Episode 24: Do I hate my job or my career? – with Lauretta Ihonor of The Ambition Plan

Lauretta Ihonor tells the story of how she came to have five careers in the space of ten years before starting The Ambition, a global career change platform.  She also discusses how you go about answering the question: do I hate my job or my career?

Today’s guest

Lauretta Ihonor of The Ambition Plan

Website: The Ambition Plan

Facebook: The Ambition Plan

Twitter: @theambitionplan

Instagram: @theambitionplan

Pinterest: The Ambition Plan

Contact: hello@theambitionplan.com

Lauretta Ihonor is the founder of the global career change platform The Ambition Plan.  As a doctor, entrepreneur, journalist, TV producer, nutritional consultant and one-time fashion stylist, Lauretta is no stranger to the all-consuming search for passion and purpose.  She created The Ambition Plan to provide high-potential women with the guidance and community they need to figure out what they want to do with their lives and start doing it.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • Why we shouldn’t limit ourselves only to what we think is available based on our previous experience
  • What can happen if you try to turn a passion into a job
  • Seeing people doing things badly (and still getting away with it) makes you realise you’re not as bad as you think you are
  • What happens if you’re not authentic to yourself
  • What to ask yourself to determine whether the problem is the job or the career
  • It’s worth trying to do what you can to “fix” a situation before making a decision to leave
  • There are opportunities to take advantage of in any position

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 24: Do I hate my job or my career? - with Lauretta Ihonor of The Ambition Plan

Jeremy Cline
You're unhappy, but you can't put your finger on what's making you unhappy. Is it the job, the place where you do your work? Or is it the work itself and the career path? Its figuring out the answer to this question that we discuss in this episode? I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Hello and welcome to Change Work Life, the show that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. My guest on this week's episode is Lauretta Ihonor. Lauretta's had shall we say quite a varied career. She's worked in five different careers all in the space of 10 years. After that she had some coaching and founded The Ambition Plan, where she helps people figure out what they want to do with their lives and to start doing it. Here's the interview with Lauretta. Hi Lauretta, welcome to the show.

Lauretta Ihonor
Hi, Jeremy. Thanks for having me on.

Jeremy Cline
Can you start by telling us a bit about what you do?

Lauretta Ihonor
Sure. So I'm Lauretta Ihonor. I'm the founder of The Ambition Plan, which is an online platform and magazine for career changers who essentially know that they have great potential, but they're not doing what they should be doing in life. And we just help them figure out what they want to do through things like odd calls, free resources, workshops, events, etc.

Jeremy Cline
Can you talk us a little bit through your CV because I think you said something like five careers in 10 years - doctor, fashion stylist, health journalist, TV news producer, nutritional consultant, and now entrepreneur. How did that come about?

