Episode 3: I know I need to change, but where do I even start? – with Tom Harris of Tom Harris Coaching

Career coach Tom Harris answers a question which is probably common to many of us: I know I’m unhappy, and I know I need to make a change, but where do I even start?

Today’s guest

Tom Harris of Tom Harris Coaching

Website: Tom Harris Coaching

Facebook: Tom Harris Coaching

Instagram: Tom John Harris

LinkedIn: Tom Harris

Contact: tom@tomharriscoaching.com

From selling chickens for one of the UK’s largest retailers, Tom became a business coach responsible for over £38 million worth of turnover and 1000 colleagues.

Following redundancy, he was determined to turn his dreams of starting his own business into a reality and become a career coach.  Having become a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner and Career Coach, he now helps people to secure their own dream job.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • Our values and beliefs change every five years.
  • Before making change you should focus on why you feel you need a change.
  • Why you shouldn’t start by looking at jobs but instead start with what it is you want your career to give you.
  • The right way to use jobs websites to identify a career that suits you.
  • The two methods of “career prototyping” and how you can use them to validate whether a career is right for you.

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 3: I know I need to change, but where do I even start? - with Tom Harris of Tom Harris Coaching

Tom Harris
So as we get older, we go through chunks of, say, five years where we change massively. What we are now was a completely different person to what we were five years ago. And as people progress through their careers, their values and beliefs change, but what a lot of people that...

Jeremy Cline
... This is Tom Harris, who's a career coach, and who I asked on to take us to the beginning and talk about just how does someone start to make a change to their career. So, if you know you're not happy, and you know you need to make a change but you just don't know where to begin, then this episode is for you. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Hi everyone, and welcome to Change Work Life, the show that's all about helping you beat the Sunday evening blues. My guest this week is Tom Harris, who actually started out selling hot chickens for a large retailer - that's Sainsbury's, one of the biggest grocery retailers in the UK here - and we'll hear about how whilst working for Sainsbury's he got into coaching before deciding to set up his own business. I was particularly keen to get Tom on to take us back to the basics and the question of just where do you start. So you're in a job, you've been doing it for a while, but you know you're not happy, and you just don't know where to start? Well, that's where Tom is going to help us. So let's get straight in.

Hi, Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Harris
Thank you, Jeremy. Thanks for having me.

Jeremy Cline
It's a pleasure. So first off, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do now, what you do for a living?

Tom Harris
Yep. So what I do now is I'm a career coach. And I help people escape retail specifically and amongst other careers as well, and help them land careers that they love.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, and why specifically retail?

Tom Harris
So from a retail point of view, that's my background. So roll back 10 years ago, I started in retail myself and found myself in that career for 10 years until redundancy came about. And as a result of that, I felt that I needed to make a change in my life, having done that amount of time in retail, and I wanted to do something completely different. So now, that's where I find myself now as a career coach.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so how how did you go from being in retail to being a career coach? It seems like quite a shift, actually.

Tom Harris
Yeah. So when I started at Sainsbury's - that's the specific retailer that I worked for - I started on the hot chicken counter. After probably about a couple of years, I'd worked my way up into management. And as I progressed up the line, I worked my way into coaching. And so that's where the kind of link comes in from me in terms of the coaching world - so I became a regional coach for Sainsbury's looking after 32 sites, coaching their teams to improve performance and to improve workforce capability. And yeah, that's effectively how I identified my route in terms of taking my skills that I had from that coaching and then providing it out into the world effectively.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so there was actually an opportunity within Sainsbury's - a huge retailer in the UK - there was actually an opportunity within that environment to become a coach sort of internally?

Tom Harris
Yeah, so it's a key skill that a lot of people in retail have - one that's massively underrated, to be fair in terms of what you get there. Because it's such a dynamic working environment, you do have to move quickly and work quickly. And coaching skills come quite naturally, once you've worked in retail for quite a long time, but it is one that's massively underrated by those that work in retail, and I developed those skills over five or six years. I got pretty good at it to be fair. And I thought, actually, there's something where I can actually help people outside of the retail environment and those that are still in retail, get to where they want to be through coaching.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, and so, when you were at Sainsbury's, what made you - sort of attracted you - to actually having a coaching role within the organisation?

