The OA interviewed Ben Keene and Skye Robertson, from Escape the City, about changing careers. Here are some of their thoughts.
About Escape the City
Escape the City is a global career change community for people who want to do work that matters to them. It believes in building a future where work powers a happier and more sustainable world. The team works with inspiring organisations around the world, and runs a jobs board, online courses, networking events and workshops.
How has work changed?
There are three main ways that work has changed:
Technology is the great equaliser, because an individual has access to the same digital tools as a multinational company. The internet makes it is easier than ever to start a business, helping you to find useful contacts and access vital knowledge.
In the past, going to university usually secured a good career, but not anymore. Fortunately, the internet gives you access to most of human knowledge for free or little cost. You can now instantly find the information you need for your professional development, and plan your next career steps.
The internet also enables you to connect with people who can help your career. You can find inspiring people with similar interests, or work in an industry that interests you. However, do not overlook meeting in person – you will learn more from talking over a coffee than email exchange.
How can you prepare for a new career?
Start with developing the right mind set. A new career requires a different way of thinking, which can be daunting. First structure your life around your values and interests, with short, medium and long term objectives. Regularly re-evaluate what success looks like for you.
Take the small safe steps to explore possible careers, by researching and meeting people in the industry. Reflect on what you enjoyed and disliked about your previous role, to help you decide what you want from your new job. Nurturing your curiosity, by exploring your hobbies and interests, can help reveal rewarding careers you might otherwise overlook.
How do you secure a role when missing experience?
Experience is important but a new career requires a pioneering spirit. Barack Obama said he did not know what he was doing when he first entered the Whitehouse, because he had never been president before. Skills, aptitude and resilience are also important, and will help you to overcome gaps in your experience.
Try to demonstrate to employers how you are actively gaining experience through online courses, personal projects, work experience and volunteering. If an employer does not offer you the role, politely ask what would cause them to change their mind and, if you think the tasks are achievable, do it!
When should you start?
Now! The sooner you start preparing, the more likely your transition will be successful. Many of us wait for permission to make a change – why? Give yourself permission to start exploring the different possibilities right away.
The OA Employment Symposium
Escape the City will give the keynote talk at the OA Employment Symposium in London. The team’s fresh perspective will help you see that changing careers can be an adventure.
The event is essential for officers looking to get a head start in their next career after leaving the Services. Bringing together serving and former officers, key employers and industry experts, the day involves breakout sessions and talks, covering industry insights and career advice.
The OA Employment Symposium is on Tuesday 12th December 2017, at Deloitte’s London headquarter.