What's going on here then?

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

Hello and welcome to the thing I've been talking about doing for months, and finally sat down to actually do.

Who am I and why are we here? All you need to know at this point is my name is Hannah, I started teaching English in a London secondary school in 2011, and at the end of 2020 I left teaching to become (to quote my headteacher in my leaving speech) a "transpondster". This was a fair reflection of the fact that in the gap between January, when I handed in my notice, and December, when I actually left, I'd offered multiple different explanations for what I was going to do next - to the extent that no one entirely knew. I believe the original plan was 'something in tech', which evolved to UX Designer, and then Product Designer, and then entrepreneur. It's worth adding at this point that I hadn't even heard of two of those jobs until a couple of months before deciding I was going to try and do them, but a lot has changed since the decision to switch careers first occurred to me.

Coronavirus shut down the UK three months after I told my school I was leaving, and though the temptation was there to hit Ctrl + Z and accept that this wasn't the time to be making big life choices, I pressed on mainly out of stubbornness, but also out of fear that if I allowed myself to wait for 'the right time', it would never come. My sole Covid concession was delaying my departure from school for one more term, partly to allow time for a proper recruitment process for my replacement, and partly to allow time for the job market to recover before I jumped into it.

This was also the point when I decided to write about the whole experience. Like most people, I love a 'Before and After', but I'm also frustrated by the way that so often, the in-between is missed out. After all, if the journey is less interesting than the destination, then explain to me how travel writing ever became a thing? In anticipation of at least some period of unemployment, and lots of job rejections, I resolved to start writing, honestly and openly, about the whole process from around the time my teaching career wrapped up.

But it didn't work out that way.

Instead, I found myself not just going straight from one job to the next, but at one stage doing the two side by side - a position I never expected to find myself in at the beginning of last year. I'll happily take some of the credit for this good fortune, because the work I put in over the last 12 months (and indeed in the eight years before it) was a significant contributing factor. That said, luck played a huge part too - meeting the right people, at the right time, when the right opportunity arose and I just happened to be the person to suit it.

While great for my bank balance, this seemed to be the death knell for the blog since on the surface I'd now changed careers, and the whole point was writing about what it was like to be a former English teacher trying to become a transpondster. This was, in retrospect, a naive way of looking at things - getting the job is only the first step. One month in, and the reams of skills and knowledge I have yet to acquire are becoming clearer. Having the shiny new title of 'Product Owner' in a start up is one thing, but turning that into a long and successful career working in, and then founding, a start up is entirely different. So I've decided to press on, but in so doing to also broaden the focus of this website to incorporate more than just a day-to-day blog about how it's all going.

Since listening out for conversations about changing careers, I've discovered they're taking place everywhere. The pandemic has forced thousands of people into a change, while others are looking again at whether they really want to return to the life and the job they had before. I want this to be a space for those people to share, to ask questions, to swap tips, and to benefit from the experiences of those who went before. Whether you're set on a new path, career-curious, or simply wanting to sneakily see what I've been up to, I hope there will be something here of interest.

I've called it the Career Changers Club (after much internal debate over whether I needed an apostrophe? Thoughts?) but really all are welcome. And if you're thinking of making the leap and joining me, then get in touch and let's cheer each other on!


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