Lauretta Ihonor
It really ties into what I'm doing right now. I started my professional career as a doctor. Wasn't really a great fit. I was really good at school, let's just put it that way - very good at exams, very good at doing what I was told to do - I'd come from a family of doctors so it was very much the path of least resistance. Went to medical school, enjoyed studying. I always loved being challenged, I love the academics, but when it came to actually being a doctor looking at the consultants, I thought 'this isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life'. So after I graduated from medical school, went into practising medicine, I did that just for a year. And after that year, I knew this wasn't for me. So I left, and then I had to figure things out on my own, which was an interesting journey, because I'm sure a lot of your listeners who are in mid career change will know that if you do it later in life, there's not a lot of support out there for you. I feel like people think 'you've had your bite of the cherry so tough luck, go figure it out on your own'. So I was kind of spat out into the real world and didn't know what I wanted to do. So I did it through trial and error. I went into fashion after medical school, after leaving medicine because I enjoyed it. It felt like it was going to be more creative, and I felt very creatively stifled when I was a doctor. So it just made sense on paper to me because I was you know, great at books as always I went back to uni, I was the London College of Fashion and I got a fashion marketing degree and then that tipped me into fashion marketing and merchandising, which then turned into styling, which was nice, it was fun - I did it for about 18 months, but I realised I'd gone too far in the wrong direction. So yes, I was being creatively challenged, but I was no longer being very academically challenged or stimulated in the way that, you know, I had for the majority of my life, so I had to find a middle ground. So I left fashion. And I always enjoyed writing - I found a job with a medical newswire so that's how I fell into journalism. I started writing medical news articles for specialists, so doctors, etc. I did that for about a year or so and got hit with major imposter syndrome and felt like 'who crowned me to be a journalist?' Why was I writing these news stories? So I went back to uni and got a degree in international journalism, which then tipped me into the world of TV because I went - just off the cuff - applied for an internship with CNN International, and then that turned into a job, which then turned to three years working in TV production and news reporting etc, which again, it was fun, I had great ambitions, you know, I went into it and I said, 'I want to be a reporter'. So I set myself sort of a kind of years challenge to report on national TV. And by the time I achieved that, I kind of thought, Okay, you've done it now. Was it all you thought it would be? Not really. What do you want to with yourself now? So I spent another year in TV doing a lot of production, whilst I figured things out, and then it just got to a stage where I thought, you know what, this isn't for me. So then I left and again back at the drawing board having to decide what am I going to do with myself? A big thing in my past has been - and this is how I've made my career decisions - has been always based on what is already available to me, so I don't have to start at the very bottom. And I've been very big in nutrition - one of my first degrees before medicine was actually genetics, nutritional genetics, so I had that nutrition background. I've had my own weight loss struggles in the past, so I kind of knew a lot about diet and nutrition. Obviously, I was also a doctor. So on paper, it looks like a no-brainer to go into kind of being a nutritionist. So that's what I did. I got a certification in nutritional medicine and started doing that. And again, I did that for about 15 months, and I learned a very hard lesson about doing something that you enjoy as a job. 15 months in I hated it. I didn't want to talk about nutrition. I didn't care about people's eating habits. I just didn't care because all the fun had been sucked out of it. So again, I was back at the drawing board in terms of, what do I do now? I think by then I'd done four different things. And it just felt like there was something wrong with me. So I paused. I started working a lot with life coaches, career coaches, started doing a lot of introspective work, getting lots of self help books - doing all the stuff that I'm sure anyone listening to this podcast is doing right now - thinking that's where the answers lay. And it was only when I started working with one specific -. I think she was more of a therapist than a coach to be honest - but we started digging into kind of the questions that you generally ask yourself, you're always focused when you change career to the practical things - what have I got to bring to the table? What can I do without getting to the very bottom? What's going to earn me good money? And that's what I was focused on. And we started looking at other stuff, you know, to do with me as a person and my values and drawing lessons from what I had done in the past and hadn't enjoyed etc, and that took me down a different avenue and that's when I started realising okay, I actually want to work for myself. That's a big thing. I enjoy the journalism part of it so I do want to produce content but I need to figure out how to pull all the things of being self sufficient, having a job that has a high turnover in terms of activities and challenges because I'm someone with a short attention span - I start projects and I dump them halfway. And rather than bracing myself for that, it was time to embrace that and find something that worked. So I actually went back into journalism whilst I figured that out and I was a magazine editor for about another year before. I think I always say sometimes you have to see people doing something badly to realise that you're not as bad as you think you are. I have very low confidence and I didn't realise that so I thought I wasn't good enough to start my own kind of platform or magazine. And I worked for this magazine, which was just shambolic, and the fact that they were in profit and were running in such a haphazard way just made me say 'do you know what, you can do it'. So I quit it and started The Ambition Plan. And yeah, the rest is history as they say.

Jeremy Cline
I loved what you said about decisions before being based on what was already available. So in other words, you look back and say, well, I've done this, I've done that I've done the other, I've had this experience - so what should I do that stems from that? But it sounds like with the help of this new coach, she helped you work out that that's not necessarily the way you have to look at things.

