Three women share their career change stories

Thinking that it's time for a change? Here are the pros and cons of pursuing a new career path.

If you’ve ever thought about switching careers, you’re not alone. From Gwyneth Paltrow to Michelle Obama, there are plenty of influential women who have changed career gears, even while achieving success in their initial pursuits.

A 2017 study showed that around 57 per cent of Australians had considered a career change. You might be feeling drained and unmotivated in your current role, unable to imagine your future in the industry you’re in or you might simply have a passion for your hobby or side hustle.

No matter your reason, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before taking the leap of faith into what could be your new career. So, to help make your experience a little less daunting, we’ve tracked down three everyday women who have successfully switched-up career paths to find out exactly how they did it.

Here, a nutritionist, an author and an entrepreneur share their career change experiences.

Kathryn Khiroya – Clinical Nutritionist

Kathryn made the switch from finance to nutrition after deciding to pursue her lifelong passion for natural health. After retraining as a Pilates instructor and personal trainer, she began studying nutrition and dietetics at Endeavour College of Natural Health and has never looked back.

What inspired your career change?

“For me, there was never one moment of inspiration, or one reason or person. Studying at Endeavour College to become a clinical nutritionist was simply me seeing a need in my own and other’s worlds, and discovering a way that I felt I could contribute meaningfully to meeting that need.”

What was holding you back from pursuing this career path initially?

“The statement, ‘this is not university-standard work’ that I had received on a theology paper during my late teens (the big red ‘F’ was straight from a scene in an American sitcom!) had subconsciously lodged itself in my brain, only to rear its head as I thought about studying again.

“I processed this fear for about 12-18 months. It seems utterly ridiculous now, but I am thankful that I broke the back of that fear, and now have an incredible love for study and writing.”

Why is natural health so important to you?

“It is empowering, sustaining and embraces simplicity. Natural health can be practiced in infinite ways that are meaningful and valuable to the individual.”

Were you scared or nervous about pursuing this career change?

“Absolutely! I stand now on the shoulders of phenomenal industry giants and centuries of cultures and physicians heralding ‘slow medicine’ and personifying ”food is medicine’, and was acutely aware of this as I began my transition. What I have come to realise is how open-armed such leaders are, and how they genuinely want natural health and therapies to thrive through collaboration.”

How did you know that this was the right move for you?

“Making the decision was definitely a process; a series of conversations, life events and ‘adulting’ that my soul and my values could no longer ignore; a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease at age 23; moving overseas with my husband and experiencing new cultures; falling pregnant with my two daughters and receiving the gift of motherhood. Change then became inevitable. It was my family and beautiful friends that encourage me that it would all be worth it and to keep on keeping on when days felt long and hard.”

How did you prepare yourself for this change?

“With that big ‘F’ in the back of my mind, my thinking was the biggest and most negative challenge I had to overcome. I approached my neighbour – an incredible writer – to ask her to be my reviewer and guide to learning how to write essays, case studies, and reports. It was this process that has given me now a great love for writing and the ability to ask for help when needed.”

Nutrition and finance seem to be very different! Did you find you had many transferable skills when you began your transition from your first career?

“Aside from documentation, working with many people in different roles and countries also helped me gain invaluable communication and leadership skills. And not that nutrition has a deadline, but being able to work methodically and intentionally towards milestones is very important to one’s health progression.”

What advice would you have for women of any age looking to pursue a change in career?

“Let your ‘yes’ speak louder than any ‘no’ and love the changing on the way to being the change. I’m 43-years-old now, so the journey has been ongoing for many years. And the best is still to come!”

Kathryn’s top self-care and wellness tips:

  • Remove the obstacles that would hinder health and immune resilience: inadequate sleep, inflammatory foods, toxic thoughts, and clutter from your environment.

  • Try an organisation/productivity app to help institute a healthful diet and lifestyle

  • Find three things to actively show gratitude for each day

  • Learn a new skill or pick up one you’ve let slide

  • Grow something edible (herbs, vegetables) in your garden or on your kitchen sill

Pamela Cook – Author

After 15 years as a high school English teacher, Pamela decided to pursue her love of books and writing, swapping classroom texts for novels of her own.

Have you always had a passion for writing?

“Yes. As a kid I used to write poetry and then loved journaling. In my early 20s I did a Tafe course in travel writing but then my teaching job took over and I had a family and it went on hold.”

What was holding you back from pursuing this career path initially?

“My original career choice was journalism but I went into teaching as it was the ‘safer’ option. I loved teaching but I do regret not being brave enough to try something a bit more daring.”

What are your top tips for working from home?

“Stick to a schedule, write a to-do list, timetable in coffee and stretch breaks, avoid the rabbit hole of checking social media – keep it as a reward for doing a certain amount of work. And clock off at the usual time! The work will still be there tomorrow.”

How did you prepare yourself for this change?

“I guess I got into it gradually, treating it as a hobby to begin with and then sending out pieces for submission. I was published in a few small anthologies which helped my confidence and motivated me to keep going. For me it’s about improving my craft, constantly learning and feeling proud of what I write rather than writing a best-seller (although that would be nice!).”

What’s the best piece of advice that you received when you decided to switch careers?

“Network, network, network! Meeting and connecting with other writers has kept me going through the tough times of rejection and self-doubt, and made the whole process so much more enjoyable.”

What advice would you have for women of any age looking to pursue a change in career?

“Be brave and follow your passion, but also don’t throw in your day job too soon. Work on it on the side and build up a resume before you take the leap.”

Alyce Tran – Co-Founder of The Daily Edited

Prior to co-founding The Daily Edited, Alyce worked as a corporate lawyer. The switch from law to luxe accessories was a gradual one that turned out to shape a new career and lifestyle for the young entrepreneur.

How did you make your career switch so successful?

“I just did it. There’s no how,” Alyce told Future Women. “If there was a to-do list, I just did the stuff. I didn’t think about things deeply. I still don’t think about things deeply now. You just do it.”

How did you know this change was right for you?

“My parents have taken risks their whole life. I have kind of just grown up around that and I consider everything to be a calculated risk. I just have a natural feel for deciding what’s going to be good or bad,” Alyce told Business Chicks.

When did you realise your side hustle would become your next career move?

“It was actually when my accountant told me, before I quit my job, that The Daily Edited was churning over two hundred thousand dollars in a month.

“Our growth rate had been ridiculously significant and so he said, ‘You realise you’re selling a lot of stuff. You could quit your job and work on this if you really want to. It could be something’.

“I didn’t realise! I was just doing it all, just trying to get through everything, not knowing where I was going.”

What advice would you give to other women looking to transform their hustle into a new career?

“If you have an idea canvas it with your friends and family and if they’re receptive just go and get it out there,” Alyce told “You’ve got nothing to lose!”

Brought to you by Endeavour College

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