“I think to myself, ‘if I hadn’t done it, who knows where I’d be sitting?’”
What was your work situation before the Launch Pad?
I was in the travel industry, specifically African safari.
How were you feeling about your work?
I absolutely adored it.
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, ever.
But then lockdown hit, and with it, the travel bans. My industry went into a complete loop.
Why did you decide to join the Launch Pad?
My income went overnight – I had an 88% drop.
I went into a bit of a tailspin – when you love something so much, and you can’t imagine doing something else, it’s totally overwhelming.
I couldn’t live on 12% of my income for the rest of my life. I was sitting at home one night, locked down, and I googled, “How to change career” – because I didn’t know what the hell else I was going to do.
And up came Careershifters, and up came the course. I signed up to do it within minutes.
What had you tried previously to do to make progress on your career change?
I hadn’t done a lot – we went into lockdown in March 2020, which was when my career cratered, and I think I did the Launch Pad from May.
So it was within a month or two of lockdown.
What were your reservations or skepticism about the Launch Pad?
I wasn’t sceptical at all.
I really enjoyed the down-to-earth way the Launch Pad was presented, and I knew it wasn’t going to be that very American hustle-culture style of “You’re great, you got this!”. It seemed gentler than that, and they had a sense of humour.
What was the experience like?
I really enjoyed it.
There was enough to get you thinking, and enough to gently get you out of your comfort zone, but not so much that it was overwhelming.
The work was just enough, too, and they gave you latitude to do as much or as little as you could.
I always got the sense that I was supported.
What were the highlights?
I really enjoyed the weekly check-ins, and the special classes we had with experts.
I liked hearing other people’s stories – it’s so nice to have that human connection with other people. I spoke to people I would never have spoken to in a gazillion years.
And it made me realise that I’m not a complete freak. People who think like me and had my background are likely to do something similar, it’s just the way we’re wired.
What were the toughest moments?
Some things on the course didn’t particularly resonate so much with me.
We spent a couple of weeks gathering things that appealed to us, to process what we were interested in – but because I’m such a generalist, that was really hard.
But that was fine, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I have a bit of a magpie personality, and in a weird way, that’s ultimately one of my career strengths.
What was the impact on you?
I’ve realised that communication is paramount.
People are not mind-readers. So I’ve started to be much more open with people.
What on the course led to that impact?
Something someone said on the course struck me hard: don’t assume that someone won’t want to help you, and don’t assume that they’re not going to have time for you.
To make that decision for them isn’t being self-deprecating – it’s actually a form of arrogance.
Where are you now in your career?
I’m a freelance marketing consultant.
It’s the same kind of work I was doing in safari, but I’ve transferred those skills into other spaces like education.
How do you feel about your work?
I would much prefer that the travel industry was healthy, and that people were safe to travel, but I am pleased that I now know I can support myself beyond that industry.
And I’m really happy that I’ve renewed relationships with people I worked with in the past, and that I’ve learned new skills and new industries.
What’s been the impact of your shift on your wider life?
The biggest thing it did for me was make me realise I wasn’t a completely useless idiot sitting here without a job.
It boosted my confidence enormously, and made me feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
What would you recommend to anyone considering the Launch Pad?
If you’re going to start it, then finish it, and do as much as you can.
You have to do the work – the course is not going to help you unless you do it.
And when you do it, just be bold – you’ve got nothing to lose. In fact, maybe one thing I wish is that I’d been a bit bolder.
How did the Launch Pad help you get clear on and move into your new career?
Doing the course taught me that there is life beyond safari, and I do have other talents, that there are other things I can do.
It gave me confidence so that, when freelance work came my way, I jumped on it.
I also went out looking for freelance work, and treated everything as a career change project, like on the course. I took the lesson that nothing has to be forever – just dip your toe in and see if you like it.
And thank god I did! I’ve been very fortunate.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I really enjoyed the course.
I think to myself, ‘if I hadn’t done it, who knows where I’d be sitting?’ I’m very fortunate now – I’m working with two people I used to work with previously, who I enjoy working with, and they’re giving me great work to do. And I’m delving into new industries I never thought I’d delve into.
You can find full details about the course on our dedicated Launch Pad page.