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah, exactly. I'm not going to fully put it on the new coach, because what actually happened was when I went to see that lady, I basically said 'I don't trust myself, I can't make good decisions'. 'How do you know that?' 'Because up until now I spent the last - I think it was eight years by then - everything I've done has not worked out. Something is wrong with the way I think so I don't want to think that way', which is where we started looking at Okay, what's a different way to think and I started challenging myself to do the opposite. Whatever your gut feeling is go and get another degree, which is my favourite, you know, party trick. If I got stuck, I just went back to uni and got another degree. It was 'don't do that, do the opposite'. You don't want to do an internship, okay, fine. How are you going to get in? Use your networks. You don't want to ask your friends for favours? Go and ask your friends for favours. So I just started pushing myself to always do the opposite of what you've done up until now - because the old way does not work for you.

Jeremy Cline
How did you find the coach strict therapist who really helped you?

Lauretta Ihonor
Google. That's advice I always give to people. Google. And I've seen a lot of people and you get a good flavour for who's a good fit for you. And she was one of the people that I went to and she wasn't telling me what to do. I'd had probably about three careers coaches by then. I'd seen a couple of life coaches. I've seen several therapists and then there was a commonality in that I always find they were telling me what I should do. And you know, I'm quite rebellious by nature. If you tell me to do something, I'm going to do the opposite just to prove a point. And she was the first person I sat down with who said, 'What do you want to do?' You know, I came up with harebrained schemes about 'I want to leave the country, I want to live on a desert island'. She was like, 'okay, go and do it'. And it just really sat well with me because this felt like someone who had my best interests at heart instead of just trying to get me to - because you do get a lot of coaches - they have a goal. So they just want to get you to the end so they can say well done we've achieved our goal - get out. Whereas this person wasn't forcing me, she was just kind of like, what do you want to do? Let's figure that out.

Jeremy Cline
Was there any indication when you did your search on Google that she would be like this? Or was this really a case of you had to have the session in order to work out that you were the right fit and she was the right fit?

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah, exactly. And again, I'm telling the story it all sounds very romantic now at the end, but as I said, it was like finding a car. I went on a lot of test drives, I saw a lot of people and said this is not working for me and left, and spent a lot of money with these people. But you know, it came good at the end. So it's been a good experience. But it's a case of trial and error. You just have to take the chance, have a session with someone, have a couple of sessions with someone - if it doesn't work out, let it go.

Jeremy Cline
Can we talk a little bit more about medicine? It does highlight the fake ridiculousness of people being expected to make decisions when they're 18, 19 years old. You said you come from a family of doctors and it was the path of least resistance. Did you think that you were going to like it when you started down that road?

Lauretta Ihonor
I didn't ever really want to be a doctor, but I didn't know what I wanted to be. Whilst running The Ambition Plan I've noticed there is a common thread, which is the majority of people don't actually know what they want to do. They don't have that big overriding passion, whereas there's a narrative in society that you're supposed to - you're supposed to know that I always wanted to be this thing from childhood. And if you don't have that you can feel a little bit like there's something wrong with you. So you don't vocalise that. Especially you get to a certain age and people say, what do you want to do? And you say, I don't know. And they say, 'well, you really should know this by now'. So you just start lying, or at least I just started making up things that sounded good. So that was the predicament I was in. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I knew I could be good at it, and I was I didn't, you know - not to blow my own horn, I did very well in medical school, because I knew I could do it because I'm good at exams. So I just went down the path that was, I wasn't gonna get grief, my family, I wasn't going to get grief from my teachers. You know, I was going to be respected in society, I'd always have money in the bank, and I knew I could do it. So medicine ticked all those boxes. I just didn't realise at that time, that something that was much more important to me was actually being authentic to myself. And that's what happened - six years, you know, finishing medical school, starting my new job and saying, I don't care how much I've paid. I don't care how much everyone thinks 'You know, I'm amazing because I'm a doctor'. I hate it. It doesn't sit well with me as a person.

