“I left with a very nice severance that I used as a cushion to start my own business. The business evolved into Talent Acquisition consulting – helping companies recruit better. Fortunately, this kind of switch does not require a lot of upfront financial investment – it is more an investment in time and a prior investment in reputation.”
shares Iulia Istrate, the psychologist, Global Talent Solutions Architect, remote work advocate and host of the Skills for Mars podcast.
Iulia followed her passion since being a teenager and landed a good job after relocating to a different country. Iulia managed to built on the opportunity a corporate city career offered and turned her passion into her business. But with so many different possibilities and passions, what did she pick and how did she go on about starting her business?
In this interview Iulia will share with you her journey, lessons learnt and tips how to make a successful career change.
Where do you come from and where are you based now?
I was born and raised in Romania. In 2012, I moved to France (Strasbourg) and in 2019 I followed my dream of moving to the city I love most in the world – beautiful Amsterdam.
As a child did you have a dream job?
You know, I had to call my mother and ask her since I did not remember having a dream job. As a child I loved everything and everyone but did not really run around telling everyone I wanted to be a doctor 🙂
When and how did you discover direction for your ideal job, career or business?
I started thinking about a career around 15-16, so as a teenager. I had two ideas – quite opposite if I look back now. Architecture and Social Sciences.
1994-1995 Romania – there was only one University where I could study Architecture and they were admitting only 10 students per year. Most of my “competition” came from an arts background, having studied drawing and already having an important portfolio. I studied math and physics.
I could draw and I loved it, started taking classes, but I soon realised I could never catch-up. You did not want to stay home, with your parents, for years and years trying to get into something that just seemed impossible. So, I had my second love – social sciences. I studied Psychology, the Industrial-Organizational specialty and I am very happy life turned out this way. I still draw as a hobby.
How did you recognize your genius – what are you best at doing in your career or business?
Not sure I found the genius yet 🙂
I love Marvel and DC comics and believe everyone has superpowers – not one, but multiple. Some are more used, trained and we rely on them often. Some are dormant and wait to be discovered. I was lucky enough to inherit the emotional intelligence genes from my father, train my grit and self-trust with my mother, learn discipline from my grandmother and unleash the creative side with my grandfather.
Funny enough – as a career as I mainly ask questions. I started in Talent Acquisition after I graduated from University, in 2016 I got certified as a coach. In 2019 I kicked-of the “Skills for Mars” video-podcast.
So, asking questions is what I do, and I love it! I get to find out so so much about people, businesses, ideas. Through asking questions I can help people live better lives through their jobs.
Work and life balance – what does it mean to you and how do you keep it?
I am not a believer in work-life balance. I think it is a wild goose chase. And I strive in a bit of chaos.
I believe in the quality of both work and life and not in a time equilibrium. I became quite skilled at integrating the two and getting the most out of each of them.
The key is focus – when I work – I work. When I spend time with my family – I am fully there. And my family comes first. Always. I love what I do, but I love my family more.
What have you learned on your dream job journey (what was most difficult to overcome)?
To never stay put. Always keep in motion, always keep learning, exploring, testing, failing. Even though questioning is the thin red line in my professional life, what I do is at the intersection of so many areas.
Talent Acquisition is a mix of Marketing, Sales, Procurement, Administration in various industries. For coaching and podcasting I discuss with people from so many fields and backgrounds. I need to learn all their “languages” before I talk to them. So, I always keep in motion, always keep the learning, and change muscles active.
How did you make your career change/starting your business work financially?
I think I was lucky here again. At the end of 2015, the company I was working for got sold. I left with a very nice severance that I used as a cushion to start my own business. I had one year of financial freedom to get something done.
This is when I got certified and started coaching. The business evolved into Talent Acquisition consulting – helping companies recruit better and now it has expanded into Succession Planning and Executive Coaching.
Fortunately, this kind of switch does not require a lot of upfront financial investment – it is more an investment in time and a prior investment in reputation.
Any TIPS that you’d like to share with people considering changing jobs, career or starting freelance?
- Know your “Why”. Not a superficial one but try to get to the bottom of it. You will question your decision and your “why” will keep you on the right path.
- Network, network, network – this is crucial! Reach out to people. Build and share relations. I have borrowed a “recipe” that works – give twice as much as you ask for. It works!
- Be honest and trustworthy. Build reputation. It will take time, but the benefits are priceless.
- Stay curious. The world is everchanging, it provides endless opportunities. Curiosity will help you find the opportunities that will propel you. Curiosity will keep you learning and wanting more.
Author: AdriAna Kosovska
Certified coach & founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB ACADEMY
Helping unfulfilled professionals and freelancers in 30s & 40s create a rewarding career
Dream job & Career Development | Stress reduction | Talents development