Call me on +44 20-3287-6897 if you want to talk about interview coaching.
But Why Should You Listen To Me?
Good question. For the last decade or so I’ve enjoyed teaching managers and professionals how to find the career of their dreams. In that time I’m proud to say I’ve helped hundreds of people to find a meaningful career. Added to that I established a successful niche online job search social media community called Jobs For Info Pros. What’s more I’ve used my recruitment skills to overcome redundancy and pull myself out of work scenarios that simply did not suit me and made me utterly miserable!
I remember a time in my career where I was at a real low ebb and I didn’t know why; it was a lucrative but painful period of frustration and dissatisfaction. The reality is that most people will experience a similar sense of frustration and disillusionment but from a personal standpoint the lack of purpose at work permeated my relationships with those closest to me to the point that my moods and anxiety crept into my home life. I was wrapped up in my own concerns. Moody. Anxious. Impatient. I must’ve been a difficult person to live with. I dreaded going to work the next day, dreaded Sunday evenings and started to dislike my life and the daily grind. But I had the strength to take a long hard look at myself to reevaluate my career – and by extension my life – to make the necessary personal improvements to my situation so that I could improve myself to have a positive impact on those around me.
However, I am now happy to say that I am truly proud of the course on which I have set for my career journey and am proud of what I do. So much so that I am happy to share my story with my children, family, friends and now you.
Nothing makes me more satisfied than knowing that I can provide for my family, have time to be with my children and guide the direction of their career so they don’t make the same mistakes that I made (and those I’ve seen others make).
And I know for sure if you’re reading this you’re probably in a situation that is uncomfortable but I believe there is hope for you and everyone to find the right path provided you have the right levels of commitment, determination and hard work to make it happen.
2011 – My friend called me in tears
I began my recruitment career in 2001 but it wasn’t until years later – around 2010-11 – that I began to see how much emotion is attached to having a job. I then made the conscious decision to use my skills to advise people on CV and job search and I could see the emotion and pain they were undergoing as many felt trapped in a situation in which they didn’t want to be.
I witnessed grown men and women in tears as they told me about being bullied at work, taking the wrong job, feeling alone, or their vain attempts at getting back into the job market after having a family. They talked about feeling undervalued, out of place or simply stuck in a situation that seemed to be going nowhere.
I had a good friend who called me in tears, frustrated with her life. She had a career she hated, she had no time for her family. She’d been talking about making a career change for years but didn’t make the leap because she just didn’t know how.
After learning about all this pain I decided to do some research. I found out terms like “find your dream job”, “work life balance” or “career change” among the 30s and 40s are searched over tens of thousands of times per month.
My name is Alex Wilson-Campbell. The chances are it’s likely you’ve never heard of me before. I’m not famous and I don’t come from a wealthy line of successful entrepreneurs, I don’t have a degree in business and I didn’t even have outstanding grades at high school. And yet these past ten years I purchased my quarter of a million pound house near Central London, launched internet projects that helped thousands of people find jobs and get their career on the right path.
I have thousands of online readers and social media subscribers, hundreds of email subscribers who follow my blog and all this has happened in just the last five years.
Now I don’t shout about this to brag, rather I want to bring clarity to exactly how I got here. But first let’s talk about a serious problem our generation is struggling with.
It’s the same problem that my friend was facing, as well as many others. She wanted to find happiness, fulfilment and purpose. In a recent study, around 60% of people are dissatisfied with their life.
They work in a job that they dislike, their self-esteem and confidence is low, they’re unhappy and don’t make enough money. It’s pretty clear how we got here too. Over the past 50 years we’ve studied hard at university with the impression that all we need to do is get a degree and a CV we’ll find the career or business of our dreams.
We then found ourselves in tens of thousands of dollars of debt with no plan B, or idea where we are going to end up in the coming years and nothing more than a slim hope that we are going to find our calling. Or at least find our happiness. But sadly many of us don’t. And then we had children but had no idea how to guide them in their career to set an example on how to cultivate a successful and happy life. God knows the schools aren’t equipped to help our children with their career choices.
I know that over 60% of you dislike your jobs. So if you’re not making enough money or you hate your job and you don’t feel in control, you’re not alone. But what’s stopping you from changing your life? Is it fear? Is it knowhow?
