Changing Careers – my biggest move

How having children and a serious illness brought me out of a corporate career to a self employed nutritional therapist.

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Anna Mapson

Changing careers from the safety of the corporate world was a big move, but I really value managing my own time, and love my new role helping people find a diet that suits their body.

I loved being a management consultant, it was fast paced, interesting and to be honest I loved the status of being a business consultant and seeing people be impressed by the job.

I thought, how could I ever find a role that would match all that?

Making a career change after maternity leave

After my first child was born I tried to go back to work part time as a management consultant in a big firm in the UK. I loved my job but really struggled to fit back in. I felt the firm didn’t understand flexible working, and wanted too much of my time, headspace and energy.

There were times when I had to leave to pick up my daughter when there was quiet disapproval from team members, or important developments at work happened on my days off and no-one shared the updates. Some of this feeling of rejection from the firm was in my head, some was very real. It was hard trying to work part time in a company that didn’t really ‘do’ part time working.

And then I got ill. I had a molar pregnancy which is where a tumour grows in the placenta, meaning I had a miscarriage and then chemotherapy for 6 months. After another year off work I was no longer sure I wanted to return to the corporate world. I had lost some confidence in myself, felt like I’d been ‘out of the game’ too long. I returned to work for a while because I didn’t know what else to do, but it just didn’t feel right.

The search for a new career

After my second child was born I knew I couldn’t go back to my old job, I was overwhelmed with the thought of juggling two childcare arrangements, and increasing work demands.

I’d always been interested in healthy eating, so when I saw the opportunity to retrain in nutrition part time over 3 years I booked myself on the course without much thought! I normally like to mull things over for a while, but this was impulsive, I started whilst still on maternity leave, jumped right in! My husband had to bring the baby to breastfeed at lunchtime to top up her milk.

At the same time I also joined a friend in her business teaching Baby Massage, so I retrained in that as well and started classes, all with a 6 month old baby and a 3 year old.

I was lucky because my old firm gave me a year’s unpaid sabbatical so I could always have returned to my old job if I had decided Nutritional Therapy wasn’t for me.

Adjusting my pace and style

I’ve always worked really hard, and now I’m my own boss it can be too easy to work the long hours (because if I don’t who will?) but it’s also been a great time of re-learning what actually works for me.

I rely on lots of the skills I learnt from my corporate roles, planning, budgeting, client management, and more, it’s been a useful base for developing a business.

I’ve found my voice a bit, and over the last few years moved away from hiding behind too much corporate speak, into using words and tone of voice that feels right for my business. It’s scary moving away from the backing of a big business, but also fun to be your true self every day.

What I’ve learn from career change

The first thing I’ve learnt from this transition is self employment is really tough, it’s endless hard work, there are no easy routes and no-one has your back. Secondly, the joy I get from helping people feel well is amazing, having clients come back to me in better health feels brilliant! Thirdly, if something feels like a risky but exciting move, I’m now more open to taking a chance, and giving things a go. I feel more and more confident in running a business each year.

Finding work that suits you isn’t always easy, but it’s so rewarding when the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I’m looking forward to growing this business with all the skills I learnt in my corporate jobs over the years and feel really excited for the new stage of growth.

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