How to follow your dream and find your ideal job
Former Birmingham Post writer Carole Ann Rice tells Jo Ind the secret of finding your ideal job.
Jason used to work on a building site. Now he has his dream job as a photographer in India. Georgina was a housewife. Now she is happy and fulfilled running a thriving business creating music classes for children.
Ten years ago Carole Ann Rice was fashion and lifestyle editor for the Birmingham Post. Today she lives in London with her husband and two children and is happier than she has ever been coaching people to become the best they can be.
Carole Ann has just written her first book, Find Your Dream Job, with one of her former clients, Sarah Wade, because she believes it is possible to find work that makes you happy and excited rather than drained and depressed. Even in a recession, she claims, it is possible to follow your bliss.
“I don’t know if it’s because of the recession or not but people are really looking at their levels of happiness and satisfaction and questioning in a big way what they’re doing. They’re asking questions like, ‘What’s it all about? Why am I doing this each day? How long can I do this without going under?
“My life-coaching practice has been the busiest ever this year. I’ve had more than 20 clients in less than three months. These are people who have jobs but who are saying, ‘I’m so unhappy in my work. There are hints that redundancies might be coming up. I’m hoping that it’s going to be me. I’ve really had enough.’
“There’s only so much you can do out of duty and safety. The recession is a good time to try to build an escape tunnel alongside the day job. With the internet, you can create a small business alongside the day job, or start to think, ‘When all this is over, what would I really like to be doing?”
Carole Ann, aged 48, set about writing her book when Sarah, one of her clients who worked for the BBC, said she found it very inspiring hearing people tell their stories of their careers.
She would go to a farmers’ market and chat to people like the cheese maker and say: “How did you come to be doing this?” Through this she found people who used to do things like work in the city but gave it all up to do what made their hearts sing.
Carole Ann and Sarah decided to write a book together, with Sarah compiling people’s stories and sharing their strategies for getting their dream jobs and Carole Ann offering tips in her capacity as a life coach.
“We really didn’t want to write a Pollyanna type book saying you can get anything you want, but even though it was scary and even though there were knockbacks and doors slammed on them, the people in the book all found it was better to be on the journey than give up entirely.
“They were all rewarded in some way for their courage. You will always learn if you just decide to start to seek. You will find new things, meet new people, find new ways of doing it. Just getting into the process is the hardest part. These weren’t extraordinary people. What makes them extraordinary is that they dared to take a step.”
And of course Carole Ann knows all about taking that step because she has done it herself. Long-term readers of the Birmingham Post will remember Carole Ann as the fashion and lifestyle editor. She was made redundant during the recession of the 1990s and used that as an opportunity to change her career from journalist to life coach - which is proving to be her dream job.
“When I was made redundant I was disgruntled for about an hour and then very scared because it was a shock,” she says. “I had been very unhappy for a number of years but had just decided it was a routine I was used to and regular money so I had better put up with it.
“Journalism was something I had had a lucky break into. It wasn’t a choice, so I always found I suffered terribly with the imposter syndrome, so it was a struggle for me. I mastered it, but it was never easy or pleasurable.
“When I was made redundant I read about a woman who had used a life coach and changed her life. I used my redundancy money to hire the coach. I asked her to help me become a freelance writer for the nationals. True to her word, she did but when I got what I wanted I realised it wasn’t what I wanted. It was more of the same pain, only harder because you have to sell the stories more.
“My bottom line belief in all of this was that work is painful because it has to be. I had never done any work that hadn’t been. My coach challenged me about this. She said it doesn’t have to be painful and something you don’t like.
“By pure ‘coincidence’ a friend offered me a chance to go on a coaching course for free. I loved it. Then my coach said that if I trained properly as a coach for two years she would take me on as an associate with her coaching company.
“So then I had to decide whether I was going to write or be a coach. With support from my own coaches I decided to take a very scary path and coach.
“I’m so glad I did. I can’t believe I get paid to be me. It feels like I’m on holiday every day. I adore making a difference to people’s lives, getting those wonderful thank-you cards, hearing those brave people making those big changes in their lives. I’m honoured and privileged to be able to share in their journeys.
“Don’t get me wrong. The Post had its marvellous moments and entrées into worlds I would not otherwise have been able to go to – eating toast in a broom cupboard with Stephen Fry, having tea with Terence Stamp in Fortnum and Masons. But the pressure and deadlines and maintaining it when I had never been trained wasn’t easy.”
Carole Ann added: “Something good always comes out of making those scary leaps. It IS difficult, but so is wasting your life away doing something that’s diminishing you. When people make the change, they don’t regret it. They say, ‘I wish I’d done it sooner’.”
* Find You Dream Job by Sarah Wade and Carole Ann Rice is published by Marshall Cavendish and costs £12.99. Carole Ann can be contacted through www.realcoachingco.com