Small Business: Taking stock easier than you think

By Gill South

TV show points women towards developing the confidence for a career change ... or not.

Carla Banks reignited her passion for a career in make-up. Photo /  Ted Baghurst
Carla Banks reignited her passion for a career in make-up. Photo / Ted Baghurst

At this time of year, many people are asking themselves: "Do I really want to do this for another year?"

For many, making the change or setting the wheels in motion, requires an incentive of some kind and a renewed confidence, something some women can struggle with at times.

Carla Banks, 39, was at home folding a big pile of washing when she saw the ad for the programme Starting Over, which starts on Vibe tomorrow. "It felt like the ad was talking to me," she says. The show was looking for eight women for career and physical makeovers then guiding them through the changes.

The freelance make-up artist felt at a crossroads in her career. Feeling burned out and lacking the energy and confidence to win more new work, should she continue on with her established career or follow her first passion of social work?

With life coach Sian Jaquet, Banks reviewed who she was and what she stood for, giving her a clear idea of where she needed to put her energy and make the right choices for a successful career.

Starting Over gave Banks the opportunity to do a form of social work; she is now helping prepare young South Auckland women to return to work through the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

The part-Maori mother of a 13-year-old daughter also helped Maori boarding school Hato Petera develop ideas for a school ball.

She believes she uses social work skills in make-up by supporting nervous people before they go on TV.

"With my job, there is a holistic side. I could not just go in and make people look pretty," she says. "Some people want quiet, some want to talk, some want a cup of tea. I'm happy to do all of that.

"What the show clarified was I was not ready to give up my make-up career. I had created all these contacts, I'd have been a fool to throw it away."

Banks worked with Jaquet, career consultant Sarah Moyne from Careers New Zealand and image consultant and personal stylist Samantha Hannah for Starting Over, which also helped her appreciate the values she holds most dear.

"We talked about my core values and one of mine is loyalty." Working as a freelance make-up artist, some of her work was going against that even though she still felt loyal to her long-standing TV3 programme.

Banks especially enjoyed working with Jaquet as they are both straight shooters. "Because she's older, she's lived quite a few lives. I really related to her, she was like a great aunty who gives you a hug. There's a light around that woman."

Jaquet gave Banks some much-needed confidence. Looking for work, Banks, who started the make-up department at Maori TV, realised how respected she was by others.

Jaquet says: "The theme for all the women was confidence in themselves. It's never easy to look at ourselves and honestly review what our skills, talents and abilities are. I needed to encourage them to give themselves permission to be who they chose to be, own their space and believe they deserved to be successful."

Banks has now got the confidence to run master classes in make-up and presentation "from all ends of the spectrum" for corporate clients and hen parties.

Moyne says Banks' experience is quite typical. "A career change means different things to different people. I don't think people realise, a career change and retraining is not necessarily as big as that. It can sometimes mean changing small things or making step changes. It might be a different role in same organisation."

Moyne saw her role on the show as meeting women and listening to their ideas. "I was talking to them about their ideas and checking how these matched with their values."

What usually happens with career changes is when people do a value stock take, they find certain values are being missed, that their work can be going counter to their values.

Moyne helped the Starting Over participants form action plans, encouraging the women to talk to people doing the jobs they wanted to do and finding out more about it.

She coached them to take some practical steps, the emphasis always around the women themselves being proactive, rather than the coaches doing things for them.

"We helped with ideas and suggestions but the motivation and [action] had to come from the women," says Moyne.

A career change is not an easy thing, it's a difficult process and it calls for a lot of research, she says.

One participant Moyne worked with on Starting Over, tax consultant Alex Hart, wanted to make a change to a career in writing or doing more in the "great outdoors".

She was also interested in improving her health and work/life balance. A linguist, Hart is now travelling in South America writing a blog about her experiences.

Moyne says: "Alex was an amazing case. With some of the women, they came wanting change but they had not lost a passion for what they were doing. You are tweaking but not necessarily making a complete change.

"But for Alex, the tax chapter was gone, she wanted a complete change."

At first Hart was hesitant, identifying a number of "buts", which Moyne encouraged her to get on paper to find some of them completely justified.

"It helped to write them down and put them out there," she says.

Hart has ended up going on a volunteer Spanish programme, which helped her relearn the language.

As well as thinking of doing further study, she is also looking at ways to do writing, proof reading and editing.

"The whole thing around career change is about taking stock," says Moyne.

Starting Over begins at 7.30pm tomorrow on Vibe

- NZ Herald

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