Almost a decade ago, I was on the brink of graduating with my MA in Literary Studies. Not long after I did, a friend recommended my thesis support to an acquaintance of her. I assure you, at that point, I did not even know I was offering it! Long story short, that was my starting point of opening up to the idea of beginning my own company. I did, years after that. With the support of my part-time job at the theatre, I felt financially safe. With the knowledge I gained in the intermediate years, I felt intellectually secure to start Scriptiewijzer.
A dear friend designed my logo and my website, a dear colleague became my first client, and just a typed memo at the university hall brought in my following clients. I had four clients in my first year, and my mindset decided how I felt about that throughout time. If I thought company-wise, it was not a booming business (yet). Though, if I realized that these people confided in me and were willing to work with me, I felt grateful. I earned money with my own company, which made the latter mindset win. Even when I, again and again, received the question from others: ‘How many clients do you already have?’ I had to learn that it was not about quantity but quality. To my relief, the number of clients kept growing over the years, and I also started other companies. Requests from PhDs initiated Progress your PhD, and questions from thesis students on what to do after graduating started buro dijkstra.
Throughout the years, many opportunities crossed my path, like lecturing at the RUG Honours College. Every year I look forward to teaching these students about the concept of Finding your Place: how to find that safe place within this world where you feel in command. That safe space where you feel empowered, feel a sense of direction, and where you can act authentically. A concept that is also always explored in my coaching sessions. Another beautiful opportunity each year is being a coach at the VentureLab Weekend, in which teams of students may work on turning an idea into a working business concept. I help them to become aware of the strengths of their product and their team. Taking their strengths into account enables them to deliver a solid pitch at the end of the weekend. Another chance I want to highlight is becoming an external confidential advisor for companies. This job taught me many things about the interaction and relations between people and their companies. By learning to understand these kinds of systems and structures, I can help others make more autonomous steps and grow professionally and personally.
These opportunities became safe spaces to discuss my lines of thought with stimulating people, share insights, clarify challenging situations, and convert knowledge into practical steps forward. It empowered me. The development and growth of my company, though, most came from my clients. All new applicants gave me the chance to grow as a coach and as a person. Each new academic allowed me to dive into new topics, start reading about the issues they face, and examine these matters with my supervisor. That is how I learn, grow and become a better coach every single day. It also helped me discover my route; their suggestions reconciled my thoughts and eventually changed my course. And their themes encouraged me to adjust, innovate, and extent my coaching. That makes my work a motivational and exciting journey, constantly discovering new paths and perspectives. I use my curiosity, love of stories, and knowledge to challenge academics to grow. Their answers, their subjects, and their experiences dare me to develop.
All these expeditions guided me towards taking this step: becoming Academic Career Coach. It summarizes six years of development, creating and starting new things, gaining experience in coaching academics career-wise, networking, reading numerous books, and the two-weekly supervision sessions to grow personally and professionally. This new name and website express precisely the coaching I offer: I make you aware of your unique talents and interests, and I encourage you to use them to set or reach your goals. So, I believe that knowing and understanding who you are will enable you to find your place in life and work.
I want to thank those who confided in me, supported me, shared their knowledge, and last but not least, those who chose to work with me. I am profoundly grateful and full of energy to continue my path as the Academic Career Coach; care to join me?
Feel attention. Take action. Be authentic.