THE BLOG
11/03/2015 06:13 GMT | Updated 25/01/2016 05:59 GMT

Changing Careers at 28, What I Learned

I used to hate people who said 'anything is possible'.

I'm still not fully on board with the sentiment, but in the past six months I've come around. I'm now an advocate of 'anything is possible, within reason'.

Having left London, set myself up as a freelancer and finally achieved the work-life balance I craved so badly in previous roles, I had some much needed time on my hands.

Over a year before I left my job, I'd convinced myself that I was a failure for not having pursued my childhood dream of becoming a vet. If we were in medieval times, I'd have been out flagellating myself in the street, full of regret.

'Greener Grass' syndrome

In the absence of an extra six years or the funds to study Veterinary medicine, I decided Veterinary Nursing was the career for me. Researching the courses and options I realised it was going to be extremely hard to gain the experience I needed, even to get to interview.

One thing about a career change is that regardless of the work you're willing to put in to achieve your goal, the hardest part is the shift in mindset required. No one really tells you about that part.

Being relatively successful in your job and earning a decent salary gives you a certain confidence which has no part in starting from scratch.

Over time in a role you develop a 'you need me more than I need you' attitude. This is the first thing you need to eradicate from your personality when you start over.

Back to school

I spent months writing to vet practices asking for work experience.

Most of the time I received no response and felt that was even worse than a refusal. I convinced myself I wouldn't even get a work experience placement, let alone a place in college.

That over-confident part of my personality still nagged at me, 'it's so rude that they don't even have the courtesy to reject me'. Wrong.

Eventually I hit some success, I was finally getting placements.

Try before you buy

If you're thinking about changing jobs, work experience is absolutely essential. I say this as an extremely impatient person who would normally jump straight in without trying.

Do not trust your instincts.

I assumed that because I enjoyed cleaning, working with animals and didn't mind clearing up poo that I was ready to train to become a vet nurse.

My work experience proved that it was the wrong decision, but not for the usual reasons.

The reason most people are put off the profession is the realisation that it's not glamorous and doesn't involve cuddling bunnies all day. I was fully aware of the more 'messy' aspects of the job.

The one truth I had to admit to myself was that I just wasn't prepared to put the financial investment or effort in to changing careers. I have worked too hard to build my existing career to take a risk on something I'm not entirely sure about. I've built up too much experience to go back to the drawing board.

Be honest with yourself

This is not meant to be a negative piece. In fact, the message is a good one- anything IS possible (within reason).

With perseverance and pro-activity I was able to gain plenty of work experience and an interview at college, despite my earlier reservations.

This is a lesson in fully accepting who you are.

If you can't be honest with yourself and admit that you may have been wrong about something (even after telling everyone it was your dream) then you should do some soul searching.

I found the experience frustrating, upsetting, nerve-racking, rewarding and empowering. All of them. And whilst I know there's no way I'll become an Olympic dressage rider in the next year, my cynical side has stepped back and waved the flag of surrender.

Life is full of possibility.