Career Changes Revisited: guest blogger Boz Warnock shares her experience of moving overseas in later life…
When I moved to Singapore from London a year and a half ago at the age of 52, people kept telling me how brave I was.
It didn’t feel brave at all, it just felt like a chance to stop thinking that I would still be sitting in the same office for another 15 years.
As a teacher it is increasingly hard to get jobs when you are beyond your 30s – too expensive, too cynical… That can’t be good for anyone. I think my ex-colleagues are equally pleased to have a new face and perspective in their department although they were scared as well at first, and some thought I was completely mad.
Of course I was lucky that the chance came along, but I still had to make the decision to go for an interview, and it was unbelievably scary. Having to prepare for an interview after so long takes a lot of guts, I discovered. When I was offered the job I had to get into my car and drive around for half an hour before I could manage to break the news.
I am now incredibly happy in my new job, working far harder than I ever have before, but also so pleased to be able to reinvent myself to a certain extent. My daughter is only 12 so she is now having a chance to see people and places that I never even dreamed of when I was her age, so a large part of my big change was for her, even though it was a pretty big gamble – what if she hated every second of it? What if she didn’t make friends? But her life in Singapore is a dream compared to South London, and she is confident and independent in ways that would never have been possible. Do it!
Its never too late to change your career, I know that because its what I did.
My children were all at school and I was desperate to try something new, but the problem was I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I think my confidence was a little low. What I did know was that job satisfaction was more important to me than a huge salary. So with a little persuasion from a friend and more than a few nerves I decided to go to an NHS career fair to get some ideas about what might be out there for me as a mother of three, looking for a new start.
The response I got was incredible, I was amazed at the respect there was towards my ‘life skills’ and the positive attitude there seemed to be for mothers returning to the workplace.
Before I knew it I had an interview, got a brand new job with an offer to be sponsored to study for a degree, which would in turn give me a completely new career. Obviously it was daunting at first, especially as an older woman going to university alongside mainly fresh faced young things, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were there other mature students, I wasn’t the oldest by quite a few years!
I think there is a lot to be said for returning to study as an older person; you are there because you want to be, no one is forcing you. I was so grateful for the opportunity and found I was more focussed than my younger self and so determined to make the most of the chance to change my future, and I did, with a lot of blood, sweat and tears I got through it and gave myself a new lease of life.
I think the point I am trying to make is if you feel hopelessly trapped in your current situation or maybe you’re just a bit bored, then be brave and change it, if I can do it then anyone can!