Jeremy Cline
Was there ever the part of you that thought, well, I've invested six years in this, I can't give up now?

Lauretta Ihonor
No. Other people thought that but I didn't. I mean, by the time I started working as a doctor, I was 24. So I was actually still quite young. And that's why I had all those careers, because I felt like actually, you've got your whole life ahead of you - you're going to work - especially with the state of the you know, pensions, etc at the moment - you're probably gonna work to your seventies, so 24 is not a big deal! So yeah, I didn't care but other people kept saying 'you've spent a lot of time, don't give this up'. But you know, it's like having money and you've spent it and it's gone. That's how I felt - the time has gone. Why am I going to keep punishing myself? That's over, let's move forward.

Jeremy Cline
I think it's called the sunk costs fallacy, or I think that's a name for it - where people think 'I've climbed this ladder for so long that I should keep on climbing it.'

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah. It's interesting. Definitely. But yeah, for me, it's always about kind of using how I feel. It's that gut feeling gut and intuition as a compass. Of course I was nervous to leave. I left technically a few times and came back in that when I left medical school when I graduated you have to go get registered with the GMC which is the kind of governing body for doctors here. And I didn't go. I said 'I'm not going to practice as a doctor, I don't care' - so I didn't do it. And then I got nervous towards the end of the summer when it was time to start your first job as a doctor and I ran off secretly and I went to the GMC and I registered I thought 'Okay, let me do this. I'm just going to give it a try.' And the same with my resignation - I wrote it a couple of times and then never handed it in - but it just got to a stage where certain things happened, and I said do you know what, a hundred percent this is not for me and then you know - then I can move forward.

Jeremy Cline
And the timing's quite interesting because I know a few doctors and actually lived with the doctor for a while. The first sort of proper year - the junior house officer year - from what I gather, it's basically a rite of passage. It's a year which is utterly hell for new doctors. They are looked down on from basically everyone in the profession. It's crazy hours, its lack of support - it's horrendous. I'm not saying it's supposed to be like that, but it seems to be kind of accepted that that is the reality of that year. Just wondering whether at any stage you thought, 'okay, yeah, this is the junior house officer year - it's supposed to be this bad, it's going to get better at the end of it'. Or whether you were at that stage looking beyond that and realising 'No, even beyond this year, it's just not going to be for me?'

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah, I mean, I'll be very honest and say - I think it varies from hospital to hospital - I didn't have a bad year. And, you know, maybe I've misrepresented myself. I didn't have a bad time practising medicine. It just didn't sit well with me as a person. A lot of the times when I was going to hand in my resignation and didn't was because I was enjoying myself. I actually had a really nice team. And you know, we'd be joking about something, and I'd just look around and think actually, you've got it quite good here. Don't do anything yet. So it wasn't ever the work. And people are different. I didn't have a lot of confidence. I'm also very good at being resourceful. So you can get into that year and you can feel a bit alone, but I was very good at just saying, I'd call up the pharmacist, 'I've been told to prescribe this, I don't know what it is, can you just tell me?' and they just helped. So I found my feet and I ducked and dived, and it was fine. It wasn't that. It was me as a person. I would look at my consultants - when you come to medicine that's where you're aiming - in 10 years, you want to be that person. And they just looked miserable. They looked really old, like a lot older than they actually were. They were miserable, they were backbiting and I just thought, this is pathetic. I'm not working to this, I have to get out before I end up like them. For me that was that it. I could see my future and that's not the future I want.

Jeremy Cline
And so going to the other end, starting The Ambition Plan. So you'd identified characteristics from previous jobs that you enjoyed, like the writing, the creativity. Talk me through how that morphed and moulded itself into starting The Ambition Plan?

