Meet a Brave Starter - How not to be pigeon-holed

July 29, 2021

We all know the all too familiar story of trying to change, not only jobs, but careers, and finding it incredibly, soul-destroyingly difficult. Having said that, it CAN be done. Here is a inspiring and uplifting story from one of our own Brave Starts members.

We first met Rachel at the Career Support Development evening last year. Back then Rachel was busy being pigeonholed by recruiters: as a business analyst in the banking sector her pleas for a change were falling on deaf ears. Every job a recruiter came up with had the all too familiar ‘business analyst’ ring to it. Frustrated and keen to explore alternative options she attended our Brave Starts programme which started in December last year.

The first step of our programme is meeting each other – Rachel’s cohort also included Fiona, Tessa and Nick. We’ll share stories with permission in later newsletters. We always find one of the parts of our programmes our members like most is working together and hearing from each other the paths and journeys others are on.

We started with going through Rachel’s part to get clues about what values and working cultures she enjoys (or not).  Only looking at past roles does limit possibilities to what’s been ‘done’ so to try and get some sense of other ideas and clues we also use exercises to stimulate interests and curiosities. The themes that repeated themselves and gave us some strong clues where things like coding, being a technical specialist, designing and solving problems on websites as well as a strong interest in hypnotherapy.  

Our next step was to introduce her to people doing these sorts of roles to get a better idea of what is involved. We lined Rachel up with a coding specialist who gets involved in running a coding school, in order to give her an overview of the job demand for different coding languages. We also set her up to meet a product designer – someone who works on and solves problems with a website and orientates it towards customer needs. We always get our cohort members to tap into their network and work on building their own contacts. This part of the process confirmed to Rachel that the technical side of helping a business and being the person helping build the code and developing the products was the area she was most keen on taking further. Hypnotherapy remains an interest but no change into that field can happen without doing a course and the course Rachel is looking at is possible to do alongside a fulltime job. They ask you to give up two weeks during the year for dedicated periods of time but the rest is done on weekends/evenings. This is still an option for Rachel possibly in the future.

Our next step is to start orientating someone towards that area/new direction. We’re strong advocates of developing your LinkedIn profile, a two line pitch to introduce yourself and updating photos – everything to help position your ‘brand’ in a new direction.

The move from business analyst to technical analyst isn’t as huge as a leap from Business analyst to hypnotherapist, and Rachel has done a stellar job because she’s now three months into a new role which she’s really enjoying. She is the technical specialist, and her enjoyment of coding means the parts of the work she’s not fluent in she’s able to learn and develop. As the technical specialist, she is the part of the team where she brings her own, identifiable skill set to the table – people rely upon and need her input, so as a consequence it is valued.  

If you are a Beyond Brave member, you can find her and connect in the member directory here: Brave Starts Members for Non Members

We have paused running our cohort programme over the summer but plan to restart in September. We will be running another in our format like the one we did with Rachel, on August 18th, however as these programmes are small and focused on just 4-5 members at a time, our price for these is £245 each. You can expect to spend 12-14 hours across 5 workshops and various one-to- one meetings we line up with our experts over a period of 3-4 months. In addition, you’ll need to put in some of your own time for the ‘homework’ and exercises we give you to work on.

Starting in September, we plan to introduce our more scalable format of online learning you can do in your own time which takes you through much of the material we cover in the workshops. However, we will be supplementing this with 2 workshops which we ask you to attend live and online (using zoom) so you can meet and support each other, whilst we do the necessary work of listening and challenging, pushing and nudging. Our current thinking is our new format of programmes will be offered at £95 per person, but we’ll keep you informed.

If you can’t wait and want to start now, email to get onto the August programme.

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Lucy Standing

Lucy Standing is a business psychologist and co-founder of Brave Starts