How to stay happy while changing careers

If our happiness was audited with the precision of financial reports and profit margins, we’d be compelled to grow kinder to ourselves. Something well overdue you could argue, especially in a marketplace where fewer people - directors, employees, freelancers and founders alike - are likely to escape career change, upheaval and concerns.

Where do we start being kinder to ourselves at work? How can we begin strategising for change, worry and spikes in cortisol (the stress hormone)?

Reclaiming fun and owning enjoyment

Kat Farrants, founder of the subscription yoga channel Movement for Modern Life (MFML) is a self- proclaimed "productivity freak" with a lifestyle driven career. Since moving on from the legal professional, Kat problem solves on country walks with her dogs and unwinds with yoga. Sounds idyllic. Her advice for riding career change is: "Try to figure out what’s fun for you on every step of your work journey."

"None of us know what ‘success’ will bring, and we need to enjoy our work, so do all you can to find work that inspires you and gives you passion, and a life that will give you joy.

"I think it’s really important to run a business which fits into the life which you want right now. Is the daily journey fun and inspiring, no goals, no endgame, just the day to day process of running it. I really disapprove of all the start-up talk about success being defined around funding goals, unless you really, really need funding. For me, running MFML is about control - I get to control my life and my business and nobody else gets a say! Lifestyle businesses have a very bad name, but I think that creating your work which fits your life is so important."

Apps with passion: from the city to dating

Skooba, a new dating app with depth, comes from a founder who believes in focusing career aspirations where passion lies. Anthony Bradley launches his first app for Android and iOS after instigating a sweeping career change from telecoms to accountancy (on an investment banking track) and into apps.

"I think that when considering career change there needs to be a focus on what it is that you are passionate about, rather than what you know. Many people end up in careers that were chosen when an individual's circumstances, maturity or interests were quite different. The draw of what I was interested in, namely technology and starting a viable business, was more important than, and outweighed the risk of, moving into new and uncharted territory," he said.

Moving one step at a time and realigning when you get knocked off course is fundamental to thriving in career change, he believes, whose journey includes learning to code, researching relevant technologies and working with local businesses. Financial limits will always restrict movement in a new direction, accepts Anthony, who also stress the importance of "rational analysis to determine if the bet is a good one".

"The main factor in a failure will be the financial cost of a failed enterprise and your ability to weather that failure both psychologically and pragmatically."

Navigate towards soulful work

Andrea Gamson, co-founder of SocialStarters, transitioned from employment via marketing and sales consultancy into her own international social impact business. Soulful work and meaningful purpose is something she recommends as a route to happiness in an environment of career change.

"If you want a soulful career, a meaningful job and to find your purpose then it’s important you understand your values and passions first and do that inward work before make a big leap of faith.  It's important to really know who you are, before you can move forward. Career coaching is one such way to do this personal work and it can be very powerful for steering you in the right direction."

"We're lucky now with social media we can create online brands for ourselves, we can talk about, share stories, journal our lives and the things we're passionate about to show the world what we care about and future employers or clients can see our dedication to the cause through these windows to our souls."

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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