Tom Harris
I think for me, personally, I've always enjoyed working with people - you'd hope that I had that skill considering I worked in a customer facing retailer. And it was that working with people and seeing people progress and seeing people move along in their careers. When I worked into management, I saw a lot of people that worked under me progress through the company as a result of my coaching. And for me, that was probably the most rewarding part about my job. And that's where I saw actually, the more coaching I could do, the more effective I was going to be in my career and in Sainsbury's, and the more fulfilment I got from my work.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, and so when you made redundant, you, did you go straight from that to basically setting up your own business?

Tom Harris
No, it was a longer journey than that. So when the redundancy news broke, you go through a consultation period effectively. So even though it sounds like it's something that happened suddenly, it I think it was about three months in total, going from hearing the news to when I knew that I was going to be exiting the business. So I very much used that time to hone my skills a little bit. So I knew that I'd gained the experience working as a coach in Sainsbury's, but I didn't have any official qualifications to back it up. So I looked in terms of what coaching qualifications are out there and thought I'll use my time effectively during that period so when I leave the business, I've got the skills ready to start up my own business. So I went out there and became a qualified life coach and master NLP practitioner, and also gained some other smaller coaching qualifications along the way.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so when the news hit, you knew that you wanted to carry on doing coaching? And what led you specifically to want to do that with a view to starting out your own business? Why not do a similar role at another retailer or something like that? Why sort of take the risk as some would see it, of actually starting your own business?

Tom Harris
Yeah. So even though I enjoyed coaching in Sainsbury's, you're very much in a structure in terms of how much you can do and the autonomy around how you do it. So yeah, I could coach people, but there was only a distance you could take people. And when I saw that actually there were coaches out there that were helping people get numerous different results, and specifically say career changes, I knew that that was something where actually, I could make a bigger impact - bigger impact in the world - there was a lot more people I could help and get bigger results than what I was getting in retail, and while doing the thing that I enjoyed, which was coaching,

Jeremy Cline
Cool, interesting stuff. Interesting journey. Definitely.

So moving on to the main topic. So say someone comes up to you and says, 'Tom, I'm not happy where I am, I've been employed by XYZ. I've been there for five years. And I'm just not happy. And I don't really know why I'm not happy. I'm just not happy and I don't really know where to start. I don't know whether I should just change job but stay in the same field, whether it's the field that's the problem or I actually need to move somewhere else, whether I should start my own business - but oh gawd blimey that sounds a bit risky. I just don't have the first clue where to start'. So someone in that situation - where do they start?

Tom Harris
Yeah. So I'll be honest with you it's pretty much the question that everyone that I work with comes to me with one way or the other. And I think the way I start that question is I actually take it a few steps back to them getting to that decision. So very much the reason why a lot of people get dissatisfied in their careers or feel that they want more or need to change and want to start is because of when they started that career - they potentially had different values and beliefs when they started that career. So as we get older, we go through chunks of, say, five years where we changed massively - what we are now is a completely different person to what we were five years ago. And as people progress through their careers, their values and beliefs change, but what a lot of people that - and it's still quite a common thing - is that a lot of people have stayed in careers for longer than that. And what happens is, when they go through that change, they, their beliefs and values have changed, but their career hasn't. And that's where I start seeing that disconnect between actually someone enjoying their job and now feeling, oh you know, I want more, I need to start to look for something else. And that's because actually, they've maybe gained a new belief or value that wasn't there when they first started their career.

Jeremy Cline
So does that mean that everyone needs to change jobs every five years?

Tom Harris
Well, if you kind of look at the job market, now, it's something that happens a lot of the time. So when I started in retail, it was frowned upon to move around. And I remember sitting in an interview where someone questioned me saying, 'You've moved jobs, you've moved jobs within Sainsbury's three or four times now, you know, can you not stick at something', and it used to be viewed like that, but now, and looking at the industry as a whole it's actually frowned upon when you stay in something for a long period of time. So I think we are getting to that place now where people very much are having maybe five year careers and on to the next thing.

