucky I am to be doing what I do for a living.

I get to go to work in my own office, (in the coolest little capital in the world!), surrounded by things that bring me joy (like my daughter’s artwork on the walls), and help clients find their way out of depressing work situations towards something that they find more meaningful and inspiring. I also get to help people who love their jobs to get ahead and advance their careers.

What’s not to love?

Sometimes people walk into my office who have stayed too long in the wrong jobs being overworked and undervalued, and are at the stage where they feel completely drained with nothing left in reserve.

But helping them tap into what used to energise them and get to the point where they can begin to think about doing work that would make their heart sing – words can’t describe the sense of satisfaction that brings.

So, how did I get to this?

I admit it did take a while. Like many people I landed in a career due to circumstance rather than choice. Having initially trained as a journalist, I worked for 20 odd years in mostly corporate communication roles and as a consultant in my own business – and while that was a perfectly good career, I realised a few years ago that it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life.

So I made a conscious choice to switch my business focus to career coaching, for a couple of reasons. One is that I realised my passion for helping people find meaningful work, and the other is that I felt I needed to practice what I preached. I needed to show that I could succeed in my own business doing what I loved, and experience all the challenges and fears that go with it, in order that I could better help others go through it.

Here are two valuable lessons I learned along the way.

1. The importance of knowing your values

Know what matters to you – especially if designing your own business, because you get to choose the work you do and the clients you serve. (That said, it’s also important when choosing potential employers and job opportunities because you need to know what is meaningful to you – the purpose of the company you work for, or the impact your work has on individuals every day?). Having a strong sense of why you are doing what you are doing will help you stay on the path. 

2. The importance of having support

Once you find your passion, make sure you have the support you need to follow it. As someone said after reading my last blog, when they changed careers in their 40s, apart from self knowledge, the support of family and friends and mentors they could look up to was paramount. The last thing you need, when feeling vulnerable during times of change, is advice from people who don't have your best interests at heart. Surround yourself by people you can trust, who have your back, and most of all, whose ethics and values are aligned with your own.

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About the author: Lucy Sanderson-Gammon, MBA, is a Wellington-based career coach helping mid-career professionals who have fallen out of love with their jobs to find meaningful work. She also provides career development for those who want to get ahead at work or make a transition after redundancy. Find out more about Lucy's coaching services here.