Simon Reeve : My Career Change Story

Some time back I wanted a career change (not a job change ... a complete re-start). I had been a GM with a major US corporate and then set up a modestly successful trading business so I was full of beans and bravado when I decided to make a complete change.

9 months later, skimming stones out onto the English Channel, I realised that despite everything, I was "losing it". My self confidence was eroding and doubts were pulling over me like the dark clouds looming over the Channel that day. it seemed the harder I tried to get a job the more arrows I was taking. It was beginning to seriously dent my sense of well-being as well as my pocket!

At least I had the nous to realise that I needed "professional guidance" let's say.

Along with all those job ads I was reading (and answering most of), I saw some adverts promising this amazing "untapped wealth" of jobs that were somehow, somewhere passing me by. I decided to answer this big ad from a London-based outfit in a fancy building somewhere in St James's and was duly invited for interview. I entered what felt like a doctors waiting room and was asked to take a seat along with a load of other suited sad-looking fellows. My name was called (doctor's waiting room style) and I was directed to find what  seemed like a stuffy old psychiatrist's office (well how I imagined a stuffy old psychiatrist's office would be anyhow).  From beginning to awkward dispassionate, disconnected autopsy to the relief of closing the door behind me,  I felt like some patient - some sad reject that needed drastic brain surgery. It was belittling. It was dreadful.

I decided driving home that day, I would give this course of action a miss. I was not a reject and I was certainly not a brain failure!

Another week of stone tossing got me back to the Telegraph jobs section and there I saw another ad. but this time from some bloke called Simon Scantlebury. "Oh well," I thought "at least he's not anonymous and has the same name ... I'll give him call". The rest I can only describe as a great, great journey, thoroughly enjoyable and so rewarding both mentally and financially I cannot begin to describe ... but I'll have a go...

The guy on the end of the phone came across as genuinely interested in ME. I was immediately encouraged to jump in the car and go and see this man.I was met by a spritely silver haired gentleman (emphasis on gentleman) who beamed a big warm friendly smile and sat me down with a coffee and proceeded to win my confidence (very rapidly considering the past "nightmare of St James's"). He was charming, erudite and each line etched in his warm face told of great experience and gravitas. He quickly focused in on the inner me and got me to do the same. "I'm not interested in who you were or why you were" he said ... "I want to know who you really are under that baggage you've been carrying all these years!"

At first I mentally fought and struggled. My ego was not happy with this intrusion into the inner me. However, after several sessions I realised that this was a process - not a one shot affair. I realised that Simon was there for me and me alone (OK and about 6 other lucky people).

Once I decided that defensiveness was getting me no-where, I opened right up and together we set about putting the whole lot of me, figuratively speaking, on the table between us - warts and all. Simon then proceeded to "sweep" all the clingy extraneous stuff that had accreted over the years, onto the floor. There sitting in the middle of the table in front of me was 100% pure Simon Reeve. Amazing. The "diamond within".

"Now we have something to play with" he said and from that point on we put ME together into a person. A person that I did not have to cover for, to make excuses for, to bitch about ... this was ME!

We set about building a great CV together (of course it was great - it was 100% unadulterated ME).

Armed with "ME" we were then able to point at highly specific career targets. No longer needing to write off to every job in Kingdom Come I was able to choose exactly what I wanted AND where I wanted. Incredible. As were the results. Sounds like a paid ad. I know, but I very quickly got two job offers - one of those in Oxford which was the EXACT place I wanted to work. Both were for CEO - the EXACT role I wanted and  both in IT - the EXACT domain I wanted (I was a sales and services manager with NO experience of working in the UK and NO experience as an MD/CEO).

Simon was of course delighted when I won both jobs and chose the Oxford one. I figured "that was that" and set off on my new career. But to my surprise, exactly 2 years later, Simon called me and said "Come on old boy - time to get moving"... don't ask me how he read my ambitions but shortly after that I was in the role of Managing Programme Director at Dresdner Bank in London.

I never stopped being friends with Simon and he never ceased to be interested in me and my career. It has been nearly 18 years now and I find that just incredible ... and I never tire of writing great tomes like this in praise and in respect of this wonderful, wonderful guy. You will have an experience of a lifetime and you will gain a great friend. The "fees issue" will pale into insignificance because I just know that like me - you will gain back far more than the few grand you put in.

Don't be afraid of this guy - he is an angel. He is there to make you feel good and strong and confident in yourself. Open up and enjoy the experience!

Simon Reeve
Managing Partner, Asia Resource Projects
Director, lion Energy Limited (ASX:LIO)

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