Today’s guest post is from the lovely Christine over at @badbossmum. A mum of 2 and self confirmed bad ass working towards her dreams of being her own boss. I love her attitude, sass and commitment to making a better life for herself and her family. Here she talks about her journey to ultimately taking the plunge to change her career, and life, for the better.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A vet, a paediatric doctor, a firefighter, an astronaut, no… an Olympic Gymnast! What do you want to be when you grow up? This playground question was all too easy to answer, we wanted to be everything and anything. So, why was 17-year-old me sitting in front of my blank UCAS application until it was due for submission? I had already decided against medicine or anything that involved shift work. I grew up with a mum who was a slave to the shift pattern and so I knew I didn’t want that for my future children.
(Side note: Has anyone ever noticed what is wrong with that question? What do you want to BE when you grow up? We should be asking our kids, what do you want to DO when you grow up? I just want my children to BE happy. Let’s stop defining people by the jobs they do.
So, off I went to university to study Physiotherapy. It’s not a job I ever considered but I was down to the wire and had to pick something. I pretty much chose it because, after a particularly nasty leg break, I had experience with Physios and they were nice. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the learning behind Physio, I love anatomy and physiology. However, I knew I didn’t want to do it as an actual job. After a year of getting to the bottom of too many bottles and crawling out of too many beds, I decided to change course. I decided to change from Physiotherapy to Drama and Scriptwriting……. I know! I know! What was I thinking? To be honest, I probably wasn’t thinking and was probably a little drunk. However, I don’t regret it; it grew my confidence. Pre- drama me was the look down at my feet, hair covering my face kind of person. Post- drama me was a head held high, shoulders back, wiggle in my step kind of person. Changing course also pulled me away from an all-consuming “friends with benefits” situation, that was in no way healthy. Had I not been released from that, I may never have given my now husband a chance when we met.
After university, I had a degree which was worthless in terms of getting a real-life adult job. I listened to Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen) a lot!! This has always been my go-to song when I feel lost in life and don’t know what the future holds. My sister had a baby, but she still had one year left of her Master’s degree and so I stepped in to help with my nephew for the year. This gave me time to think about what I wanted to do; and watch an abundance of daytime TV, which consisted of an array of property programmes. So, I became an estate agent! With my Drama degree and my estate agent know how, I was going to be the next Kirstie Allsopp! Life went on, we bought a flat and got engaged. We (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’) decided that if we were going to get married and have children, we should move back to Northern Ireland to be closer to my family. We moved back over 7 years ago and the move got me thinking about a career change.
When I was in my teens and people asked me what I wanted to do, my only answer was that I wanted to be self-employed. I was never driven by money, for me everything was about control over my own life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to be my own boss. My dad was self-employed, meaning he was able to make his own hours and work his schedule around us kids. This is something that has always appealed to me. I was never going to be the type of person to do a job that I didn’t want to do; just because that’s what my parents wanted me to do or what society told me that I should strive for. This is part of the problem in going to university at 17; you are still a child. How are 17-year-olds with no real-life experience supposed to decide what they want to do with their lives? Of course we are going to take advice from our parents, who have lived and made mistakes and from our teachers who know our intellectual worth. For example, the summer, just before I started my second year at university, I ended up in hospital (that’s a story for another day) and I met a junior doctor on his rounds. He asked me what I was doing at university; he could obviously tell by the accent that I was not a Geordie. I told him that I came to university to do Physiotherapy but I had changed to Drama and Scriptwriting. He didn’t say anything; they left to continue on to their other patients. However, the next day he came back on his own to do my OBS and have a chat. He said, he couldn’t believe I had the nerve to change course and that he envied me. This was genuinely the first and only time, when telling someone what I had done, that they “envied” me; most people thought I was crazy. He told me, the only reason he was doing medicine was because his parents wanted him to, but all he wanted to do was be a ski instructor. So, this guy decided to do one of the hardest courses that you can do, to do one of the most demanding jobs that someone can do, just because other people wanted that for his life! I sometimes wonder what happened to him; I like to believe he is swoop swooping down the Alps.
Anyway, shortly after moving home I decided I would like to be an Independent Mortgage Adviser. I love helping people find a home and so it was something I wanted to continue with in some aspect. Once again life went on; getting married, having kids, needing money to live. When would I possibly have time to study? Hello, Lockdown! For the first couple of weeks of lockdown I was trying to work from home (office phone plugged in and everything) whilst also trying to keep everyone alive and do home learning. It wasn’t working, there were tears, I was neglecting my children, I couldn’t go on this way. Then came furlough- it was exactly what I needed. It allowed me time to regroup, recharge and refocus. Working from home had made me realise how much I really disliked my job and needed to make a change. When you are at home and it is just you and the job, no colleagues to have a laugh with; you quickly learn whether you like your job. If you work in a full time job, you spend more time at work and with your colleagues than you do with your own family; you need to like what you do. I have spoken to several people now considering a Coronavirus induced career change. My husband said, if you aren’t going to do it now, then you never will; he was so right, if I wasn’t
going to study when I was literally stuck in my house, when was I going to do it? So, I bit the bullet and ordered the online course. I’m 33 and I’m studying again! God, I forgot how much I truly love learning. I am scared in case it doesn’t work out but I am so excited for the possibility that it does. I do not believe in regretting things that you do, only things that you don’t do. We learn and grow from every experience that we have. Surely it is better to say, I tried this and it didn’t work out but this is what I have discovered about myself and this is how I have grown; rather than simply say, I didn’t try it because I might fail.
Remember, you don’t need to know what you want to do with your life when you are 17. You do not need to stay in a job you don’t like out of convenience. You may still not know what you want to do for a living and that’s OK. I might do this course and start working as a Mortgage Adviser and discover that I hate it and that’s OK too. At least I will have tried and won’t be asking myself, “what if?
A huge thank you to Christine for sharing her inspirational story! Make sure you go check out her Instagram account @badassbossmum and say hi 🙂