Jeremy Cline
And is that five years and then a wholesale change? Or is it possible to align where you are now, with that change? Can you do things within a current position, which then help you to to match your new beliefs and values?

Tom Harris
Yeah, definitely. I think it depends how much you change in that period of time. So just using my own example, what I was doing, and who I was five years ago, and what I'm going to be like in five years time, my values and beliefs are probably going to change massively - because I've made that big leap in terms of my career. So actually in five years time, I might need to be looking to completely do a massive change myself, but it does depend on you know, if you've got quite a similar life to how you had five years ago, and not much has changed around you, then it might just be a small change. So you can have some big life events. So you could have settled down to start a family and have kids. And actually that completely changes your belief and value system. And I find a lot of people, that's when those questions come about talking about changing careers, because those those are big values and beliefs that have changed - you value your time more, so you can spend more time with your family and your kids. And that's when those big changes need to happen. But if say something like that hasn't happened, and you've maybe just grown as a person or got older and wiser and just seeing things around the world a little bit differently - it could just be a small change, it could be one within your current organisation, it could be just mixing things up a little bit in and slightly pivot in your role.

Jeremy Cline
So how do you go about identifying with someone what has changed? I mean, obviously, there's, you know, there's life events - someone's got married, they've started a family or whatever - but in terms of their own internal sort of outlook and that sort of thing, how do you identify where they were and where they are now?

Tom Harris
Yep. So this is pretty much the starting point now once I've taken someone back to kind of look at their past, this is where the journey very much begins. And probably to answer your question in terms of where do people start when they don't really know what to do next. And I do find it quite funny that, you know, we spend a lot of time - we spend more time planning our next holiday than we do actually planning our next career move or what we want from our career. And it's very much that planning and self-discovery and actually taking a bit of time to write down some insights about yourself to start moving forward. And so specifically what I will do with people that come to me that want to start working these bits out is actually asking the question, 'what do I want my career to give me?' And believe it or not, I ask people that question and they go, 'Oh, that's a tough one. Let me think about it'. But they know the answers. And then they they start once you come up with one, it's not long until they've got 10 or 20 things but they've the never had it written down in paper in front of them and had it staring at them in their face.

Jeremy Cline
What sorts of things, just by way of example, do people say when you ask them that question. It's an interesting question that 'what do I want my career to give me?' That's really interesting.

Tom Harris
Yeah, so I like using that question specifically, because it can mean anything to anyone. So I don't like to lead anyone on in terms of directing them to a certain route. And some of the common themes that I see are work-life balance, or a certain salary expectation. It could be very practical stuff around commute, it could be the more emotional side of things - I want my career to make me happy. It can go pretty much anywhere - you get those that very much talk about the emotional side of what they want their career to give them - like a boss that values them, or fulfilment - but then it can very much go on the practical side where it is those salary, distance, hours, weekends off, for example.

Jeremy Cline
Do you find that some people actually find that quite hard? So just starting that process of actually, you know, working out what is it they want? I guess you see, you know, the dream lifestyle? And for some people, it's the yachts and the Lamborghini or whatever... Do people think 'Oh god that's got to be what I want,' you know, the dream lifestyle - the Playboy lifestyle for want of a better word - or are people able to start thinking actually a bit more realistically... You know, 'It's not what I want that's on Instagram', or social media or whatever, but actually, 'what is it that I want?' Is that something that's difficult for people? Or does it come naturally? How do you find that?

Tom Harris
I'll be honest with you, it does normally come quite naturally. I've not really had someone that's said anything unrealistic. And even if they do, if they believe that that's realistic for them, then it's exactly what should be on their career plan anyway. So I do think people do look internally and come up with what they see and can imagine them getting from their career, so it is normally realistic to what they expect. I've not really had someone say something like say a certain lifestyle, and then go, 'Oh, actually, not sure I could attain that'. Very much what everyone says is what they they want, and they see as attainable.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, that's, that's actually quite encouraging that people can do that - that they can come up with something that's attainable. And I guess, something that might put people off is, you know, the 'argh I could never do that.' But from what you're describing, it is actually within everyone to write that down and and get it down.

