A change of career by Vida Woods

A milestone birthday and a longing for a career change, was the motivation Vida Woods needed to take that step into becoming an acupuncturist. Here, she tells us more about taking that leap.

Approaching my 30th birthday was the final straw that made me actively do something practical to change my working life.  Sick of those Sunday evening blues, I’d had enough of dreaming and wishing for a better life for myself.  It was time to crack on and make it happen.

I knew I was on the wrong career path.

I somewhat fell into a career in financial services and investments after leaving university with a degree in Business and Spanish.  It was further from anything I’d considered, or planned, before. I’m sure my accounting lecturer would have laughed aloud had he known where I’d ended up!

Although I was advancing within the corporate world with elements I did enjoy, my heart just wasn’t in it. 

I wanted more from life; I wanted to love going to work every day.

Having been treated with acupuncture since my teens, it was something I was familiar with and would always return to when going through various health issues.  As a people person, I loved the one-on-one relationship I had with my practitioner, the in-depth discussions we had and of course, the benefits of treatment as a whole.

Working in a healing environment attracted me to becoming an acupuncturist.

I began my route to acupuncture by studying part-time, while still working. I balanced two days at college and three days in the office Monday to Friday.

As I already had a degree, I wasn’t eligible for a student loan.  Working at the same time enabled me to pay for my acupuncture course, which meant I completed it without any debts.  This was a huge bonus.

I was living two very different lives throughout the week.  It could have been easy to fall into the trap of worrying about how I was going to manage to do both of them well, as decreasing my performance level wasn’t an option. 

At work I had a team and clients who needed me, with tough deadlines and the expectation that I would continue to perform as usual.   To combat this, I made a conscious decision to compartmentalise my two roles as a student and employee. 

Wherever I was during the day, I was there fully and completely in mind and body. 

I was strict with myself about finishing work on time and not bringing my laptop home in the evenings.  It wasn’t easy, but I managed it and setting boundaries with colleagues from day one certainly helped. Being organised and good at planning helped too, especially when it came to coursework, clinical observations and revision.  I never left things to the last minute. I didn’t have the time.

The acupuncture study could, at times, be all-consuming, but this was because I loved it so much.

It’s not always easy studying whilst holding down a job. I’m thankful, though, that I have a supportive husband who was there to keep me motivated whenever I had essay deadlines, exam prep, or busy times at work.

I handed my notice in the day after I graduated as an acupuncturist! 

It took me about a year to build up my practice to the number of patients I was happy with, working from both a holistic beauty clinic, close to home and, at the same time, at another multi-disciplinary clinic nearby. 

There were days when I wondered where these new patients would come from, but it happened.  Knowing I was doing the right thing kept me looking at my path in a positive way. Support from my mentor and fellow graduates also really helped.

I enjoy empowering individuals to be responsible for their own health and journey through life.

In our Western society, we spend too much time rushing around. We’re constantly tired, multi-tasking, tied to technology and worrying about all manner of things. With all this juggling in our daily lives we suppress our emotions and neglect our well-being. We rarely allow enough time in our day to just breathe.

As an acupuncturist, I get to spend proper quality time with individuals.

I’m here to listen, witness the healing power of acupuncture, treat mind, body and spirit with a range of modalities and see individuals grow into the best version of themselves.  It’s a complete honour. I feel humbled and grateful to hear people’s stories and witness their transitions.  I’m there with them through tough times, through loss and hardship, but I also get to witness times of pure joy, exhilaration and change.

There is always something new to learn, including about myself.

I love both the complexities and the simplicities of Chinese medicine; the never-ending expanse of knowledge that I will continue to gain throughout my career as a practitioner. 

Being self-employed allows me to be fully responsible for myself, whilst being flexible.  Yes, it means I don’t get paid when I’m on holiday or if I’m unwell, but if this is the only downfall, I can honestly say I’m in an extremely fortunate position.

I get the best of both worlds as a mum and as a practitioner.

I now work two and a half days a week and look after my daughter for the remainder of the time.  This balance is ideal for me, giving me the best of both worlds.  I’ve set aside more time for structured professional development this year, ranging from tuina (Chinese bodywork) for menstrual and fertility issues to paediatric shonishin (Japanese acupuncture for children).  The multi-disciplinary clinic is busy and I’m just about to start at a brand-new clinic even closer to home. 

I’m incredibly happy with the way things have worked out for me.  With the right mind set and support, I believe it is possible to change your career path and if you’re thinking of becoming an acupuncturist, do it! With the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (CICM), this is not only a possibility, it’s a reality. I can’t thank the college enough for the invaluable support and encouragement I received.

Find out more about Vida Woods on her website: http://www.vidawoodsacupuncture.com

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