That’s what it was for me about 3 years ago. You see my success in getting on the path to the career of my dreams didn’t happen quickly. And I slumped to my lowest ebb with redundancy, the pressure of bills to pay and my first child on the way …And when I look back now I realise that I went from job to job with no long term plan as to where my career would take me. I had no one who had ‘been there and done that’ to help me along the way, and I had no confidence to speak directly to employers to share what I had achieved so that I could reach my earning potential. Instead I relied on recruiters….
2012 – Then I realised that I wasn’t happy
Between 2001-8, I had been riding on wave with a successful career in recruitment for years and was only thinking about my next placement until one day I had a moment that hit me and would change my thinking forever.
. …..I’d bought a £250000 London property by the age of 23 (I’m in my late 30s at the time of writing this) and I’d escaped crippling £10k credit card debt that meant I risked repossession of my property. On the other hand, I had earned many hundreds of thousands in revenues for my employers, helped thousands of people into work and advised hundreds on moving their career forward and witnessed the birth of my little boy.
2012 was truly a pivotal point in my career journey following a realisation that I needed to make a small change in my life.
I realised that the change could have resounding implications that could last beyond my lifetime and my little boy was very much in focus. I speculated that the change could affect my children’s future and shape their outlook and attitude to the world much less their own career!
I remember that day in 2012 clearly. It was the day I decided to make a choice that was for the better……… I had to find something new.
It only seems like yesterday but it has been about 3 years ago that I was sat at my desk holding a resignation letter contemplating the future whilst asking myself some searching questions.
All sorts of thoughts were going through my mind as you can probably imagine. I don’t take resignation lightly and the situation I was in was sapping my energy, confidence and continually playing on my mind, even as I lay in bed at night. I had a lot of support from my family and friends but I knew it was up to me to do something to stop the prevailing negative feelings that came as a result of being unhappy at work.
How I Realised My Vision – For A Sucessful Career – Was Wrong
So there I was, trying to act normal whilst waiting for my manager to return to her desk.
My thoughts turned to my mom because I knew that she would be concerned – as all mothers are – when their children are unhappy but at the same time I knew that the looming post-resignation conversation with my family and mother would turn to, how I would support my family.
By that time, however, I had a plan based on my expertise as a recruiter and a vision based on my work related experiences.
It’s only when I reflected on my career up to 2011 that I realise where I went wrong. Back then my job search was mainly based on what I had picked up from my Mom and had contributed to my current predicament. I wasn’t blaming my Mom, because I’d taken so many positive aspects from her and she was a major influence on my early success and let’s face it many of us take a lead from those closest to us.
The problem is that we pick up bad habits, don’t necessarily follow a particular plan and don’t make a habit of re-evaluating our career to make improvements and changes. I now needed to rethink and alter my approach to take things forward.
Mom’s vision of a career had to be very different simply because of the circumstances in which she found herself and the prevailing mentality of her generation. Back then it was all about a job for life so it wasn’t unusual for her elders to hold down a job with a single employer for 10, 15, or 20+, all this without making gainful progress up the ladder.
Work – from the perspective of many from that generation, as it may be for you at the moment – was all about graft in order to put food on the table and that had been passed on to Mom who in turn had passed it on to my sister and I. She had to do what she had to do to sustain the family and pay the bills and that’s the predicament that many people find themselves in today.
She was in a situation where she had to raise both of us single-handedly so in many ways her hand was forced to the point that her focus– as it had been with her mother – was to put food on that table, pay the bills and generally provide for us. Having a job – literally for life – that sustained us financially and ensured our survival from month to month was Mom’s primary objective which meant that she often worked in jobs that she didn’t enjoy and, to this day, she has really played it safe and consistently held down jobs that enabled our survival.
But I am determined that I will be working in a job that I enjoy, makes me happy and contributes to helping others to make that step. I’ve found that if you look in the right places and make the right contacts then it is possible to pay the bills whilst being content and happy and I’m glad that I can pass the insight on to my children.
So although I was anxious about the future I was invigorated at the prospect of taking the initiative – by removing myself from the malaise – and that boosted my confidence somewhat as my boss emerged from his meeting.
I had very little in common with the people I worked with. When they were going out ‘on the piss’ I was off home to tend to my children and relax after a hard day’s work. And when they said that they didn’t mind, I detected that there was no empathy because they didn’t have children.
