Jas's Career Change Story: From recruitment to digital nomad
Jas is a former recruitment consultant. He completed the Career Change programme in 2015 and has since explored a number of different careers – from starting an education company to working remotely in financial services – alongside completing a masters in psychology and building a client base for his freelance writing work. He will be spending the summer in Europe as a digital nomad freelance marketer, writing e-books for companies at HonestContent.
Describe your life before you changed careers. What were you doing professionally?
I was working in recruitment, but I left my job before I joined the Escape programme.
Why did you decide to join the accelerator?
I’d spent almost a year knowing that I was unhappy doing what I was doing. I knew recruitment wasn’t ‘it’. I was in my 5th year and I was ready to do something different, but i didn’t know what that was. I had stumbled across Tim Ferris and others like him, and I read a lot about personal development, but I was stuck in my head and wasn’t really doing anything about it. I went along to an Escape event and it was really powerful to be in a physical space with people who were feeling the same way as me. I was like ‘woah’! I felt so lonely when I was unhappy, then I got to Escape and realised there were other people like me and thought, a) this is inspiring and b) I need this rocket up my backside because I can’t go on like this any longer.
What have you been up to since finishing the Escape course?
I did a Masters in Psychology in the same year as the Escape course, and I started Thriva: an alternative path to university for 18-24 year olds. I enjoyed some success with Thriva, but alongside studying, it was a lot to take on by my myself. I got quite low and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. So, I took some much needed time off for a year and half.
I was then offered a remote job in a sales role for a mortgage company, which was great and the perfect balance for me. I’d never seen myself in financial services and I wasn’t the most passionate about mortgages, but from a lifestyle perspective, it gave me time to look after my wellbeing, and work with a supportive team. But I have just quit this job last week to focus on freelance marketing!
I started writing after leaving recruitment and have consistently gone back to it through Escape and afterwards. Putting all of these steps together, I realised that I was good at writing and selling. So I combined the two and I am now writing ebooks for companies. I’m heading to Europe this summer to experience life as a digital nomad for the first time!
I didn’t know how it would all work out. But reflecting back on the journey now, I am the person I would have been looking at 2-3 years ago and thinking ‘wow, I want to be doing that’.
What have been the blockers you’ve faced when changing your career and how did you overcome them?
I’m a big reader and I’m naturally very curious. I get easily excited about things and I can let them become all consuming. Pre-Escape, I had a real fear of not knowing what to do and I would just read and wait, looking for the perfect career to come along. I was stuck in my head and unable to take action on my own. So the challenge for me was, and sometimes still is, isolation. I’m an introvert and I can isolate myself in order to manage my energy. Managing your own business can be very isolating too. So I gave myself a break and time for self-care, surrounded myself with close friends and took one step at a time. It’s easy to think that the whole ‘career thing’ is one big entity that needs to be ‘solved’, but Escape helps you break it down and take small actions and next steps.
How have you managed your finances whilst moving into a new career/role?
I have been fortunate enough to be able to live at home for most of this journey, and I bought a house before my escape that I now rent out for some income. I also made the most of private medical insurance when I had it.
What advice would you give to those feeling the way you did before you began your escape?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for acknowledging that something’s up and that you are doing something about it. And get out of your head by taking action with a group of like minded people.
What did you value most from the Escape programme?
The most powerful thing about the programme was showing up and being there every week. The accountability groups were really helpful too. I’d read a lot about finding a career you love before the course, but the content still gave me new and interesting perspectives. But it’s the people and doing it with others that really brings it to life. You’re committing to doing something about it and not just fooling yourself that you are.