While Karen is settling into her new life in France here are her thoughts about her decision for the Grand Depart…
“We spend a large proportion of our waking time at work, travelling to work and thinking about work. But does it make us happy? In my experience managers and HR professionals often find themselves giving career advice to other people but don’t always apply the same advice to themselves. Due to the busy-ness of many management and HR roles and the focus on other people rather than themselves, it often means we don’t always have the opportunity to take stock and evaluate where our own career is, where it is going and what we actually want it to be now and in the future.
Is there actually such a thing as one career or a job for life now? Even during my time in HR there has been a shift that means that there isn’t. Sometimes this happens for reasons outside of people’s control, such as redundancy, but it also happens because people take an active decision to make a change. Surely it is better to choose to make a change than continue in a job that you don’t like, no longer motivates you or no longer fits with your life/responsibilities? This doesn’t necessarily mean leaving where you work, but it could involve changing some aspects of the job you do.
It is rare that people change jobs too early, but often they will stay in a job or with an organisation for too long, getting more frustrated and unhappy as time passes. This can be really destructive and not healthy – so if you are thinking it’s time for a change, then it probably is, (a former team member, really brought this home to me a few years ago….)
There are lots of reasons why I chose to take a career break now but what has been really interesting is people’s reactions to my decision – the reactions have varied a lot. As you would expect there has been some very positive reactions (‘Wow! Lucky you, moving to France…’) and also some negative ones (‘you are choosing to give up a well- paid, secure job – why?!) – and they haven’t always been from the people I would have necessarily predicted them coming from. Certainly people’s reactions have been a lesson in their own right but that shouldn’t stop you from making the decision that is right for you.
For me, I chose go! It has been about taking a personal decision to make a positive change for the future. I see it as an opportunity to take stock of what I want from my job and career and am looking forward to a complete change of scene. Rather than seeing the ‘bad’ side of people that sometimes a career in HR or perhaps being a manager can predispose you to, I am looking forward to working with people because I enjoy working with people. Let’s see how much the ‘Happy Holidays’ customers remind me that I am a people person really and how often I get to use my HR skills and experience…”