Eversheds, Employment law , Manchester, Leeds then Birmingham
Career Change Story
I now run my own interior design business, Sarah Osmond Interiors. I decided against going back into practice upon the birth of my first child. We had no family nearby and my husband also worked in a long-hours, high-pressure job and I didn't want to be reliant on non-familial childcare and our child being first in, last out of nursery. I didn't have a plan to change career at that point but enrolled on a City and Guilds course in Design and Soft Furnishings at Warwickshire College. I did this 2 days per week, term-time for 18months. I thought that if I couldn't afford to pay someone else to make me fabulous things then I'd learn how to do it myself. This eventually led to me making furnishings for a few friends and family and then eventually sub-contracting this aspect to others while I concentrated on getting business in and the design aspect of jobs. This has grown steadily over the past 6 years and I'm now running a busy schedule of projects whilst raising my three children. I'm trying to keep things manageable and have learned to say no to certain jobs to retain the flexibility I sought all those years ago when I left the law.
Career Change Reflections
The overwhelming benefit of my career change is work-life flexibility and a freedom to say yes or no to work. I control when I work and can down tools when the children need me or if I want to go to their mid-afternoon harvest festival (as happened yesterday). I also choose not to work during school holidays as far as possible. I also really enjoy having a creative side to my work. The main down-side is the lack of colleagues and having no-one to bounce ideas off or indeed anyone with whom I can go for an after-work drink ( I don't think the kids count!). It is sometimes hard to motivate myself too when I'm working from home; having folks around is great for that and I do miss this.
I certainly enjoy the freedom from targets and time-billing, however I feel that I have benefitted from my legal training and I regularly put my knowledge to use - whether its structuring a letter or writing my own terms and conditions.
If others are thinking of making the move I would encourage them to do so but carefully look at your own way of working. Are you happy to work alone and to your own targets or do you need others to motivate you? I would also advise others to seek as much advice as possible, a mentor would be a great asset in the early stages in particular.