Christy Roberts – based in Durban, South Africa – was a primary school teacher for 17 years. Whereas teaching is – of course – an incredible profession for many, for her, she was never 100% satisfied with this career path. On a number of occasions spanning her tenure as a teacher she had thought to herself, “There has to be more than this.”
On Monday, 21st March (of this year), Christy accepted a job offer for a role that she found through our platform: Operations Assistant at a Colorado-based company called Brute Force Training…executing a long-dreamed-of career change. Since then, she reports, “I love switching my computer on in the morning.” And: “At this moment in time, this role and company are the perfect fit for me.”
How in the world did Christy pull off this career change???????? And what wisdom can we gain from her so that if one of us want to pull this off as well, we will be able to?
Christy was always going to be a teacher. Her mother was a teacher; her brother was a teacher; there were a number of people in her family who were teachers. It was – of course – the path that she always was going to take. “You believe for so long…this is what you think you’re going to do, so it’s what you do.” End of story.
Except that over time, it began to sink in for her…this feeling that there should be more. She was plagued however by the pernicious (and untrue!) trope “Those who can’t do, teach.” Despite this, she began taking baby steps towards things she felt genuinely interested in. In 2019, for example, she started going to a Virgin Active gym in her city, and found that she loved the classes she took there. She proactively sought out one of her favorite teachers there asking about how she might get trained up to lead classes. A year later, she was a certified instructor and teaching classes at that same gym. Incredible.
“It was wonderful to have studied something again.” She found immense pleasure in this ‘side job’ that she was fitting in where she could around her teaching schedule, but when COVID-19 reared its head, teachers were asked – practically overnight – to deliver their curriculum online, and the pressure of all the new demands eventually resulted in her letting her side job go so that she could focus on getting a handle on this new world of online learning.
About a month into it, Christy – interestingly – found that she was really enjoying designing online resources and getting really into ‘making cool stuff’ online. The combination of getting trained up as a gym instructor and then also upskilling on the digital resources front, really started to boost her confidence, and she started seeing that she was actually great at learning new skills. She didn’t know it at the time, but all of these ‘baby steps’ that she had been taking were preparing her perfectly for the role she now has at Brute Force Training.
In the background, Christy had also been working on updating her CV, and simultaneously was working to get familiar with various job platforms – Growmotely’s platform and others. When our spirited Head of Account Management, Lee Van Staden, sent her a message suggesting that she apply for the role in question, she saw the alignment immediately. About a month later she had the job. ✨
Given how incredible Christy’s story is, I was keen to draw out of her what wisdom she might share with others in our ecosystem who are also looking to make a decisive career change. This is what she said:
(1) Don’t rush the process. Take the time necessary to figure out what it is you enjoy doing. And take the time to get to know the platforms that you are on. I was happier looking for the right role when I wasn’t rushing.
(2) Figure out which skills specifically you enjoy most. For me, I love being organized; I love communication skills
(3) When you see other people getting great positions, celebrate them. Be happy that the person in question got that job. Being jealous or sulking doesn’t help your attitude or your energy. You need to be ready so that when the right job does come along, you are in a great frame of mind.
(4) Focus on what you’re looking for / what you are going towards…and not on what you are trying to get away from. The more I did this, the more my new life started unfolding for me.
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Here at Growmotely, we see the Future of Work as a joyful place, a place where – like Christy – we all have a sense of excitement when it comes to ‘switching on our computer in the morning’. We also see it as a place where career pivots are not only accepted but are celebrated – as we all understand that as we evolve and grow on the inside, often we need to completely remake our outside worlds so as to keep up with the changes taking place on the inside.
We would love for you to join us – and Christy – as we all get into the driver’s seat of our own life, and put the pedal to the metal.
Written by: Vanessa Kettner (Growmotely’s Creative Writer and your Remote Work Cupid)
Dedicated to: Christy Roberts (Operations Assistant at Brute Force Training – and an incredibly inspirational woman✨)