There were days when I didn’t arrive home until 9 in the evening and didn’t get to see my children until the following evening because I had to leave for work before they woke up. It was obvious that this job wasn’t right for me. I have to laugh when I think about the conversation I had with the manager because he described me as a ‘connoisseur’ and his approach to work as a ‘wheeler dealer’ which didn’t flatter him one bit but perfectly encapsulated the situation in which I had landed.
Now, I had to take a large chunk of the blame because I had probably jumped into the role too quickly. I was enjoying the broader scope of work – and made a great career transition from a recruitment career to enter the world of marketing . But I’d chosen the wrong organisation and the cultural fit was a massive mismatch. This was the final straw though and on that day I made a pledge to myself to change the way that I searched for new jobs…
2008 – How I Lost Control …. And My Redundancy Nightmare!
I reflected even further and began to understand more mistakes I’d made.
It was 2008 and the height of the financial crisis and I had also been able to generate multiple interviews and job offers for myself and I remember being spoilt for choice when many people were struggling to even get an interview.
For instance after my first role in recruitment I decided to push for positions in financial services – don’t ask me why – and was able to generate interviews at some of the elite recruitment agencies who dealt with the likes of Barclays, Merrill Lynch, Bank Of America and Deutsche Bank to name a few.
At the time, dealing with such prestigious clients excited me and gave me a sense that I was really moving in the right direction with my career and when I got a job offer from a top international recruitment firm I was over the moon! But after a few months in the role I became de-motivated and got bored so when I received a call from a head hunter about another role in recruitment that would pay me more money, I took it as an opportunity to escape without really reflecting to understand the reasons behind my boredom.
Once again, I was excited by the new opportunity. I was being paid a higher salary, had more responsibility and lead a team but still I was not fulfilled and content in what I was doing so the spectre of disillusionment reared its head once again. To my credit I remained in that job for the best part of 3 years but by year three I was going through the motions and not in tune with what was going on around me.. That was until I was finally hit with redundancy which gave me a massive jolt and I ended up not knowing which route to take next.
My confidence was shattered.
I had totally lost control of the direction of my career and found myself wallowing in self-pity, I simply didn’t know what to do next and really began to worry about what the future held. I had a mortgage to pay, spiralling credit card debts and once again found myself in a situation where I needed to act quickly to pay the bills.
So this knee jerk approach to job hunting was not working for me.
At that point I began to blame recruitment for my personal demise even though I had found jobs for hundreds of people (ironically in jobs that they enjoyed) my clients were happy and so were my bosses (given all the money I’d earned for them).
The most important person in the mix, ie ‘me’, was at a loss in terms of what to do and where to go – I guess that’s the effect that redundancy can have on certain people because it really knocked my confidence. I’d been so good at giving advice to others but now I needed to help myself but I could not and just drew a blank!
Don’t get me wrong I had the skills to get myself out of the hole because I could depend on my methods for generating job interviews and offers and by now (around 2008) I’d combined my recruitment expertise with online and social media, in fact I had fallen in love with all things online.
Full Tilt Job Search – Building A Career The Wrong Way
So using what little redundancy money I had, I used my networks to generate a mix of consultancy work to tide me over and pay a few bills along the way. During what was a really low period I kept busy, and that might be one reason I neglected to reflect on why I was in the situation I found myself in. I am convinced that if I had sat back and reflected, I could have rectified my predicament sooner and understood why I had been unhappy in my previous roles. But as I said I just kept going and began to take courses in digital marketing and search engine optimisation to compliment the social media expertise I’d gained in recruitment, I also started to work in digital marketing roles to gain hands-on experience. I set-up a successful website that year and plied the skills I’d learned to acquire over 2000 members and online advertising for the site. Bingo, I was finally turning a corner. Or so I thought!
I also networked vigorously to find out more about what was going on in the market so that I could really immerse myself in the subject matter and find out where the opportunities lay. Ultimately my aim was to get out of recruitment (which in hindsight meant that I was targeting the wrong ‘problem’) as I felt it was the reason for my unhappiness.
