Getting ready for "firsts" in life - whenever they may happen


The thing about lots of milestones in life is that you’re probably never really prepared for them. And you almost certainly don’t know what it’s going to feel like afterwards and how you and your life may just be changed forever.  

So moving into your first flat away from home or university, getting your first job, your first serious relationship, your first serious breakup, commitment/marriage, first child, death of a loved one, divorce, making money, losing money, losing a job, being made redundant, getting recognition at work… The list of “firsts” for which we’re probably never prepared is lengthy and possibly gets more complex as life goes on and there are more dimensions and levels on which these milestones impact on us and those around us.  

There are guides, blogs and books about some of life’s milestones (babies, relationships, making money) but those connected with your work life tend to go under-reported and far less shared than most of the others.  Work is one of those subjects that, once you’ve left school / University and are outside of whatever careers advice you got back then doesn’t get seriously examined again.  

It’s such an odd anomaly. Whether you actually like what you do or not, work does occupy a large part of our lives.   Work does to some extent define who we are and how we’re perceived, it pays for life to go on, it’s where we often meet our best friends and worst foes and yet for the most part people stumble from one job to another.  Jobs are found (or find us) in fairly random ways – to be headhunted is flattering but probably implies that you’re going to be asked to do the same kind of job as you’ve been doing before – why would they want you otherwise unless they had an assurance of competence? 


To work via a recruiter can be hugely positive but can also depend on what happens to be on their books at that time.  To hear about a job from a friend or via social media can be great if you know what you’re looking for and really can be objective about yourself, your mid to longer term objectives and what your talent really is and what’s really going to make you happy/wealthier/better as a human being. Because if you can’t be objective about all of those things, is there someone else in your life who you can rely on for that totally hands-free, informed but objective view?  

We know that in the creative sector we tend to bring our whole selves to work – there may be boundaries between personal and professional life but the line is less clear in our heads.  So when creative people face challenges, successes or changes it can be really disturbing for them to bring real clarity to their thinking because they’re so often wholeheartedly “in” their work.  

I’ve worked with creative people all of my adult life; as a member of a creative team, as a manager of creative people, as a recruiter and as a social animal – I always seem to find the creative in the room even when I’m not really looking for them!  That industry experience combined with my training in adult life development and many years experience of coaching individuals and teams as they approach changes and dilemmas makes me a pretty good informed but objective audience.  

A recent Coaching client said

“I can’t recommend Madelaine enough: going in I thought I had a pretty good understanding of myself and where I wanted to be.  But Madelaine added that extra light, she had answers when I didn’t and pushed me further when I needed it.  Understanding what is right in your career can sometimes feel like a lonely journey but with Madelaine, it was a different story.  She was reassuring, knowledgeable and connected.  Thank you Madelaine.”

If you’re approaching a first in your working life for which you feel under-prepared, please get in touch and we can have a first no-obligation conversation to see if I might be what you’re in need of right now.  

Those “firsts” in our working lives go on happening time and again – long after we acknowledge that we may need help with them.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out in your career, are five, ten, thirty or more years into your career, sometimes you just need to make time to sort things out in your head, your heart, your wallet and to envisage how life might be on the other side of change.