Stop being an expert. Try something new.

By Kata Szkopkowska

3 minute read

Everyone would like to be able to follow their dreams. It is not easy to understand what makes us happy and satisfied. Some of us say that they cannot afford to do what they like because they have already started a career path that’s hard to leave, or because they do not have the time or money to develop necessary qualifications. There are many other excuses, but just two real reasons: a lack of motivation and a lack of knowledge of how to take care of their own fate.

I always dreamed of being a doctor. Of course, I watched all episodes of ER and Grey’s Anatomy. And ever since I was a child, I have been intrigued by videos. How can one ad affect so many people so much?! And of course! digging for dinosaurs! Archaeology was always on my top list!

Coming from a small town, I thought becoming an archaeologist was never going to happen… so I became a teacher. I liked that job: children discovering secrets of the world right before my eyes. I have been contributing to their values, recognizing weaknesses, building their confidence in their own abilities, giving them freedom! After some time, however, I felt that the children were going on and I was standing still. What about my freedom?

Working at school stopped being attractive to me. I felt burnt out. Was I ready for a change?

Never! I don’t like changes! Let’s be comfortably unhappy! But then the opportunity to work in an online learning company came up. I thought: sink or swim! Working on online courses - maybe I’ll learn something new as well! And as I was doing administrative and maintenance work across the courses that the company offered, in a very short period of time I realized how much I know about Excel, planning projects, finances, and even making instructional and marketing videos. I found my vocation accidentally.

But! Gaining new qualifications is much easier than getting a chance to prove them. Suddenly you stop being an expert. Your references lose value. You lack confidence. What do you think could convince the recruiters that they should trust you when you are not able to boast of the results?

Changing your career path often results in a career identity crisis, because what you do affects your sense of who you are. So in the process of transformation, when the old "I" no longer fits us, and the new one is just shaping, we experience anxiety, uncertainty and doubt. In addition to people thinking about us in a certain way, it is not easy to accept ourselves in a new role. Why would you actually believe someone who has been educating preschoolers for years could create commercials?

If you think this is unbelievable, start asking people what they did before they started doing something you know them for. Among my friends, I know a dog trainer who started as a chef, a fashion designer who was a good hairdresser and a banker on the children's puppet show. Many of us get to change industries at least once in our lives.

I knew that the first step is the most important. So I started an online course, following methodical videos, experimenting with a variety of post-production software, recording with a camera that no one in our company was using, working on the sound, creating animations. I learned everything myself, just with the course, here and there when I had 10 minutes of free time, and it was so much fun! The memory of my first animation - slicing carrots - makes me feel excited even today!

Then my company decided to enrich the courses with instructional videos. I took the challenge and it all started. I have now produced dozens of instructional and several marketing videos. And I am still learning. I try new tricks, I discover new features of software that make my videos look more professional. This path is very long and wide but I am very happy to march along. My boss was pleased that someone showed initiative and supports my attempts, offering ideas for existing and new videos.

The coolest part of all is that I have achieved it myself and that I finally do what I like. This all started with an online course. And you know what? I am not the only one, online courses help many people achieve the skills and self-confidence they need to change their lives and be happy.

Sallust once said “every man is the architect of his own fortune” but even though I have not dug up any dinosaur yet I have started doing something that makes me happy and helps others learn and get better.


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