Tom Harris
Yeah, definitely it is. Ultimately, I find that everyone does know what they want, they've never just spent the time getting it down into words so it's staring them in the face. So they've just never really thought in terms of the details on those certain things that they want their career to give them, how they align, and what that looks like, as a whole. And that's what I find probably people struggle with is starting to prioritise this list as well. Actually they'll come up with a load of different values and beliefs that shine through in what they want. So you know, I want to be happy and work-life balance, you see all that comes through in it, but they never get time to think about actually what's the most important. So they might go chasing a job because they think the salary is important, but never really thought about actually, what was actually more important to them was work-life balance, and they've gone after the salary that hasn't given them say the work-life balance. They might have both been on the list, but people haven't spent time prioritising that list either.

Jeremy Cline
So when someone comes up with this list, is that the next stage to work out what the order of priority is on that and you advocate that people don't necessarily make changes which fulfil, six points, eight points, but they pick out the top how many? How many of those points should people be aiming for initially?

Tom Harris
So I think when during the initial kind of thinking stage of the process, as many as you can possibly get. The more information you get, the better and the more time you spend on it. So those that kind of rush through it and go, you know, I don't really believe in this kind of stuff and they just kind of breeze over it because they think they know what they want and they don't need to write it down to show them that - it needs to be a task that you can actually say you spent a good amount of time on and that could you could come up with, say 10 points, you could say you could come up with 20 points. I think anything between 10 and 20 points is probably - you know that you've done a decent job of it. And what you want to do from that 10 to 20 list is get it cut down into your top 10. I feel the obvious one is the right amount of stuff that you want your career to give you without it either being too overwhelming or too short that you've kind of not thought about everything that you want from your career.

Jeremy Cline
Okay. And going back to what you were saying about people making lists that are realistic, that is something they feel is realistic to them. How do you deal with the danger of going the other way that people actually have low expectations about what's realistic? You know, someone who thinks, 'Oh, I could never do something where I earn x amount, or I can never do something that involves that'. But where actually possibly what's holding them back there is their own belief. So how do you identify that? How do you draw it out and how do you counter that?

Tom Harris
Yeah, so one of the processes that I use in my career-change coaching is to help people stop effectively criticising their ideas before they rule them out. So I find that everyone will come up with the ideas, but very much like what you said there is they'll start going 'No I can't do that', or 'that's not realistic'. And what I very much set as a standard at the beginning is don't rule anything out. You know, just get all your ideas out, don't start criticising them yet because what I find is the human brain is actually pretty lazy, and when you come up with actually one okay idea out of say 10 career ideas, and one of them sounds pretty okay, it probably isn't their full capability of what they could do but they go 'yeah, I could do that' - the human mind gets drawn to it, and that is all they can see. Amongst the other 10, there could be another five great options that they could do some of them, you know, helping them exceed further in their careers in terms of how much they want to achieve and what they want their career to give them. And it's ensuring that that criticism, and that lazy thinking doesn't come into the early stages of the career change process.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so that's a really important point, isn't it that people have got to not immediately rule something out because they for whatever reason think it might not be attainable, it's got to be there on the table. And then, yeah, okay, so that's important to you, let's push on that. Let's just see how how you would get there and that sort of thing.

Tom Harris
And I'll give you an example of how this can go horribly wrong in terms of where people get stuck on an idea. I had a client come to me when doing the same activity - a little bit further down the line, once we'd done the values bit - and then we started looking at career ideas. She said to me, I want to be a pop star, which is great, you know - fantastic that she had the aspirations to do that. But when we'd kind of looked at - and this is where I said the most important bit and where I kind of took us back a few steps - is looking at your values and beliefs. Once she'd done that activity, and then she compared it to where she wanted to be in terms of being a pop star, the thing that she wants to get most from her work, was helping people. And she couldn't see how the lifestyle of a pop star how it's you know, dog eat dog world, it would be a very stressful life, and you don't really have a complete connection with your fans. She identified that actually, being a pop star was not going to give her what she wanted from her career. And actually, when she looked at all the other ideas that she had had, one that then started to stand out to her is actually she had had on there that she wanted to be an events planner for a charity. And actually, she could see how who she was and what she wanted to do and what she wanted to get from her career sat completely in that role.