Once again I got my job search into full swing to effect a seamless and effective transition into a top digital agency sitting as manager of team of digital specialists with some wonderful clients and seemingly great career prospects. My job search approach had worked a treat – as ever – and I was finally in place where I could be happy and content…. but…… Little did I know that a year down the line I’d be sitting at my desk – with the same unhappy feeling that I’d experienced in other roles. Resignation letter in hand contemplating the future once again and trying to visualise my next move.
How I Turned It All Around
However, things were slightly different this time around and (ironically) quite positive because I finally realised the reason for my unhappiness. As much as I had a robust system for getting myself into gainful employment, I clearly needed to do something different, to avoid (or at least limit) the possibility of being in this situation that necessitated handing in my resignation! So what did I do differently?
Well I focussed on improving on my pre-2011 job search habits and did a root and branch assessment of my approach and found that I had not in fact been doing much wrong. I realised that it had been just one small but significant oversight that had contributed to my current unhappiness, pity that it had taken until 2012 for the penny to finally drop! But everything was now coming in to focus and as I made my way back to my desk I committed to taking a different approach that would help my goal to be happy in work.
My Lightbulb Moment and My Job Search System (Roadmap) That Generates Job Offers!
That happiness would stem from (amongst other this) having a job with the right level of variety, something interesting, working for a business with similar values and a mission to do good, working with people I feel comfortable with and being paid according to my expertise and output. And I know that everyone has their own definition of happiness but I was glad to have found mine.
I realised that my unhappiness had not resulted from the type of work I’d done t (as a recruiter). No. Because I’d now moved in to a totally different area (digital marketing) and was in the same predicament. I know my key strengths and interest are helping people and developing online media, so recruitment and marketing are both great fits for me.
The key thing that was missing from my job search was to identify businesses with strong values and then embarking on looking for opportunities with those employers that have similar values to my own… My solution came when I combined my personal and literally foolproof method of generating job interviews and offers – with research that unearthed employers with shared values.
…. that’s where my sweet spot is and I’m pleased to say I have found it simply by adjusting my old habits of finding jobs.
Each of us has our own sweet spot where we can find happiness in our career and generally have success and happiness in life and that – in my mind – is my definition of the illusive dream job. The system I have developed can be used by anyone to find their niche and find their happiness. It’s a straightforward roadmap and is blueprint that I recommend if you’re having trouble getting your career on track or if you’re looking for your sweet spot. I’ve used it for over a decade to successfully win interviews and generate job offers and now I’ve refined it to incorporate uncovering employers that are closely aligned to my values and it’s worked a treat for me.
In fact it has enabled me to change career, get a pay rise in each job so that I can keep up with the demands of family life, I was even able to win and turn down a role that amounted to a £50,000 package because I had options and had the luxury of taking a job that was right for me at the time. I always hated renting so I used my job search roadmap to find jobs that enabled me to finance my family home in London. As I said this is a must have road map that you should have as part of your job search tool kit and gives you the minimum requirements to get the success and happiness you want.
2015 – How My Life Has Changed For The Better
My entire thought process to developing my career has changed and I’m more positive and conscious of what the future holds. I have realised I’m inspired by businesses like puma, Interface Floor, Method and Tesslas to name a few because they want to give back and are on a mission to do business in a better way, ie to help the world and people alike. These are the kinds of potential employers that I’ve been looking for throughout my career because they have real purpose and try to be responsible in their working practices.
And this is all the more important for me because I now have children of my own and of course I want to be role model, provide for their needs but do so in such a way that is sustainable. And this is where I am finally beginning to find my happiness because I currently assist innovative companies like Ecover, Vita Coco and Saint-Gobain with the their recruitment briefs to find people who want to work for mission led and values-driven organisations…. so I am making an impact and now my career continues in the right direction towards my dream job.
Furthermore, I work with someone who has been a real inspiration in my career and has influenced my success. We both have families so he completely understands that family comes first. I get to see my children more often and can manage my ownf diary so that I have the potential to drop my son off at school. Now that’s something money cannot buy and I feel really privileged to be in this situation. I go to work every day with a sense of purpose that I’m working towards positive goals and we know each other’s strengths in fact we agree that our attributes are complementary…
Who knows where it will take me next?
Watch this space.
Now it’s time to find your niche and use your passport to a better career and purposeful life….. CV in 60 Minutes… Coming Soon