“I didn’t see any purpose in what I was doing.”

Image of Hedda Weber
From Team Leader to Independent Consultant

Hedda Weber felt exhausted and empty from her demanding job. Noticing that she still liked her work tasks, but not her workplace, she decided to use her skills in a new way. Here, she shares how she found fulfilment by creating a bespoke portfolio career. 

What work were you doing previously?    

I was the leader of an Research & Development team, developing bio-based products and managing our R&D location.

What are you doing now?    

I’m an independent consultant helping companies to develop biobased products or biobased solutions. 

In addition, I'm teaching at two Universities in the biobased area.

I’m also considering offering coaching/mentoring for middle managers (not yet decided). 

How did you feel in your work before you decided to make the change?    

Exhausted, demoted, listless, empty. 

Why did you change?    

I didn’t see any purpose in what I was doing. 

After a change in management, I couldn’t do any of the things I was originally hired for. Perversely, at that time I held (by title) a higher position than before. The workload was overwhelming, but there was hardly any useful outcome to be expected from what I was told to do. 

Efforts to improve the situation were not supported by my employer. In the end, I wasn’t the only one who left the company. 

I brought all the frustration home with me, which also affected my husband.

How did you choose your new career?    

An important outcome of taking part in the Career Change Launch Pad for me was realising that I love what I do, but not under the current circumstances.

And so, I decided to found my own company.

Are you happy with the change?    


I’m myself again. I’m more relaxed, and content with my life.

That said, my income is far from stable and customer acquisition is still a challenge.  

But my family gets the attention it deserves, which was not always the case before.

What do you miss and what don't you miss?    

I miss the interaction with the team and the exchange of thoughts and views. 

I don’t miss the excessive bureaucracy, the chaotic leadership that resulted in permanent last-minute assignments, and the nastiness of some coworkers and leaders. 

I also don’t miss commuting, since I’m working from home now.

How did you go about making the shift?    

After having established that I still love my work topics, and having made the decision to leave, I submitted my notice. 

Then I started notifying my network that I would start my consultancy in the coming year. I also started discussing possible contracts. 

When I eventually left the company I applied for unemployment money and also applied to be admitted to the government’s “Business start-up programme”. This programme provides everyday financial support but also allows for a certain amount of training. It also provides for a kind of mentor to support you during the start-up phase. 

Moreover, shortly before I left my old job I talked to friends who had set up their own companies.

How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?    

I had a solid savings account.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?    

To leap into (financial) insecurity and to stay confident that I will pull it off.

Customer acquisition takes much longer than expected. 

What help did you get?    

The support of my husband, friends and the business start-up programme.

What resources would you recommend to others?    

Friends and family.

Use your professional network, any governmental help if available, and in my case the chamber of commerce.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?    

Make sure that doing something else is not just running away from an uncomfortable situation. 

It should be something you really want to do, irrespective of your current situation.

Find out who can support you (friends, family, network, government help), and use that support wisely. 

If you start your own business, consider outsourcing tasks that you’re not cut out for or that consume too much of your sellable hours – don’t save in the wrong places.

Hedda took part in our Career Change Launch Pad. If you're ready to join a group of bright, motivated career changers on a structured programme to help you find more fulfilling work, you can find out more here.

What lessons could you take from Hedda's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected]. and you could win a £25 / $35 voucher in our monthly draw.