Jeremy Cline
So I think we've touched on this. So after you've, you've got this list of you've answered this question, what do I want my career to give me? So the next stage after that, you were talking about people writing down their ideas for careers. So is that stage two of the process?

Tom Harris
Yeah. So once you, I guess - to kind of sum it up at once - once you know who you are, then you can start finding the work that aligns to who you are. So it is really important. Again, probably a point I really want to make is never start with the jobs first. Start learning about yourself and what you want, because you will - and this is a kind of natural thing that I see in the career change process - is people will go right 'I want to go get this job', and they just get stuck on that job. So the important thing first is think about what you want, and then find jobs that fulfil what you want. So yeah, that second step is then actually know about yourself, and then you're going to go out there and find careers that match what you want your career to give you.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, let's talk about that in a bit more detail. So say, I've identified that I don't want to commute anymore, I want to work locally. I want a job that's got fairly predictable hours so that I can get home in the evenings to see my kids. I've got a certain salary or income expectation in mind so that I can maintain the lifestyle I want. And you know, maybe I've got a few other things on my list. How do you then turn that into identifying jobs which will might actually give you that?

Tom Harris
Yep. So it is very simple, actually. So I'm not a big believer in job search websites, I'm not a big fan on that being the most effective way for those that want to change careers. I don't find that as the most effective way to land new careers because actually, every job on a job search website has probably over hundred applicants - and trying to get through those, you're already up against it in terms of the numbers. But one value I find that job search websites have is you've got an encyclopaedia of every job out there with a job spec of all the things that those jobs offer. And the key is then using those job search websites and use your career specification, what you did in terms of what you want your career to give you, and put a filter on those job search websites to start narrowing down your search. So just in terms of getting a few examples of what you said there, you can start putting in their distance away from home and put that in the filter, you could put the salary in there. If you've done a bit of work around the kind of work that you like doing so, you know, you may like coaching that you've identified from that earlier stuff about yourself, you could put 'coaching' in the search bar, and all of a sudden you start bringing in career ideas that you may never have thought of by using that job search website.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, and so does this actually work, and just thinking okay, so I look for jobs, which are 10 miles from my home with this salary, and I don't know - I've identified that I like working with people and I like acting for clients or that sort of thing. Are job search sites sufficiently sophisticated that you can actually plug in what you want from your career and get some ideas spat out at the other end that says, yeah, here's some stuff that you should consider?

Tom Harris
Yep, completely. So a lot of it's more practical. So you do have to think a little bit around - if you say you want your career to make you happy, you're gonna have to think about the bits underlining around that in terms of what'll give you that happiness. But once you start getting a few ideas in terms of, I'll give you another example - one of my clients that I was working with, she said to me that when she was doing all this work, she realised that she really enjoyed organising things. It was you know, in her personal life at work in retail, she loved organising the warehouse, she loved organising people. So what she did is she went on to a job search website and put 'organising' in the search bar and then filtered the other kind of distance and salary expectations. Instantly she had I think about 89 different career options that matched what her salary and distance expectations were that all key functions were around organising. For her it was around organising a team within a call centre. And that was the one that she kind of honed in on, because actually, she spent a lot of time organising. She could organise that team and she loved the rest around the job and what that gave her. But it does work. It brings ideas that you've never thought about.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so can you give us example to like some of the more radical changes that you've seen people make? So I don't know, going from doctor to working in a, I don't know, a pet Rescue Centre? I don't know! Yeah, some examples of the sorts of transitions that you've seen people make.

