Patricia Shaw*, a 31 year old barrister in private practice, was stressed about work and the negative impact it was having on her personal life. She wanted to leave the Bar but didn’t know what her options were. With the help of a four session programme with CareerBalance, she updated her CV for the first time in five years, completed a thorough mock interview, and soon made a successful, life-changing career switch within the law. She is now working for the Financial Conduct Authority and says she is a much happier person.

What major issue did you want to tackle?

I was finding the long hours and unpredictable schedule of my job as a barrister very stressful. I wasn’t enjoying work, and I wasn’t being a good friend or family member. I needed to work out what to do next.

How did CareerBalance help you move forward?

I was attracted to CareerBalance because I knew job ads alone weren’t going to do the trick. I needed a more systematic, thorough approach to get a grip on the problem. Before my first session at CareerBalance, I completed a questionnaire to identify my strengths, what I enjoy, what makes me uncomfortable, and more. The questions helped me identify what I wanted.

As for my CV, I had been thinking about my career in terms of cases undertaken, but at CareerBalance I began to think about my transferable skills. It was the first time I had updated my CV in five years. Since I was busy working full-time, knowing I was investing in help from CareerBalance gave me the kick up the backside I needed. I knew I had to do it.

Where did CareerBalance make the most impact for you?

The mock interview with my CareerBalance coach was really helpful – it was the first interview I’d had for five years. I was in a job that was making me miserable, but I needed help phrasing that in a positive way. CareerBalance gave me a safe environment in which to experiment. The questionnaire helped me identify strengths, built my confidence, and helped me think through my decisions.

How might things have turned out differently without the help of CareerBalance?

I would have perpetually put off changing careers. I would have applied for a job I thought I’d get, instead of one I wanted. If I’d have moved jobs and it ended up being a bad choice, I’d have thought it was my fault. I might have stilted my career prospects by taking the easy and less informed option.

How is your new job going?

I work for the Financial Conduct Authority in the Enforcement and Financial Crimes section. My job is interesting, challenging and has great prospects, and my colleagues are intelligent and hard-working. I have a far better quality of life.

How has your career change impacted life outside work?

I’m a substantially nicer person and life outside work is 100% better. I have time to pursue hobbies playing sport and making music, which were impossible in my last job. I’m a lot happier in myself and my friends see me more.

Would you recommend CareerBalance or go back in the future?

Yes, definitely!

Patricia Shaw* had a four session programme with CareerBalance.

*Not her actual name

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