Rachel Matthews, Founder of Corporate 2 Creative

The career change series exploring stories of those who ditched their corporate jobs for a creative life

After studying Law at university, I dedicated my twenties to a career in financial crime compliance. Based between Canary Wharf and the City of London, I worked in American, British and Japanese banks. I was constantly on the go – caught up in a cycle of chasing the next promotion and pay rise. I never took a moment to step back and ask myself: ‘Was this what I really wanted?’

Understaffed and under pressure, I started to get run down. It wasn’t so much one big moment, but more of a dawning realisation: the job was a bad fit. I know my own body cues and I was heading for burnout. In May 2018, after six years in banking, I finally hit my limit and left.

On some level, I’d always known banking wasn’t my forever career. I’d just been too busy to ask myself: ‘What do I enjoy doing?’ Luckily, my partner was posted to Lisbon for three months. It was exactly what I needed to make a big change. I’d always been a good saver, which allowed me to join him out there, take time off and reflect on those big questions.

I spent a lot of time reading articles and journalist Dolly Alderton wrote something that really stuck with me: ‘If you want to achieve something, you have to start’. Why couldn’t I become a writer too? I set up a blog that became a website and began attending live events to network – offering content and copywriting services to the business owners I met.

My interview series – Corporate 2 Creative – is my passion project for anyone who is changing careers, doesn’t have a back-up plan and is seeking inspiration from bold decision-makers! It’s transitioning to a podcast as part of a toolkit I’m putting together for people who want more creativity and connection in their lives.

I’ve learned that we are all driven to feel fulfilled and valued, and to contribute in a way that that feels personal to us. Not everyone wants to leave the stability of a corporate job, but we can all benefit from being more creative. It nourishes who we are as people and is an expression of ourselves.

Rachel Matthews Writer