Tom Harris
Yeah so I think probably the one of the biggest transitions I've seen is, again, a lot of people that I work with have started in retail. So this particular person had started, they were a retail manager, you know, in a large retailer. And after doing these exercises, some of the key kind of words that came back for them were things like 'analytical'. At university, I think they'd done a music design course and they'd done loads of IT and design all throughout their life, but they found themselves as a retail manager. But yeah some of the skills they had that they enjoyed and what they liked using was things like being analytical, working on projects, working as part of the team. So when doing this example, what came up - and this one was quite a realisation for them, we didn't actually come up with this answer together - it was after one of our sessions, they'd gone home, had a bit reflection, done a little bit of research on their own. Next time they came in to see me, they sat down and said, 'I want to be a software engineer'. And I was like, 'Okay, before we were looking at...'. I think they wanted to work in events and stuff because music events seemed like the natural progression in terms of the skills that they had and what they've had experience in and what they'd done at university. But having looked at all the skills and what they enjoy doing, that stood out to them. And as a result of identifying that they actually managed to do an apprenticeship within the retailer they work for to become a software engineer. And because they already had their foot in the door, they manage to land that and start training as a software engineer in the retailer that they they worked for, but it was something they'd never considered or believed they could do.

Jeremy Cline
Okay. And if someone does come up with that sort of fairly radical change, what can they do to sort of just sense check it? Sort of think, 'Okay, so that's a bit different, am I sure that's right, with my background and my experience, my history'? So what can you do to, you know, assure yourself that actually this is a good option for you to try out?

Tom Harris
And this is actually my next stage in the career change process. So, what I call this is career prototyping. So this is, again something that I think some people do naturally, but don't really think we're doing it. So effectively there's two ways of doing it. And there's an easy way and a harder way, and I'll be honest with you the harder way is the most effective and will ensure that you get the results that you want. I'll start with the easier way though. So let's just say that you decided that you wanted to be a software engineer using my previous example, and it was completely a massive change to what you were doing already. Now, again, we live in a world now where we, through social media - we're connected to pretty much everyone in the world. And if you want to find out about what a software software engineer does, you can now go on to LinkedIn, type in 'software engineer', and you've now got however many software engineers there are in the world at your fingertips. And what I get my clients to do is to reach out to those people that are doing that, I'll try and get them to find them doing a similar job as possible. So there's tonnes of different types of software engineers out there, I'm sure. And in this case, my client reached out to software engineers that worked in the retail environment. And it's just reaching out to them and saying, you know, I'm really interested in what you do, this is what I do currently, I'd love to just pick up a conversation or even if it's an email conversation, ideally, you want to look for them locally, so you can meet them for coffee. And probe them about their career choices. We do it naturally, if we get a job offer, we talk to our friends, or we talk to people we know that have done similar jobs to ask them about their views on it and their advice. But what better than getting that advice from someone currently doing the job?

Jeremy Cline
And I'd imagine that's quite a shift for people. I mean, naturally, the British - very reserved - don't want to kick up a fuss. And so just the idea itself of getting in contact with a complete stranger and say, 'Hi, I'd like to ask you about your job'. That's got to be quite scary to do itself, hasn't it?

Tom Harris
Yeah, I think that I'm normally met with hesitation around 'why would someone that I don't know want to help me'. That's pretty much the one thing that comes straight to my mind. And I always come up with the analogy if you're in the high street, and someone pulls up next to you, and they say I'm trying to find XYZ. I don't know many times when someone says 'No I'm not going to help you'. You know, when people come to us asking for help, it's a natural human response to want to help that person. And as long as you approach that conversation in a nice friendly way, most of the time, someone will be willing to help you.

Jeremy Cline
Have you ever had clients who've done this and they've been met with a flat refusal from people?

Tom Harris
I've never had a refusal, you get people not reply, you know, there's a lot of people that are busy, they don't have time, and they see some of these messages and they go 'but I've not got time to help'. You know, and there's nothing wrong with that. And I'd say it's probably a 50:50 response rate. But as long as you reach out to enough people, you get enough people that will give you the information you need.

Jeremy Cline
And then so you've you've set that up, how do you know what questions to ask? I guess you're never going to be hundred percent certain about something until you've actually done it. But we're talking about here about I guess, giving yourself the best chance. So how do you know what questions to ask so that you know whether something is right for you?

