Over the past few weeks I have alluded to having a new job on social media but I didn’t want to write a post about it until absolutely everything had been finalised. Now that all the pieces are in place, I can finally update you all!
A few months ago I started feeling restless. Although I love my current job as a personal trainer and operations manager of a studio, I wasn’t growing. I had achieved what I had set out to do when I moved to London by gaining hands-on training experience and learning how to run a business (side note for newer readers: I was originally working as a financial journalist in Sydney before I qualified as a PT).
Initially, I never wanted to make a proper career out of being a PT – I just wanted to gain some experience with the hopes of writing for a fitness magazine. Now, I can’t ever imagine not being a trainer. I love helping others and being in a gym environment, sharing my passion.
I would eventually love to run my own gym and start my own magazine (lofty dreams, huh!). One thing I have learnt about myself in the last four years is that I don’t enjoy working for other people, and I put a lot more effort into my own business.
At my current job, I was presented with an amazing opportunity to become a shareholder in their business, but my heart wasn’t in it. I love the people I work with, but their business isn’t what I am passionate about.
I believe in myself enough to trust that I can make the dream of owning my own gym a reality. I want to teach people how to lift properly, under the guidance of only the best trainers. I want it to be serious yet non-threatening to newbies.
I was at a crossroads, and preparing to leave my managerial job to work on my own business full-time. I am lucky enough to make a sustainable amount of money through online training clients, and that is without me having made a real effort to push my business. Things would be a lot harder if I didn’t have you guys supporting me, so I must thank you again!
Before you start moaning at the idea of me becoming a full-time blogger, don’t worry! While all of this was going on, Rob and I were simultaneously experiencing visa difficulties…
Our current visa is only valid for two years, after which time we have to leave the country. Most people assume that because I am Australian I can automatically stay in the UK, but that is only the case if you have a parent or grandparent born here (all of my great-grandparents were, but that doesn’t count for anything). Pretty bloody stupid considering the country itself was founded by Britain.
From the beginning, Rob was told that he would be sponsored to stay so I was free to work as I liked (spouses stay automatically once one has been sponsored). However, as the time to apply for sponsorship grew nearer, it looked increasingly unlikely that his application would be approved. Rob is a high performance tennis coach who was never actually a tennis player, so on paper it is very difficult to prove that he can do his job better than an English person – especially considering that there has recently been a huge cut in tennis jobs in England.
The solution was for Rob’s work to sponsor me instead – I promise it’s not as crazy as it sounds. The tennis academy is just one department of a larger facility. There are eight different divisions, including fitness, dance, football, gymnastics and so on, with almost 100 staff members. At first, the plan was to sponsor me as a personal trainer and nutritionist (I have actually been working as the academy nutritionist for over a year anyway!), with a mini marketing role on the side.
But the more we got talking, the more we realised the centre needs a designated media manager and that they want to hire someone regardless of me taking the role or not. My title will be head of public relations. I will continue to do nutrition programs as needed, but I won’t be doing any PT.
That being said, I will continue to do PT sessions with my existing clients (and still take on new clients) at the gym I train at. Even though I don’t make as much money, I prefer training people there because they are all pretty serious.
My PR job will be 30 hours a week (similar to what I’m doing now), and I can do most of it from home, so I will be able to continue blogging and online training as usual, as well as pushing ahead with my own training goals. Essentially nothing here will change, but I will have to put my personal business plans on hold for a little while!
The centre has to advertise my position for one month and prove that I am a better fit for the job than any English person that applies. They are very optimistic about this, as it will be difficult to find another journalist who has experience in fitness, dance, gymnastics AND tennis.
I’m happy to be working in media again, and with such a prestigious title (it’s very difficult to get a good PR job in London, let alone a top-level one!). I will be making more money too, which is a bonus but obviously not my main motivation.
I officially start my new job in the first week of November. Amber is taking over my current job, so all things worked out with perfect timing (see, making friends with me comes with a wide range of benefits!).
The sponsorship process has begun, but it takes about three months. Once I receive my certificate of sponsorship, I will have to fly back to Australia for 6-8 weeks to submit my application. This is the only bummer! I will at least be able to work while I am away, as my job is largely based online, and I can’t complain that I’m leaving the dreary English winter to enjoy a hot Australian summer! But it’s obviously a huge waste of both money and time (last-minute flights to Oz are about US$2000 per way…. gulp).
After three more years of being in the UK we can apply for indefinite leave to remain, which is the closest thing to citizenship, and then we are free to work for whoever we want.
So there is a hefty update for you! I’m really excited to begin a new chapter of my life and get one step closer to fulfilling my true dreams.
Have you ever undertaken a big career change?