Like many women in their 40s, I felt I needed a new challenge as my grown-up children flew the nest.
So I decided to escape my regular job and went from one extreme to the other – from a primary school teacher to a specialist fitness instructor for older people.
I now run community exercise groups for older people with many health conditions which restrict their ability to exercise. I love my job with a passion, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
But I do know that it can be scary to make such life-changing decisions. Jumping in at the deep end takes some guts, but life is too short to do a job you don’t enjoy.
If you can do something fun, then you don’t resent working hard and you’re far more likely to be successful.
Still not convinced? As part of my new business I’ve also encouraged other women to find the motivation to change their careers and join me in helping older people stay fit and healthy.
Sue Desborough had been an occupational therapist for 32 years when she decided to change her life and train as an instructor. She realised she wanted to be her own boss but still do something to help other people.
By combining her new-found exercise knowledge with her experience as an occupational therapist, Sue realised she could make an even bigger difference.
“I’m really pleased I took the plunge and the best job satisfaction is when you see how much people benefit from having fun together, becoming stronger and more confident. It has enabled me to fit family life around the most fun and rewarding job and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Julie Burns runs a successful mobility shop in Stockport. Every day she helps those with disabling conditions or difficulties with their mobility.
Knowing how vital it is to keep older people active to help them maintain their independence, Julie began to research the services available in her area and was shocked to discover there were no local classes.
She has now qualified as an instructor and hasn’t looked back, receiving funding from her local council to run her classes.
“I wish I’d done it sooner,” she says. “It’s a big step but I’d really encourage other women like me to just go for it. I can’t call this work as it’s just too much fun!”
What to consider when changing your career:
- Write down all the pros and cons of finding your dream job and see if you can find ways to overcome the negatives.
- Talk to other women who have made the change so you can go in with your eyes wide open to any pitfalls.
- Network. Go along to women’s groups and join forums to learn and share ideas.
- Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Stepping outside your safe zone is very liberating!
- Do your research – you may be able to get funding to help you along your way.
I’ve never felt happier or more fulfilled in my career – I’m so glad I took a leap of faith.
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