Tom Harris
Yeah. So the reason why a lot of people feel apprehensive about making those massive career changes is because of fear. And fear is effectively false evidence appearing real. I love that acronym because I so believe that that is exactly what fear is. And it's ensuring that you're asking questions around that fear, so that you're filling in the gaps. You know, we've currently put in our minds that we can't do that career, or we're nervous about doing it because of 'I need that qualification or this qualification', for example. So that would be one of the questions and you would ask them, you know: what qualifications did you need to do this role? How long did it take you? Where did you go to do that qualification? What's the best place? What does the marketplace or what does your company deem as the right qualification for this role? And it's just thinking about your own fears and your own kind of gaps you need to fill and asking questions around that.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so that 'false evidence appearing real' for fear. I like that. I like that a lot. That's really good. Okay. So someone's done, that. They've satisfied themselves that it's worth giving it a go. Next up, is they're going to get their foot in the door I suppose.

Tom Harris
Yeah, and I guess there's there's two ways that lead on for this. So I said there was an easy way. And there's a hard way.

Jeremy Cline
You did yes, I wanted to come back to that yeah.

Tom Harris
Yeah. So the hard way, again, like I said, it is the hardest way of doing it. And this is actually experiencing it yourself. So you can go and ask people questions. And there's only so far that can go. Ideally you want to do as much as possible to experience the new career that you want to do. Because actually, that's the only way you're going to get the most accurate facts and evidence around if this is the right career for you. And there's no direct path to landing on this because it depends on the career that you're going for. But I guess some of the things you can look at is getting into volunteering opportunities that involves a career that you're looking at doing. It could be things like apprenticeships, it could be actually going to say 'Can I can I work at your company for free for a day to shadow someone?' You know, a lot of companies do allow you to do that.

Jeremy Cline
Really?

Tom Harris
Yeah, yeah. I've had people just message saying, you know, is it possible that I can shadow you for the for the day, and it does depend on the company, but I've had people be allowed in - you know, even places like the police, they do ride alongs and shadowing that you're allowed to shadow the police. There's tonnes of organisations that allow you to do that.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, and so how do you set that up? I mean, do you just find a company that looks like it might fit the bill and ask them?

Tom Harris
Yes, you could, if you've decided in terms of - let's use the software engineer example. So let's just start there. So you've decided you want to be a software engineer, there's a couple of ways you can go about experiencing it. First thing, it could be the person that you've been speaking to asking questions about, you could tempt them and say, actually, is there any way that I could volunteer to work on a bit of the project for free, you know, at weekends or something. That's normally the most natural route in, is thinking about how could I help them for free. I know some people feel uncomfortable about going 'I'm going to work for free', but if you think in terms of your career, if this is going to be the next five years of your life, for example, actually, maybe spending a couple of weekends, for the next couple of months is actually probably time well spent if you're going to ensure that you've made the right career choice for the next five years. I've done it personally. So when I was in my early days in retail, I actually wanted to join the police. And I started volunteering. And I looked on their website, and they did volunteering positions. And there are a lot of volunteer roles attached to most companies now.

Jeremy Cline
Okay. So have you had any instances where someone's been through all this process, and they've started something and six months to a year later, they've come back to you and said it just didn't work out? I mean, has that happened? And if so, why does that happen?

Tom Harris
Has it happened - I'll be honest with you, it's not really happened in terms of that kind of got through it and gone, 'I've done everything wrong and I've made a massive mistake.' People learn. I've had people where they've gone through the process and then learnt more about themselves and actually think they've even got a better idea. I've not really had anyone get to the process where they've gone through it all and gone 'I've made a massive mistake'. And he reason for that is - like I've put the emphasis on already - is ensuring that you do the work on yourself first and ensuring that you're doing this interview and experience activity to the best of your ability and to ensuring that you've asked enough people ensuring that you've experienced as much as you can. If you don't put the work in, then you're going to see that later down the line in your career change. So it is really important that you spend a huge amount of time in that getting to know yourself, and getting to know the job that you want to do, better.

