Career Conversations by The Careers Company - Helping People Grow

career coaching career conversation the careers company Jun 17, 2022

Tell us a little about you

I am a senior HR (Human Resources) professional with over 20 years experience in multiple leadership roles for various businesses in a major multinational corporation in the energy sector. I grew up in southern Germany and have lived in the Netherlands and now live in the UK. I moved to London as I had an interesting job opportunity and my partner had already moved here. So London was a calling in all sorts of ways. Along with work I love the outdoors and find time for walking, trekking, gardening and time with my family.

Walk me through your career to date

I decided very early on in school that I wanted to study psychology. During my studies in Germany I did multiple internships which helped me to choose occupational psychology as my focus. I worked and later completed my thesis, in a consulting company in Germany delivering people development and learning projects for a leading multinational automotive company. After moving to London I joined a multinational corporation in Human Resources. I had multiple HR leadership roles as a business partner and leadership team member for various business segments including manufacturing, operations, sales, marketing, energy trading, support functions, leading and managing business and people transformations.   

While working I also completed my MSc in Career Management and Career Counselling as I was keen to deepen my professional capabilities. Overall, I think I have developed a really deep understanding of talent management and managing large business change projects. However, whilst the projects and accountabilities got bigger, the focus on the individual, which was my primary aspiration, became less and less. I decided to seek opportunities where I could again focus on the individual.

How did you decide your career choice? What else did you consider?

I always wanted to study psychology although I had considered law as an alternative. I was always very curious about what made people tick and wanted to know why they did the things they did. To finance my education I always had part time jobs which ranged from waitressing, research assistant at university, to working in hospitals and factory shop floors. I was always surprised what type of jobs people liked and disliked and what impact that had on their lifestyle, their families, colleagues, and their wellbeing. I love working with people and trying to establish where they could go next to have a happy and fulfilling career and life. 

Describe your career transition to coaching

I really enjoyed my time in the corporate environment but over time I saw that there was too much focus on process and not enough focus on the individual. I did a lot of business restructurings and after some time that felt very negative as it was mainly about cost cutting and headcount reduction. I wanted to do something more positive and creative, so I was seriously considering becoming a gardener! I struggled to explain to my kids what it is I did on a day to day basis and why I did it. I found growing my own vegetables and weeding my garden sometimes more satisfying and rewarding than implementing the next HR project. I felt more productive and happy working in the garden and being outdoors than managing HR processes and restructurings. 

"I love working with people and trying to establish where they could go next to have a happy and fulfilling career and life."

I wanted to see things grow and I wanted to see people grow. I always loved guiding and coaching individuals as part of my HR role. I also wanted to spend some more time with my family and kids, so I decided to take a break just in time before the corona pandemic started. I had aimed to start my own coaching and counselling business but then got pulled into home-schooling and all the covid related tasks at home! As Covid is now hopefully coming to an end I was looking to restart my business aspiration, ideally being able to work flexibly. Working with Meena who I have known for over 15 years and developing The Careers Company with her was just the perfect opportunity.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to change careers?

Very often people talk about the “grass being greener on the other side“ or “pull and push factors” for job or career changes. At the end of the day, everyone has to take ownership of their destination and develop their own sense of purpose and happiness.

We are all about conversation at The Careers Company. What are the most meaningful career conversations you've had? Who were they with? What made them meaningful?

It’s quite difficult to pinpoint a good conversation. A good career conversation requires openness, transparency, and self-awareness, and in large organisations that can be difficult as everyone usually has an agenda or objective. Even within families and friends, people have their own beliefs about what a career should look like. So it's important to talk to different people and look at information and materials outside your usual sources. You need to have an open and curious mind. Overall most things will not happen overnight, it takes a lot of small steps and big steps and some patience. 

If you found this career story interesting do sign up for our regular blog here. Or if it’s been a while since your last Career Conversation, book a free session with one of our accredited coaches here.


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