Lauretta Ihonor
Sure. So again, I think I've misrepresented myself a little bit, because it sounds like I had a great plan and I went with it. I think the main thing that I knew was I wanted to work for myself. And I enjoyed creative pursuits. I enjoy creating things and just having, you know, a blank slate and at the end of it something was there. I enjoyed having a lot of change. I always felt stifled in any pathway that was there and I was just going to have to do the same thing all day every day. And I had a bee in my bonnet about not being supported through my career changes. So I just had this idea where I said, I'm just going to start this website, and I'm just going to write some articles and it's just going to give kind of advice that I wanted when I was changing career. That was it. There was no scheme, there was no plan, there was no vision. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I just went with it. And fortunately, it's started turning into something and even now, you know, I'm 18 months in and it's still very much trial and error. I'm still 'Oh I'm going to try this, I'm gonna try that'. But it was more of a brain shift that I said, let me put myself in a space that I am allowing myself to change as I need to change because for me that was the ultimate thing that I noticed was important to me was that I need to have flexibility to keep changing what I want to do, and not feel bad about it. And it's hard to get that in employed work. Because you know, you pay your dues, you get to this level, and they have a path for you, and if you try and deviate people think there's something wrong with you, you're a liability, you're flaky. So for me, it was more I just need to put something together that I can work for myself doing.

Jeremy Cline
And it's interesting to me this idea of doing something which you wish had been available to you. That's come up a couple of times. I interviewed a pilates instructor a while back and she essentially said the same thing to me. She wanted to start what she couldn't do. I mean she wanted to have certain things available to her and they weren't, so she thought 'oh well I'm going to start it myself.' I think there's a risk, particularly when people start their own business that they think that every idea has been taken. And if someone is struggling to find something or particular information, then that means that, you know, maybe it's not out there and there is a gap in the market. And that's something that you're doing.

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah, I'm not reinventing the wheel by any means. You know, there are lots of resources out there for people who want to change careers. I just wanted to put my own spin on it. I felt very embarrassed and not by myself, I'd make the decision to think this is good and then I'd get out into the big wide world and I'd go to a job interview and then I'd find the interviewer - not trying, I'm not going to say they did it intentionally - but it felt like they were trying to embarrass me from my past visions. And it was like I was someone who was stupid, and had no qualifications. I had loads of qaulifications - I had too much experience and I was being shamed for not picking one of them, and it just felt a bit ludicrous. So that's the spin I bring to this where it's more about embracing it and being happy and kind of celebrating people who don't want to settle and they want to try different things and figure out what they want to do, rather than making them feel bad. And, you know, I've had really nice growth in terms of both socially, website traffic, etc, over the last 18 months running. And that's been something that people have said to me is 'I feel better about what I'm doing'. I feel better about being a mess, basically! You know, lots of people are in this situation, and I didn't realise that. So it has turned it into more of a community than anything else, which just celebrates people who don't want to settle and people who want to keep trying, and I don't care if you're 50, or you're 60, as long as you say, you know, I know there's something else I want to do and I'm going to keep looking - that's to be celebrated rather than 'oh I'm just going to give up and just resign myself to a life of misery and just snap at everyone I see because I'm so upset with myself.'

Jeremy Cline
So when somebody comes to you, how do you help them first identify whether it is the job that they're doing? So it's where they're doing it that's the problem rather than the what they're doing? Because I mean people quite they might enjoy it, but they just don't enjoy where they do it. And you can sometimes feel quite rejuvenated when you move to a different accountancy practice or a different hospital or a different law firm or whatever it might be. And then either that rejuvenation continues, or you kind of start to feel a bit of a decline, and then you start to job hop. In your experience and with the people that you've worked with, are there aany sort of telling factors that help you work out that which one it is - whether it's the what you're doing, or whether it's the way you're doing it?

