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“We’re trained to think about what’s a good job, what’s a responsible job, what’s the next

progression of the career that we’re in...”

Is your nine-to-five

more of a burden than a


Verity Willcocks

talks to

Natasha Stanley


Head Coach at career

change organisation

Careershifters, for tips

on how to switch careers


the job

Does the thought of the Monday-Friday grind

overpower you with dread every Sunday

night – or earlier? Do you struggle to get out

of bed each weekday morning? Once at work

do you go through the motions, clock-watch

until 5.30pm, and then mentally cross off

each day until Friday comes around? If so,

you’re not alone. A YouGov poll last year

found that 36 per cent of us either hate or

feel indifferent about our jobs.

It’s a familiar scenario for Natasha

Stanley, Head Coach at Careershifters, an

organisation set up in 2012 to help people

navigate career change. Through both

London-based and interactive workshops

and courses including the online, eight-week

Launchpad course and the nine-month

Highflyer course, the company takes a

refreshing new approach to helping people

find a job they love.

“What we see with the people we work

with is it’s reached the point where how

they’re feeling at work isn’t bearable any

more. They’re thinking, I can’t stand waking

up on Monday morning and the Sunday

blues start happening on a Saturday

afternoon now and I need out of this.”

So what’s gone wrong? Part of the

problem, says Natasha, is that people come

out of full-time education and instead of

thinking about their ideal vocation, take the

first job that comes along to pay the bills.

“Once they get on the career ladder they

wake up ten years later and say, ‘I didn’t

choose this, this isn’t what I want to do, but

it’s been so long since I asked myself the

question, what would I really love to do?, I

don’t even know where to begin’.”

Making the change

Also to blame is our deep-seated belief that

work and fun don’t go together. “We’re

trained to think about what’s a good job,

what’s a responsible job, what’s the next

progression of the career that we’re in,”

says Natasha.

And once you’re a few years into a job,

changing career can feel like a risky move.

“If you’ve got responsibilities like a

mortgage or a family it’s not just about, well

what would make me happy, it’s all about

what’s going to sustain my lifestyle, what’s

going to help me to meet my responsibilities.

There are so many questions and fears and

frustrations that get in the way of thinking,

what would I love to do, which is paralysing

for a lot of people.”

As a result many end up staying in a job

they hate, year in year out. “People we work

with have often been thinking about making

a career change for two, five, ten years

before they even get to the point where they

come to us and start having that

conversation,” says Natasha.

It’s this cycle of fear and procrastination

that Careershifters aims to break, and why

they believe that finding yourself a new

career should not be a solo mission. Instead,

at Careershifters, expert coaches with

personal experience of career change guide

and support career changers through the


Dream big

One of the first lessons is unlearning the

assumptions about careers that stop people

from finding work that fulfils them and

teaching them to ‘dream big’ again.

“There are three career-change

paradoxes that we work with that keep

people stuck,” says Natasha. “The first is

‘it’s you that wants to change but it’s also

you that’s your own biggest obstacle’. You

can’t be what you can’t see,” she says, “so

when you’re trying to come up with new

ideas for what you might want to do next in

your career, you’re limited in terms of the

ideas that you can come up with because if

you’re an accountant you probably get up

every day, you go to work, you do

accountancy work surrounded by other

accountants. A lot of people just don’t know

what’s out there in order to be able to get