From dead-end job and making a ‘wrong’ move to dream career

Jun 1, 2023

Frustrated in your career and tempted to take the first role which comes along?

Discover why immediately searching for a new job isn’t the wisest strategy and how this client navigated a ‘wrong’ career move.

You’ll find out the specific steps they took to transition into their ideal career — and how to minimise risk with your next move too.

In this ‘Career By Design’ case study series, I’m giving you an exclusive, behind the scenes look at the career transformations my clients have experienced. You’ll discover how other high-performers went from feeling stuck at a career crossroads to clear on their direction and how to get there.

My intention for this series is to show you you’re not alone — and give you inspiration to see what’s possible.

What you’ll notice is there isn’t ONE definition of success or clear pathway there. It’s about identifying what this looks like to you. But there are 3 things these clients have in common which you can apply to create a career by design too:

  • Clarity — Understanding what’s missing in your current career and what you truly want before attempting to change it
  • Confidence — Mastering your mindset to overcome fear, self-doubts and build confidence
  • Career Strategy — Applying the right strategies to get the results you’re after

In this first case study, I break down a client’s transformation in detail. I share exactly how she found clarity and confidence — and the specific career strategies which got her these results.


This client had been with her employer for ten years and felt like she’d gone as far as she could go. She felt dissatisfied with her career situation and wanted to find clarity on her direction. It was something she’d been going round in circles trying to figure out on her own for YEARS.

She became so frustrated in her role, one day she jumped on LinkedIn and applied for the first job she saw — in a completely different industry. By the time I’d met this client, she’d accepted this role (the ONLY one she’d applied for) because it had to be better. BUT she didn’t know a lot about this career path, what she really wanted — or even if it was the right fit!

After working together, this client has complete clarity on her career direction and has ended up in a place of full self-belief. She’s clear on the work she enjoys and has made a strategic career move into this area — one which she plans to stay in long-term. As a result, she feels at peace, satisfied in her work again and excited for her future career!


My coaching methodology starts by helping my clients clarify what’s important to them and what they want. Then we look at career paths and opportunities which align to this. The goal is to design a career that ‘works’ for YOU, rather than trying to fit yourself to a specific role.

Because this client wasn’t sure what she wanted, we first got clear on her unique strengths, values, passions and long-term career vision. By better understanding herself and what she wanted her career (and life) to look like, this individual realised her new role wasn’t the right fit.

Once she had clarity on these internal factors, we considered the work-related aspects which were essential. She explored different career pathways, before identifying one which was a match for her strengths and values. This client now has complete clarity on her career goals, the area of work she enjoys and direction she wants to take her career long-term.


When we first started working together, this client was experiencing a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. She admitted wasting a great deal of time and energy comparing herself to others. I noticed this held her back from working out what she wanted next in her career for many years — because she couldn’t see what she was truly capable of.

The biggest mindset shift this person has experienced is recognising her unique gifts and the value she has to offer. She’s now focused on growing her strengths and wastes less time worrying about or trying to make up for her perceived weaknesses. As a result, she’s able to articulate her value and experience in an authentic way — and has developed a newfound sense of confidence too!

As a working mother, this individual also struggled to balance her work and personal life. She’d constantly think about work when she was at home and feel guilty when she was at work. This client fully committed to setting boundaries so she’s more present with family — and no longer feels guilty for taking time out for herself!


This client was very proactive about following her curiosity and exploring career paths of interest. Her main career strategy was having career conversations with people doing work which interested her. Not only did this support her to clarify the type of work she enjoys, but these connections helped her secure a highly sought after role in this field.

In both positions, this person was intentional about observing other leaders she admired. By identifying what they did well (and what didn’t work), she was able to develop her own leadership style further. As a result of building her network, she’s also much more confident reaching out to others to discuss work options to further her career.

TIME was this individual’s greatest challenge — and the biggest barrier to working towards her career goals. Setting short-term goals and breaking tasks down into smaller steps kept her on track with her larger, long-term vision. This also reduced overwhelm and increased her productivity — which is music to my ears!!


Here are my top three takeaways from this client’s transformation — and how YOU can apply them to your career!

#1 — Start from the ‘inside out’

Before searching for a new job or your one ‘ideal’ career path, clarify what YOU want, first. Then you can explore career paths or roles which ‘work’ for you. This IS the way to design a career that’s fulfilling and sustainable.

#2 — Leverage your strengths, let go of your weaknesses

Invest time into developing your gifts and designing your work around your strengths. One way to do this is by outsourcing your weaknesses to a colleague who has strengths in areas you don’t. If you’re a visionary, big-picture thinker, delegate more detail-orientated tasks.

#3 — Follow your curiosity

Clarity comes through action, not thought. If you’re unsure what you want, explore the things which spark your interest: volunteer, take a class or have a conversation with someone. Every action gets you one step closer to clarity.

So there you have it. How my client went from a dead-end job and the ‘wrong’ role to transitioning into her dream career. I hope this helps you to develop the clarity, confidence and strategy to create a career by design too.

Ready to create a career on your terms?

I invite you to book a free, no obligation 30 minute conversation with me to discuss your next career steps — and whether working together is right for you! Book here.

Stacey Back is a globally recognised and certified Career + Leadership Coach. She helps high-achievers at a career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms. Stacey works virtually with individuals and organisations based across the globe.