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah. So it's funny you say that - one of the most popular resources we've got on The Ambition Plan site is the cheat sheet. It's called 'Do I need a new career or do I need a new job?' and that's exactly what it's aimed at. It kind of walks you through figuring that out for yourself. Because as you said, it's really easy to confuse the two with each other and start making some pretty rash decisions when you didn't really need to make those at all. I would say general advice would be paying attention to what's upsetting you, because people do get caught up with being upset and then they catastrophise and it becomes this big, you know, soap opera type situation. Instead of 'I hate my job, I hate my job,' drill down. Literally look as you go through a day, what's okay, and what do I hate? Because that's going to give you some clues - are you being challenged by the work you're doing? Is it the people around you that are stressing you out? Is it your company, do you think what they're doing is just pointless and a bit silly? How do you feel about when you introduce yourself to people and tell them what you do? Do you feel embrassed about what you do? Do you feel you're successful? All those things start giving you a few hints because once you start answering those questions and lining them up, you will start to see what you hate and it becomes quite clear - you hate the company, you hate the people, you hate the tasks you're doing on a daily basis. That seems to suggest that it might be the current job your in. Great way to test that is to change the job. You know, if you say you don't like the task you're doing. Say you're a project manager, for example, and you work in healthcare, and you're working for a specific company, you don't like the task you're doing. You could try being a project manager somewhere else, and just, you know, you have different responsibilities and then see, is it actually the industry? Or is it the role, the place that I was working at? Because if you change and you're doing something new and you're surrounded with new people, and you feel - it goes back to what I said about when I was in medicine - you still just feel like this doesn't work for me and this, isn't it, then that's more about the career and the industry you're in rather than the job itself. When you're in the wrong career it's an internal upset, whereas when you have the wrong job as an external upset because people around you and the situation you're in is actually winding you up. It's nothing to do with the industry you're in.

Jeremy Cline
So it can be the difference between having a terrible boss or a toxic workplace and then that going away, and suddenly you discover your love of what you do, or you get rid of that and you still find actually that you're not very keen on what you're doing?

Lauretta Ihonor
Exactly. Yeah, definitely.

Jeremy Cline
If you try the experiment and you end up moving somewhere else, I've kind of set a rule of thumb that it takes probably three to six months to get into a new job. That's just sort of been my experience that once you're in a new place, they do things differently, getting to know the personalities and all that sort of thing - it takes a little while. How long realistically should you give yourself before assessing whether or not it was the place where you were, or whether it's the career?

Lauretta Ihonor
I mean, it really depends on the individual situation. It's nice to give everything at least as you said, three months for things to settle, for you to find your feet etc. But sometimes you just know. And also another caveat that comes with that is obviously if you go somewhere and you know, you're being psychologically put through the wire then get out. And that's something else that people used to do to me all the time - 'you need to stay in a job for x amount of time so it looks good'. Don't tie yourself up into that if your mental health is suffering - just get out asap. Otherwise, three months is a good time for you to test if things are working out for you. It's always nice to give people a chance. You know, I used to do mentorship, I don't anymore - everything is very much digital and article-based now, but I used to do mentorship and when I did, I would have these conversations with the women that I was working with, where they don't give people around them a chance to fix things - they make decisions on their own, they decide it's terrible and they want to leave, but if they ever go back and actually challenge their boss about certain factors, suddenly the working environment gets better. So if it's a fixable situation, then you should try and do as much as you can to fix it before you throw in the towel completely. It's just because you don't want to regret anything. You know, the only regrets I have with my career changes definitely would be how I crashed out of certain careers. And at the time I did it intentionally to stop myself going back, but looking back, especially, you know, I'm 10 years older now than when I started it, and I look back and I think actually, that was quite immature the way you did that and you burned a few bridges, you could have gone about that in a slightly more productive manner. So yeah, I'd always say, give things a proper chance rather than just throw in the towel.

Jeremy Cline
But only give them as long a chance as you need to. And going back to your point that you don't stick around just because you're worried about your CV showing something that you've only been there for six months.