Jeremy Cline
Okay. And what would you say to someone who says, 'Look, this is the world of work, no one really enjoys their job, do they? I mean, you can do all this, but ultimately, you're working and you're just, you know, looking for retirement'. So what would you say to someone who might have that sort of approach?

Tom Harris
Yeah. So someone that has that sort of approach has never done the work when they found when who they are and what they do aligns with who they are. So when some when someone has found work that aligns to who they are, they don't have that belief or mentality anymore. And the people that say that have never spent time to really find a career that gives them everything they want.

Jeremy Cline
Tom, that's been absolutely brilliant. I'm sure that you've probably got about a gazillion resources you could offer to people. But if you had to pick just just one, which someone listening to this who thinks 'Yeah, okay, this is worth exploring further', what would you suggest they start with?

Tom Harris
Yeah I'll be honest with you I've got two if that's okay.

Jeremy Cline
Yeah absolutely.

Tom Harris
Because these are completely two different ideas. So I know that a lot of people that come to me struggle with being creative and coming up with ideas, I think that's one that a lot of people struggle with, especially in the world that we live in is so structured, and one book that I have found very influential in my life, and a lot of people that I've worked with is Choose Yourself, by James Altucher. One of the key chapters in his book is around generating ideas and how to generate fantastic ideas. And he's someone that has come from nothing, many times where he's lost everything - gone bankrupt through the marketing crisis - and always then bounced back because of being able to generate great ideas. And the other one is Designing your Life by Bill Burnett, and so very much uses the same structure that I've spoken about today. It's, I think, it's one that I've gained a lot of inspiration from that has you see very much in my coaching - and that book is very life and career based and it's about designing your life and designing your career. And it is very similar to what I've spoken about today. So if anyone wants I guess more detail around what I've spoken about, that book is your resource on that.

Jeremy Cline
Fantastic. Well, I'll make sure that we refer to those in the show notes. So finally, where can people get in touch with you find out more about you? What's the best way to get hold of you?

Tom Harris
Yep. So in terms of the best way for me is connecting with me on social media. So Tom Harris Coaching on Facebook. So it's facebook.com/tomharriscoaching. Because I guess from my point of view, I work with so many different people I do have a website, but it's very much retail redundancy based. But for me, you know, if anyone wants to find out more about what I do, I've got quite a lot of online communities. And the best thing to do is reach out to me on Facebook to have more specific conversation, and I post a lot of the stuff I've spoken about today up through social media.

Jeremy Cline
Fantastic. Okay, well, I will definitely put that link on the show notes. Tom, thank you so much for your time it's been absolutely fantastic. Some really, really valuable tips, which I'm sure a lot of people are going to find really very helpful.

Tom Harris
That's okay. Thank you for having me.

Jeremy Cline
Great, thanks. Cheers.

Tom Harris
Cheers. Thank you.

Jeremy Cline
Okay, so I hope you enjoyed that interview and found it useful. The really interesting tip that I took from that was this notion that we spend more time planning our holidays than we do planning our careers. And why is that? I mean part of me I suppose guesses that it's because holidays are things that we enjoy, we want to invest a lot of time in that and the perception maybe is that work is just something that we're not going to enjoy. And so we don't necessarily invest as much time in that as we do the things that we are going to enjoy. But it's clear certainly from what Tom was saying that he doesn't think that that's the right approach: we really should be approaching this from the mindset that we can find the thing we want to do; we can find the job or career which we are going to enjoy and is going to make us happy. We just need to spend a bit of time investing in ourselves - finding ourselves for want of a better phrase - to work out what it is that is good for us. What is it that is going to make us happy, and we're going to enjoy. And I guess also the fact that we don't necessarily have to pick something that is going to be our job for life. He mentioned that our values change every five years. And so really, we need to find something which is right for us now - and not necessarily something that's going to be right for us in 10, 15, 20 years time - and that's something that we all should definitely bear in mind. You'll find everything we've talked about on the show notes page that's at changeworklife.com/3 for episode three. So changeworklife.com/3. And we've got another great interview next week. So make sure you subscribe and don't miss that one or any future interviews. We've got some real crackers coming up. Thank you for joining me and I will see you next time. Cheers. Bye

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: