Changing job can seem scary, time-consuming and the financial equivalent of throwing an egg at a wall. But, as a young creative, moving career can be easier and far more fulfilling than you imagine. Take tips from just a few young creatives who have already taken the plunge…
Get in touch with people who are already working in your ideal job
Before you burn your bridges, why not try building some new ones? The best way to get an insight into a new industry or career is to get a taste of it in your free time. There are lots of courses, evening classes, groups and forums out there specifically designed to help people like you try something new and see if it suits them.
As Laura Lewis, who went from a career in the music industry to being a photographer says, “Go and talk to as many people as you can who are already doing what you want to do. Have a coffee and listen to their experience.”
Helen Sedgwick, who made the unlikely move from scientist to novelist emphasises the importance of evening classes. “I did an evening class in creative writing when I was working as a scientist in Glasgow,” says Helen. “I used the first few chapters of the novel I wrote there to apply for an MLit – a masters in creative writing – and my department let me go part time. It meant I had a little bit of financial security when I was in the process of changing career.”
Don’t be afraid of work experience
“Work experience is always the best way to get a taste of a new career and see if it’s right for you,” says Sarah Harris, who went from a career in print journalism to working in TV production. “People do work experience placements at all ages, so just swallow your pride. You’re not starting from scratch, either. You’re bringing all your knowledge and experience with you, and people will recognise that.”
There’s never a right time. Or a wrong one.
“As a writer it’s very easy to wait for inspiration, but inspiration won’t strike until you start writing,” says Claire Sparks who went from a 10-year career in PR to writing her first novel, An Uncontrollable Urge. “It does feel like you’re starting from square one. But, I knew what I wanted to write and, once I got started, I had the most amazing year of my life.”
“It doesn’t matter what age you do it,” says Laura Lewis, “as long as you’ve got a game plan and a bit of cash, in case.”
Think of it as evolution, not a revolution
“It’s all just a progression,” says Sarah Harris. “You can love what you do but not the way that you’re doing it.”
When you move careers, not only do you bring all the knowledge and experience you gained in your last job to a new role, you can also transfer contacts and an approach to projects. “If you happen to have a contact somewhere, I’m not going to deny that it’s helpful” says Laura Lewis. “The stuff that you learn and the people you meet in your first career can definitely transfer across to your second.”
Be brave and take the plunge
“If this is your dream and you really want to make a go of it, then go for it.” says Laura. “Don’t be too scared to make that leap.”
After all, this could just be the best thing you ever do.
In Focus: Some useful resources if you’re planning a career change
Creative Skillset offers funding and training for people wanting to move up or across in the creative industries.
Step Change is a National Theatre & Royal Opera House career development programme in partnership with the Young Vic, BAC and Nitro, that helps people move into a management or producer role in the arts.
DV Talent have lots of good courses in many aspects of TV and film.
The Open University runs lots of Arts and Humanities courses you can study remotely or part-time.
leap by cscott2006 via Flickr under a (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.