Will's Career Change Story: From Banking to Hospitality

This is Will, Escape School Alum, ex-banker, and current COO at CODE Hospitality. Here he share’s how’s he’s found the journey from a ‘respectable’ yet miserable role in banking to working for a fast paced hospitality company…

1. What did you escape and why?

I had followed the well-trodden path from university to graduate scheme and then a much sought after role at one of the UK’s major banks. I had found the ‘dream job’ in a great firm alongside people I loved to work with and yet, I was miserable. I couldn’t allow myself to knowingly do something day in day out that made me a worse version of myself.

2. How did you escape?

I networked like crazy speaking to everyone and anyone who would listen to me in exchange for a coffee. Eventually, I was put in touch with a small firm that had strong connections in an industry that excited me. So, I quit my job, agreed to cut my salary in half and started again back at the bottom of the pile.

3. What was the best advice/most helpful thing you did?

The most helpful thing I did throughout this transition period was to surround myself with people who were going through the same thing. I held myself accountable to them to effect positive change in my life and find purpose in my career. It can be hard to quit your job and to try something new, but it’s even harder not to when you’ve made a commitment others.

4. What was the hardest part and how to did you overcome it?

The hardest part was (and still is) to keep going in those times of doubt – when the bank balance only appears to be falling and the grass doesn’t seem as green as you had thought. The key for me in these moments is to be kind to myself and remember that it’s all part of the journey. And if that doesn’t work, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll remember what you left behind and why if you catch up with old colleagues..!

5. What are you doing now?

Having joined as an admin b****, I am now (one year later) COO of a hospitality media company, CODE Hospitality. I head up a small – but growing – team with big ambitions. We have a brand and reputation that vastly exceeds the sum of our parts, and I can’t wait to see where the journey will take us next.

6. And how does it feel?

I have thrown myself into the heart of an industry I am passionate about, and am learning every day. Whilst there can be tough days and long hours, I can honestly say that I love my job – a fact I could never have even dreamed of just 12 months ago.

7. What key advice would you want to share with someone feeling stuck and wanting to start their own thing and/or make a career change?

It’s never too late. There will always be hundreds of reasons not to do something, but time is too short to live a life with regrets. Follow your curiosities, keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll find your own path.

8. How can we help you?

One of the perks of working for a small company is the opportunity to get involved in a little bit of everything (from strategy and development to sales and marketing, to HR, and everything in between). However, as I am fully aware, I am by no means an expert at any of these. I’m always looking to hear from people who’d like to impart some of the tools and skills they have learnt in a company where they can have a real impact. Perhaps you’re looking to explore freelancing? Or maybe you just like feeling like an expert? Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

Will completed Escape’s career change course in July 2016. If you’re interested in making a change in your career and being part of an inspiring and unique community, learn more here.

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