facebook twitter youtube google plus linkedin

Shifting Gears and Careers – Part 1

Shifting Gears and Careers – Part 1

Gavin Rowlandson of Baie-D’Urfe, Quebec made the decision to leave a professional engineering career of over 25 years and pursue becoming a massage therapist and co-business owner with his wife Julie.  This is Gavin’s story.

Part 1 – Two Bold Steps

Gavin Rowlandson started off his career similar to so many others – he sort of fell into it.  As a child, he enjoyed taking things apart and trying to figure out how they worked.  When he became a young adult, he decided to extend this childhood interest and become a Professional Engineer.

Gavin studied at a Polytechnic in England and successfully graduated in 1987 with his BSc in Engineering.  Upon graduation, Gavin quickly discovered that there were not many open positions but through a call to a family friend, he managed to get a position with a small aerospace company in the Isle of Man.  Gavin began this job around the same time that he married his wife Julie.

Gavin Rowlandson

Gavin Rowlandson

Over the next few years, Gavin worked extremely hard in building his reputation and credibility in the very demanding and technically challenging world of aircraft design and certification.   Gavin was also blessed with the arrival of two sons and developing his career and providing for his family were his top two priorities. Although Gavin did a good job and was recognized for his work – he never felt personally satisfied with his career.  He changed companies twice hoping that this feeling would change but was unsuccessful.

Along with his career dissatisfaction, Gavin also felt a great deal of responsibility and pressure to provide for his family.  Gavin eventually found himself in a management position and discovered how much he really enjoyed working with people.  He particularly found himself drawn to developing and mentoring younger staff members and started to realize how much enjoyment and satisfaction he received doing this.

As much as the management role was rewarding for Gavin, the professional demands of his work still left him feeling empty however he felt the need to provide for his family far outweighed his own personal career aspirations.  In trying to mask this situation, Gavin continued to change jobs with the hope each time that the next position would make him feel more fulfilled.

Gavin eventually made his biggest leap yet – to another country – Montreal, Canada to see if that would provide him with the career fulfillment that he so craved. It wasn’t until his wife, Julie, pointed out that by making all these career moves, all he was actually doing was just running away from what he needed to do – figure out what he really wanted to do with his life.  This wake up call forced Gavin to stop and think.  He finally came face to face with the stark reality that he was never going to feel happy or fulfilled in the engineering world and by simply changing jobs or ignoring the situation was not doing any good for either his family or himself.

Gavin knew that something had to change.

Gavin made a decision to get some help.  He hired a therapist/life coach and started the hard work of rediscovering himself and what was important to him. He read books, did yoga, opened up to numerology, spirituality, and the connection of mind body and spirit. Initially, he found himself becoming more frustrated as the reality set in that he was not on a career path that he really wanted. While completing his own personal introspection, Gavin also worked on further developing his relationship with Julie and together they reconnected and bonded as a couple.

Julie Rowlandson

Julie Rowlandson

Armed now with new personal insights about himself and along with the support of Julie, Gavin took his first very bold step and started the process of resigning from the engineering world.  This was truly a leap of faith as he had still not quite figured out what he wanted to do yet.  He knew he wanted to do something with people and began looking into becoming a personal trainer, yoga instructor, sports therapist and had even took some training in business coaching.

At the same time during this turmoil in Gavin’s career, Julie had enrolled in massage therapy classes and had started her own business.  She was approached by someone wanting to know whether she was interested in starting a joint massage business.  Julie felt that if she was going grow her business, she really wanted to share this experience with her husband.

Gavin had always been interested in running his own business and had even at one point sold Amway to pursue this goal.  So Gavin, at the age of 47 and having spent 25 years as a very qualified engineering manager took his second very bold step and enrolled in massage therapy classes with the intention of opening a business with the love of his life and his best friend – his wife.

Read about Gavin’s career transition in Part 2 of Shifting Gears and Careers