Career coaching gave me tools to navigate my career

The company where I had worked for 26 years had gone through several reorganizations, and eventually it was my turn to review my situation. We agreed that I’d take a redundancy which happened to be a good timing in my life. I was quite excited with the idea of change and saw it as an opportunity.

Even though losing a job and having to think what to do next is always hard - especially at the age of 50 – my previous employer was very good at taking care of their employees, and they offered me career coaching through a local company. I was moving to Finland and luckily this company had a partnership with AS3 Finland. Thus, after the move, I was able to start my career coaching journey with AS3.

Before joining the programme, I searched information on new ways for working and job search, so when I started with AS3 I already had a good idea of my approach. I was not 100% sure what I would like to do, but I informed AS3 that my long-term plan was to set up my own consulting company in Finland and potentially also find a full-time job. Based on this information, AS3 put me in touch with my career coach and my programme started.

During the programme we focused on my profile, experience and skills, ensuring that whether I would become an entrepreneur or start a full-time job, I would be aware of my skills and know how to sell them. My career coach had followed a similar path to the one I was taking: he used to work in industry and then set himself up as a consultant. This meant that I was able to talk with someone who had this background experience, who had done the same as I earlier rather than talking with someone who was reading from the manual. He shared stories of how he started as an entrepreneur and how he began to leverage his networks and gave ideas about how to set up a business locally to help people. This gave me confidence to start trying new things. Between the meetings I made experiments, and when meeting my coach, he asked me questions like: What have you learned? Was it a success? If it was, why? If it didn’t work, what could be done differently?

My programme lasted six months. I think that we were able to build a good working relationship with my career coach and work on the areas I wanted to focus on. Even though there was a lot of work to do, there was no feeling of rush. As someone who has moved to a new country and is working remotely, I found social interaction with my career coach very important.

I feel that participating in the AS3 programme was a learning journey and an investment in myself: while looking for a job, I got to know and understand myself better. There has been a shift from being stuck behind spreadsheets and data to being more people oriented, and that was a big change for me. I also found new approaches to job search – my career coach advised me about the Finnish labour market and how I should focus especially on my networks. I still don’t know what my end job is going to be, but I feel like I have the right package with me to deal with whatever situation that comes up.

To other people in the same situation I want to say: be open and to trust the experience! The tools and approach in AS3 career coaching are efficient and professional – they really work. Your career coach is there to support you, so try to have as open and honest discussions with them as possible – and trust that interaction with them. I would also advice having a right level of expectations: my expectation in the end of the programme was not to have a job, but to get to know more about myself and what I can bring to the working environment.

My career coaching programme helped me find out who I am and what aspects I enjoy and look for in a job. Now, if I look for future employment, I know what my hopes and expectations are, and my future employer will get someone who is happy and motivated in the work they are engaged with.

We publish the interview anonymously due to the subject's privacy. The interviewee participated in AS3's career and job search programme autumn 2022 – spring 2023.