Lauretta Ihonor
If it's making you miserable, if it's physically upsetting you. If you're trying to find your feet, that's another thing - don't just jump out of a job and you have nothing to do when you're at home and you're working yourself up even more and your mental health really is suffering. But if you're in - I hope that makes sense - if you're in a situation and it's bearable, and you don't know what you want to go to next, then take advantage - and this is something that I always preach both in The Ambition Plan and personally - take advantage of every situation you're in, because there's good in absolutely every situation. Even if you're in a career and you don't want to do it anymore. There are people there who are going to come in handy to you in the future, nurture those relationships now, pay attention to the contacts you're building. Do you have a training budget in your job? Go and get trained in things that you're not going to be able to get trained in once you leave. Take advantage of all of that and formulate your plan before you leave rather than just being like 'I hate it, I'm leaving' and you're shooting yourself in the foot. But yeah, as I said caveat to that is only if you're in the job and if you're suffering, you can't sleep, you can't eat, you're stressed, you're depressed - then forget about how long you should have on your CV, just look after yourself and go.

Jeremy Cline
And how do you help people overcome the objection of it looking like your job hopping - the CV concern?

Lauretta Ihonor
So I think you have to ask yourself who's more concerned about it. Is it you? Because again, that's something I see - 'People are going to think this about me.' Well, no, they're not - have you asked them? No, you've just invented this scenario in your brain. So you have to distinguish is this a scenario you've decided and you've got no experience, or actually have you been out there and people are making comments about it and then you're thinking, How do I navigate this? So there's two things - if you're making up the scenario in your brain, then that's self development work - you really have to work out why you're putting yourself down so much, you have to start speaking to yourself a little more nicely, you have to go out into the big wide world and put it forward to people and challenge your belief and see if it's true or not. If you are in the big wide world, and people are knocking you back then you have to adjust your CV a little bit, you know, people have to be a bit sensible about these things. Because I certainly used to have three, four different versions of my CV and they would be tailored to whatever industry I was applying for a job with, because I've got so much experience at different places, if I was doing something health related, then I'd play up my health stuff, and I'd remove all the non-health stuff. And if I was doing something journalistic, then I'd play up all of my writing stuff and take out the other stuff that had nothing to do with it. So you do tweak your CV as you need to, to look less, you know, job hoppy as possible. Obviously there's things you can't do you know, you're going to make updates and pretend you're in certain jobs - but use that time positively for you know, if you went travelling, if you had a sabbatical -don't just have this massive gap. Explain what happened during that time. Explain what benefits you got from it. If you have training during that time, explain the skills that you learned. There's always, you know, a good way to spin what you have done. And if I'm very honest, when you're in the right job with the right people, they're not going to care that much. And that's certainly something I noticed, I worked with a lot of international companies and I noticed - not to be, you know, anti UK - but when I was applying for jobs with non UK people, especially Americans, they loved that I'd had so many different careers, they actively thought it was great, and they would say she's got so much experience and so much to bring to the table and she knows how to do this, whereas the UK ones would be very much like, 'Ooh, I don't like this. I don't like that you left the job after a year.' It's a mentality thing. You should go where your people are essentially.

Jeremy Cline
And what do you say to those who will say that 'It's work, it's not designed to be fun. Work is there to be tolerated, it's a necessary evil - you do it to put food on the table, put a roof over your head and hopefully build up your retirement pot'. It's not a point of view I subscribe to, I can tell by talking to that it's not a point of view that you subscribe to, but someone who says 'oh, well, you know, you're lucky, not everyone's that lucky.' How do you start breaking down that kind of barrier and objection?

Lauretta Ihonor
Honestly, I don't. That's just where I'm at. People believe what they want to believe. And they get to a certain stage in life in their opinions change or they don't. I don't argue with anyone. If that's what you think, and you want to be miserable - life's for living. Everything's optional. You want to be miserable, then good luck with that. I'm absolutely not going to argue with you about it. But for someone who's finally seen the light, then that's a conversation we can have about how do you create a job that makes you happier. No one does cartwheels in their jobs but you know, I've been in careers where I can barely get out of bed because I can't stand to go there and I can't eat and the whole thing is just wearing me down, versus being in careers where I feel like 'Oh I'm quite looking forward to going to work today' or 'Oh god I've got to deal with that person, but I get to do this afterwards'. So you can have good from it. If you look at the most glamorous careers - we see models and actresses having a great time. They have to do a lot of stuff they don't want to do, but there's a payoff in there and a lot of it's to do with feeling like you're doing something meaningful, and you're, you know, making a difference in the world. And if you're getting that from your work, then you can put up with the monotonous stuff a lot better.

