Hi I’m Soma founder of the Career Happiness Mentor.
I’m a qualified careers adviser who helps women who are unhappy at work find their dream career and stop playing it safe. Trust me I’ve been there.
There have been lots of challenges and significant points in my life that lead me to doing my postgraduate training in careers guidance and ultimately starting my business. I wanted to share my own personal career story with you and the influences I have had along the way.
Since I was 18 I have always had a passion for Psychology and working with others. I knew I wanted to work with people because I love being around others and am at my best when I support others. I initially did a degree in Psychology. After my degree, I started working for an organisation called MIND which supports individuals with mental health issues- something I was really interested in and was eager to find out more about. Whilst working for MIND it really helped me realise how much I wanted to help others, as this is an important value to me as an individual. Seeing the issues that people had put into perspective how lucky I was and made it clear that helping others was a value I wanted to carry forward in the work I did every day.
It took me a little while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. Eventually, I come across a postgraduate course in careers guidance. I really liked the idea of helping someone plan their future career and it was a role where I would be working with a variety of people. Before I went for my Postgraduate university interview I even visited a local careers adviser to find out what it was really like as a profession. I really liked the fact that once you trained you were open to working in a variety fields. For example, you could be a school’s careers adviser, university careers adviser, advise individuals or perhaps work for a non-profit organisation. You can see below a photo of me at my post graduation ceremony .
I love helping people get from A to B, seeing individuals transform and seeing them get passionate about what they want to do. Whilst I was training as a careers adviser the experience I had in the first school I trained in was so good I decided I wanted to work in schools.
When I landed my first role in a school I initially enjoyed working there, it was exciting and fresh. I worked in schools, colleges and youth centres for a few years. However, in 2010 I faced redundancy and I was uncertain about what I really wanted to do next.
My passion for careers advice reemerged through a blog I started called www.thecareerscanbefun.blogspot.com . I realised I had lots of knowledge around careers advice and wanted to share this with this world. My articles began to get noticed and my work featured on Career Geek and The National Careers Service. I also worked in a few non-careers advice roles using my transferable skills. Both of these roles were in further education colleges.
Whilst going through my own personal journey of redundancy and figuring out my next career move I could see there were lots of support for young people who got suupport but I was left wondering where was the support for women like me. Women who felt confused and unsure about what to do next?
At the time of me questioning my work life my cousin was diagnosed with cancer - he was a similar age to me. It got me thinking about life and what I really wanted to do with my life.
I realised I was going to work every day but I wasn’t happy and living a life I really wanted. Developing a business did come up but I had a lot of fears around this. I hired my first coach in 2011 and she really helped me, but there were so many things to do and it was overwhelming at times.
Those early stages of my business journey were scary. I had lots of personal business blocks and worried a lot about money. I eventually went back to working as a school’s careers adviser in a part-time role. I thought I would be able to continue working on my business and work at the same time. Little did I know how much this job was going to change the person I am today and influence the Career Happiness Mentor.
I realised a few months into the job that I had backtracked in my career. I was faking it! I could do the job perfectly but it just didn’t light me up any more. I felt like I’d given up on what I really wanted out of life, and was going backwards rather than moving forwards.
I thought back to how I had helped others in their careers. I remembered helping someone get promoted from a support role in their field. By career coaching her I helped her focus on what she really wanted. I knew I could help women and I loved it. I helped her get a new job. When I remembered helping her I realised how truly unhappy I was in my own career. I was also dealing with workplace bullying which in turn lead to depression and anxiety. Please see a photo of me below. I was having a really bad day at work and had been crying in my office. I sent this photo to my husband to show him how shattered and fed up I was. I was due to leave my role a few weeks later. In the end, I left this role to fully concentrate on my business. Within less than a month of leaving I had my first client.
I love empowering women and making sure women are happy in their workplace. So many people go through hard times at work but never talk about it. I’ve seen lots of politics in organisations and schools. Teachers and superiors who make them feel inferior and workload pressures that ultimately make them leave. They could have been good at what they do but were not given the right support.
In corporate environments, I’ve seen what happens when people are made redundant and they feel it’s the only thing they can do or are good at, so they lose all hope of finding a new career they love. There is no plan B, they feel lost and confused, and have lost faith in their own value, skills and capabilities. They need someone like me to come along and give them career counselling.
Some of the biggest challenges I’ve seen with the women I support are confidence and managing career changes. They want a transformative journey, to change to a new position, role, company, industry but are not sure how to get there. One of the biggest benefits of working with me is around creating change and transformation with confidence.
I help women in a realistic way. As a career adviser, I can help look at what needs to be addressed in a bespoke way because every client will be in a different place. I feel it’s important to motivate and empower women to be in place where they can be happy.
These are some of the key challenges of the women who come to me for help because they feel unhappy at work:
They realise they’re playing it safe in their career and feel unfulfilled.
They feel frustrated by lack of progression to get to the next stage.
They lack confidence to go for promotions or new roles.
They feel their work environment/culture is holding them back.
They end up leaving an industry they love for example teachers because they feel unhappy and are unable to do anything about it.
The values I learned about helping others through my parents is important to me and a foundation for who I am as person. If you see someone who is unhappy and you can help them transform their life in the process, and you can make this your business, to me that is the icing on cake.
I am passionate about writing and would one day love to write a book about career happiness.
What really lights me up is working with clients 1 on 1. From being in a position where they are unhappy in a job or lost a job to finding a new dream job or getting the promotion they deserved but just didn’t have the right type of encouragement to work towards it. For example, a teacher who wants to level up but doesn’t want to teach anymore but instead wants to utilise the skills and knowledge they have to become an Ofsted inspector.
The women I help may still love their industry just not the job they currently do. I work with them collaboratively to help them get to where they want to go. I help people really understand that anything is possible in your career and help them understand that career change is much more common then they think. Lack of career clarity is also a lot more common then we think because we change as we get older. Giving them awareness that it is normal to feel this way but that with the right support they can get there. Change isn’t always easy but if you want support I can help you get there.
If you would like to find out more about how I can help you please visit the work with tab. You can also contact me for a free 30 minute application based career strategy call to discuss more please go to tab below.