'My Escape Journey'by Sarah Kennedy-Good
Sometimes fate intervenes to provide you with the right kind of help at exactly the right moment. That’s what happened to me. I was sitting in a café, looking up from my computer screen, when I saw the girl next to me looking at the “Escape the City” website. I couldn’t see much. It’s difficult to look at a web page from a distance while trying to pretend you’re not looking at it, but I could see the word “Escape”. I was intrigued. I opened my browser and started searching, and that’s how I discovered Escape the City and the Career Change Accelerator Course.
At this point, I was not exactly trying to “escape”. Rather I was trying to re-enter the workforce after taking five years out of my career to raise my children. I’d kept my foot in the door by doing some charitable work along the way, but I was now ready to get back into work in my area of expertise. It was proving difficult. I applied for jobs at my level and didn’t get them. I applied for jobs at a more junior level and didn’t get them. It was depressing and I felt stuck. So, when I discovered Escape, and the Career Change Accelerator Course, I needed help. I decided to take a risk, jump in, and sign-up, and it proved to be a good decision.
The Career Change Accelerator Course is a 10-week programme that will help you create new career opportunities. It’s about finding a way to move forward, to become unstuck, to embrace new ways of doing things. It’s an opportunity to be part of a group of people who are in the same position; people who are challenging themselves and struggling with similar challenges and setbacks.
The best way to describe the Career Change Accelerator Course is that it’s a journey.
• The beginning focuses on what a meaningful life would look like for you. It’s about asking big questions: What are your values? What’s your view of work and life? What would you like your obituary to say? And it’s about asking smaller questions: What components do you need in your work life? What does a good day look like to you? It’s a chance to engage in some meaningful reflection about what you want from your life and how work fits into that picture.
• The middle of the course is about identifying your curiosities. Forget passions. It’s about focussing on your interests. What do you read about? What gets your back up? What subjects or interests do you chase? It’s fun to start with a blank page and think about what’s important to you.
• The final part of the course is about chasing your curiosities through action. It’s about starting before you’re ready, using new tools and ways of communicating, leaning into discomfort, prototyping, and refining along the way. Escape will teach you how to become the ultimate “Hustler” by building authentic relationships, creating value, and shining publicly.
The great thing about the Escape journey is that you are not alone. You are part of a group of like-minded people, who are also looking to make changes in their lives. It’s very powerful to be with people who are taking similar steps, sharing their experiences, and helping you with your journey. My fellow escapees shared ideas with me, put me in touch with contacts, reviewed material I had written, and held me to account. They also provided an open, supportive environment, which allowed me to be myself.
Some of the best things I did on my Escape journey were participating in an “Unconference” where I presented on a subject of interest to me and giving an “Open Mic” where I spoke about some of my challenges and setbacks. Some of the things I learnt during my Escape journey included to trust in the process; to lean into discomfort – that’s when change happens; to start without detailed plans, and to take action without relying on others.
I’m still working on my career change process. It’s a bit like building a healthy life in that I will be continually working on it. My hope is that I will be able to build a portfolio of interesting projects and experiences around my family life. This could be through writing and volunteer work, as well as external projects. And I do believe it’s possible. Escape has taught me to take small steps, create value, build authentic relationships, and be willing to shine publicly. It’s reminded me that anything is possible if you try hard enough.
I have a cup that says: “Awesome People Club – Everyone is Welcome”, and that’s how I think about my Escape experience. If you’re stuck or you want a change, do think about joining an Escape course!