Karen escaped from MBO work-all-hours and burnout-finance-hell to try out a new life and way of working.
I was scared and stuck when I jumped, but also knew I needed to do it and I'm much happier and feel so much more alive now. So I'd be happy to talk to anyone who is in that stuck state.
I must have sampled most of the resources out there for career changers. It can be quite intimidating seeing the big success stories when you haven't started on your own journey yet. I hope I can offer some sensible and pragmatic advice on how to manage the change process.
I'm managing a fantastic theatre company called http://www.dreamthinkspeak.com/" rel="nofollow">dreamthinkspeak part-time and have spent the past year studying psychology, running a monthly event for career changers in Brighton and various other exploring-my-options-and-having-fun type things.
I'd spent (ahem) 25 years in finance and accountancy - first in practice, then in commerce in a range of different types of commercial companies and one national charity. My last few jobs were as Financial Controller or Finance Director.
I'd made a couple of attempts at change - first doing an MBA, then taking a sabbatical - but wasn't quite sure what alternative path to take.
Finally I made the jump when I realised I wanted to take back control and stop job hopping and do something different before I totally burned out.
Being asked by a friend "Do you still hate your job?"
I'm not sure that it was a conscious thing, but I put aside enough cash to see me through a year of not working, if I was frugal. I'm happy to say I haven't needed to dip into it very much so far but the security of knowing I could afford time out gave me some peace of mind when I quit. I also cut my spend and had lodgers to relieve the financial strain.
The best bits: the sense of freedom and excitement of being able to explore and experience different ways of working and being. New contacts and the generosity of the vast majority of people when you start to make changes in your life. The chain reaction of events that happen when you take action.
The worst bits: moments of panic and self-doubt.
If you don't know what to do, 'craft experiments', i.e. try out elements of the things you are interested in to test whether you really want to follow that path.
Be ready to accept that you may want to keep elements of your old work life - so many skills are transferable.
Allow yourself to be a beginner.
Be comfortable with ambiguity/uncertainty and not having a clear identity for a while.