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  • Rachel Schofield

Wonder why you keep going around in circles?

Why you sometimes need to be hit by a global pandemic before you’ll make that career move …


I recently read that there are 150 prepositions in the English language. I’m thinking of drawing up a list of them for the women I chat to about their career plans. You know, for a bit of variety. Because if there was such a thing as a favourite preposition, they would land firmly on BUT.

“I’d love to return to the Arts, but …”

“I sometimes wonder if I could start my own business, but …”

“I dream of becoming an accountant, but …” (OK, so no-one has ever said that to me yet.)

By the time people email me, they’ve normally spent months, or often years, in a demoralising tug of war with themselves. They say they desperately want change and harbour thoughts of a more fulfilling worklife, but are they're the experts in explaining to themselves why it won’t work.

Generally, they’ve long exhausted the patience of partners and friends with their contradictory desperation for change and utter inability to take action. Or as I like to describe it, they can’t get off their “but”.


Predominantly our own biology. Neuroscientists will tell you we're hardwired to resist uncertainty - so much so, that our brain prefers a predictable, negative outcome over an uncertain one. Business guru Tim Ferriss goes as far as to suggest that "most people choose to be unhappy rather than uncertain." Our natural default is to stay put - where our brain reckons we’re safest. Change is certainly challenging. It can seem scary and risky. A career change or redesign doubly so, tied up as it is with our identity and our status, not to mention our finances, our family life and our friendships.


But suddenly, change is in the air. Covid19 walked up to our evolutionary predilection for the status quo and laughed in its face. And while for many of us that meant a very difficult 18 months, it has consequently emboldened many mums in our quest for change.

We're rather tired of putting our needs at the bottom of the pile and our plans on ice. Of always holding the fort in the face of the latest sh*tstorm. Of being a little bit taken for granted by society. We've smelt change in the air around the possibilities of flexible or hybrid working. And seen myriad examples of individuals and businesses adapting, pivoting and creating new angles to their work. What's to stop us being that creative?

Along with the vaccine, we seem to have been injected with a healthy shot of courage. After all, if life is going to blindside us with change, hell, we might as well seize this moment to overhaul our lives. We're starting to finally recognise that life is unpredictable and the perfect time will never come. We're done waiting. And perhaps the pandemic has made us more accepting of the unknown and the unknowable.


Because, of course, we're not really scared of CHANGE at all - after all, it's the outcome we dream of. We scared of TRANSITION - the uncertain bit that has to come first.

The finding out what you’re good at, what you care about, what interests you. Then reaching out to new people and creating and sharing your new story. Embracing a few dead ends as you road-test your ideas. Risking the No’s that inevitably litter the road to Yes. Temporarily becoming a beginner at something where you were once an expert.

As a career coach, I help get you clear on who you are and what you want, challenge you to fully explore your ideas and options, and get you into action.

Has Covid finally got you off your but? Great. Let’s go mutate … email me anytime for a relaxed no-obligation chat on

#careerreturns #confidence

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