Jeremy Cline
And talking about your work, where do you think The Ambition Plan is going to take you? What's your five year vision, if you have one? I know a lot of people who say I choose not to have a five year vision. Where do you think The Ambition Plan's going to take you over the next say five years?

Lauretta Ihonor
I'm one of those people who doesn't have a five year vision. I used to make plans, they don't work - which is what I said to you about my initial task and let me just do the opposite. I used to make plans, the plans used to get messed up, so what's the point? I'm going with the flow. I like how things are going at the moment. Let's see what happens.

Jeremy Cline
Brilliant. Lauretta, I always ask my guests - do you have a particular resource, be it a book or a course or something which either has helped you or which you can see helping other people in terms of their career change, or maybe just a mindset thing starting to think more positively or differently about the world?

Lauretta Ihonor
Yeah. It's a funny book, because I've read it several times... The first time I read it - I'll tell you the story before I tell you what the book is - the first time I read it I thought 'what a stupid book'. Its a book that's critically acclaimed, it's a bestseller, it's sold billions of copies worldwide. Everyone goes on about it, and I read it, and I thought 'This is the most ridiculous book. It's telling me nothing. It's so obvious. It's a waste of my time,' and I put it down. And then I picked it up again when I was going through a really hard time and just felt like life was not working out for me, I'm trying so hard, you know - wallowing - and then it just felt like a mind blowing. I felt understood, etc. So the book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and it's brilliant for you if you're in that place where you just feel like someone out there hates you, someone's just trying to sabotage your life, and you can't understand why you can't get it together. You know, and a big part of it - which is why I'm sitting here talking to you today, you're asking me questions and I'm saying no, I don't do that, I don't do that - it's helped me really shift because it just shows you how life is very fluid and what's meant to happen really does happen and you can get out there and put yourself out there but essentially, things will go your way if you just let it. So I would always advise reading The Alchemist if you're feeling a bit down and you know, you're feeling dejected.

Jeremy Cline
Fantastic. Thank you very much for that. And where can people find you if they want to get hold of you?

Lauretta Ihonor
It's just theambitionplan.com and we're across social media. Again it's nice and simple, it's just @theambitionplan on everything - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.

Jeremy Cline
Brilliant, I will put links to all of those in the show notes for these episodes. Lauretta it's been an absolute pleasure speaking to you and thank you for all your insights and tips. Thank you very much.

Lauretta Ihonor
Not a problem. Thank you.

Jeremy Cline
Lauretta's story might seem a bit extreme, but it's not actually that unfamiliar. You probably know people who seem to move job quite a bit, but always within the same career. There might be particular reasons for them having done that - maybe it was opportunities for promotion. Alternatively, it could be what Lauretta was talking about, and that the problem is the career itself and job hopping just isn't going to provide the solution. I also really like the question that Lauretta suggested asking to yourself: when you describe your job to other people, how does it make you feel? I'd never really thought about it in those terms, but it's a pretty powerful question. You'll find the show notes at changeworklife.com/24 with links to Lauretta's contact details and all the resources. And if you're enjoying the podcast, I'd really appreciate it if you left a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from. It really does help people find the show and I'd love your help in getting other people to listen in. We've got another great interview next time on the podcast and I'm really looking forward to seeing you there. Cheers. Bye

+ Click to view entire transcript
- Click to collapse

Thank you for listening!

If you have any questions or comments, please fill out the form on the Contact page.

I would be so grateful if you’d: