Following a successful and enjoyable early career, I made a big transition at work to a very senior finance role that I didn't have any experience in. It was a great salary and seemed a good opportunity for career development, so I went for it. It was very demanding, with long hours and lots of travel, and I was under a lot of stress.
I'm a confident and resilient person, and I've always believed that if something isn't working, you just work harder to overcome it. I was wrong!
About 5 years ago, I was at home on the weekend and suddenly became really distressed - I was crying and I felt like I couldn't breathe. I only found out later that what I'd experienced was a panic attack. My GP diagnosed me with depression and anxiety from stress. My workplace helpfully supported me with some CBT and I learnt some coping strategies from the therapist they sent me to. After a long break, I went back to work and all seemed well, but on reflection I should have made bigger changes.
A few years later, the anxiety and panic attacks came back and I needed to step away from work again. It was at that point that I realised that this career path was wrong for me and that I needed to make a big change.
I'd seen caba adverts, so I looked at the website and thought it was excellent - there's a lot of really helpful information on there. I got in touch to find out if they could help me with some employment advice and career guidance. When I first spoke to caba, I could tell straightaway that I was speaking to someone skilled and experienced. I felt understood very quickly and I was so relieved that I'd put my hand up to ask for help.
I got some independent legal advice that was brief and to-the-point. They let me know exactly what my rights were and how to make the best of the situation. It meant I could go into discussions with my employer feeling confident and with a clear goal in mind. My employer was very understanding and we parted on good terms.
After that, I went on to a number of sessions with a caba career coach over a 3 month period. I now realise that I went into it with quite romantic ideals about what I wanted, including a dream of working for myself and setting up my own consulting business. The coach was rigorous in drilling down into what running a business and winning clients would involve, and how I would go about running a consultancy like that. This process made me realise that being a sole trader like that wasn't what I needed at that point in my career. I like to be very autonomous, but collaboration is also important to me. I realised I wanted something more team and relationship based.
The coach also helped me work through what I didn't enjoy about my last role and what I should be doing moving forward. I realised that most of my career had been spent in an advisory capacity which I really enjoyed and I'd only moved into a mainstream finance role in order to progress up through the firm, but this meant working with a never-ending cycle of figures that I didn't find interesting or motivating. Without a caba coach, I think I would have been floundering for a long time, pursuing the wrong roles for me.
After this I was determined to find the right fit. I've since joined a small professional services firm where I work in a close-knit, nimble team. I'm a partner, so I get all the rewards of being self-employed as well as part of a team. Thanks to caba's guidance, I'm doing relationship based, advisory work that I find exhilarating and I'm good at. The big picture change is that my work-life balance is much improved, and I can enjoy my family life a lot more. caba were there when I really needed them, and they delivered for me.
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We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students.
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*Please note none of our other services are means-tested.