Siobhan’s career change story
from Art Teacher
to Social Media Manager
Who are you?
I live in Chingford, with my husband and two little girls. I’m very family-orientated. I’ve always wanted to have a family and knew that it would change our lives, I feel proud that we have both changed jobs to adapt to our new life.
I love helping people in my job, that’s why I went into teaching to start with, it felt like a vocation. Seeing other businesses do well is what makes me happy.
What work were you doing before?
I was an Art Teacher in secondary school for 6 years. I used to work full time then part time. I resented that I couldn’t do everything well: purely due to time and having 2 little ones. My time wasn’t evenly balanced between the two and something was always suffering, either the family routines, or not being able to give as much time to my teaching as I used to.
What do you do now?
As a Social Media Manager, I help small businesses with their marketing strategy. It’s very flexible, rewarding and life-changing as it suits my new life as a mother.
I get to meet a lot of different people and it’s varied: I do one-to-ones and long-term jobs. Recently I realised that I love watching my clients do their social media rather than me doing it for them. It takes me back to teaching, but in a different format. That’s what I want to do more of.
What made you want to change careers?
My youngest was coming up to one, I’d been back at work for 4 months. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but it felt like the right time to get a bit of control back. I went back to work a lot earlier than with my first, and I felt out of control. So I took the plunge and left my job. Normally I think a lot but it felt like the right thing to do at that time.
How did you find your dream career?
I found my course online and through somebody that I know who was doing something similar. I knew I wanted to work from home, so it was the case of finding something that could combine what I liked doing with being around for the kids.
It took me a while to sign up to the course – it was a big decision. So in between I worked in bars, and then finally took the plunge.
What was the most difficult?
The adjusting was difficult: fitting studying around our life. It was a bit of a shock because before I used to go to work and come back. Whereas with the course I had to balance being at home with the little ones and studying.
What was also challenging was setting yourself up as a freelancer, trying to fit in the time to market yourself, get out there and earning money – that took time!
I finished my course a year ago, and looking back, I’m glad I did it.
What do you love most about your new career?
I love helping people, meeting clients, travelling around. I also love the fact that I can fit it around the family and everything else.
What do you miss and what don’t you miss from your previous career?
I miss my old job sometimes, but I’m fulfilling my need to help people in a different way. I don’t miss the stress of not being able to do everything to my best, the craziness of rushing in the morning to drop the kids off and be on time at work.
How did you handle the financial aspect to make the change possible?
We made a lot of financial cutbacks to pay for the course, but I feel I’ve recouped that through what I’ve brought it. We just made it work… I’m still not earning what I’m used to, but because we have lower childcare costs it works out.
What have you learnt in the process of finding your new career?
Even if some decisions look really daunting, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. My original career was very safe, and leaving it felt very risky. Now that I have taken that plunge, I feel more confident making decisions because you make it work.
What has changed in yourself and your environment since you’ve changed careers?
I feel more confident about making decisions. I feel a lot of satisfaction with what I do, and very lucky in terms of the benefits for me and my family.
What advice would you give someone considering a career change?
Talk to people that have done similar things to you: they show you can make a change and make it work. But also talk to people that are doing the same thing as you, to see if you would miss it. Then weigh out the pros and cons.