Jordan Wyllie recently started as an Executive Assistant at our new 3 More London office. Previously Jordan worked as a professional dancer, before switching to teaching dancing alongside working at IQ-EQ. Here she tells us more about her experience as a professional dancer, and the experience of switching her career.
I have worked as professional dancer for the past 8 years, in various locations such as in Canada, Qatar, Japan and China. Throughout my time as a professional dancer, I also had the opportunity to work as a dance model in major publications throughout North America. I was also able to work as a choreographer and adjudicator at dance competitions and pageants. In addition to working as a dancer, I slowly began to transition more and more into teaching. My knowledge and passion for dance instruction developed into a love of dance fitness, which allowed me to not only teach dancers, but also non-dancers. I now work as a dance-fitness instructor both privately and through gyms around London.
Why were you interested in a career change?
I’ve really only ever been interested in dance my whole life. It occupied all my time growing up after school and on weekends, and almost every one of my family trips were not really ‘trips’ at all – they were dance competitions or conventions! I was very fortunate to be able to go to university to continue to study dance. I worked very hard and was able to have a career in the performing arts which I adored, but I also made sure that my career allowed me to travel which had always been a huge dream of mine. I had an opportunity to move away from dancing professionally and move to London, also a long-time dream, so I took it. I sadly had been dealing with an injury that was making it very difficult to continue dancing full-time, so it sort of pushed me to start to look at other career paths. I love being around people and creating relationships with people from around the world. I knew that I wanted to work in an industry that could lead to travel opportunities long term. In the position I hold now, I’m able to work in a more corporate setting 9-5, and then still teach during the evenings and weekends which is an amazing way to have a great work/life balance. I do hope to progress in my career to hopefully (post-covid) have more travel opportunities and to build more relationships with others worldwide.
What skills from your former roles do you believe were transferable?
I feel like being a performer has given me so many transferable skills that I think most people wouldn’t really think of! Being a performer you HAVE to be great at time management and multi-tasking. In rehearsals and especially in performances, anything can happen at the drop of a hat and you have to be prepared. Not only do you need to be ready for change and the unexpected, but you have to do it with a smile! I also believe that knowing how to perform on stage really does help with working in a front of house role. Sometimes you are dealing with a lot behind the scenes, but you still have to appear cool, calm, collected and positive on the outside.
Did you have to overcome any challenges?
I think the biggest challenge for me is honestly the interview process. I had never really had to interview for a position before – with performing it’s always an audition. I loved auditioning! But wow it’s so different. Instead of showcasing my dancing talents, my performing abilities and any special tricks, in an interview I really had to use my voice and conversational skills to get my points across. It has been really nerve-racking in a way I didn’t expect! In auditions you rarely speak as you really only have to say your name! Interviewing has taught me a lot in that it is an audition in a way, you really need to be able to be confident in your skills and past experiences and you need to sell yourself on those attributes.
What do you like about your current role in IQ-EQ?
Well in all fairness I think my role will feel a lot different once I’m in the office and we are (hopefully) out of lockdown! It’ll be great once things are a bit more ‘normal’ and I’m able to meet everyone. I do love meeting lots of new people over the phone or through email though and being able to be a point of contact if anyone needs help.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in changing careers?
I think it’s important to do what feels right TO YOU. It can be hard to transition from something you know and love, because that is what you feel like you’re good at it and comfortable and trying something new is always really scary because there is potential to fail. But I think that life is much too short not to try something new! And you can always ease into a new career – like myself, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to not dance at all, I love it too much! That’s why I still teach and make sure to keep dance a part of my life. I think the best piece of advice I could give to someone thinking of switching careers would be to look at what you value, what interests you the most and what your skills are. From there you’re able to narrow down what type of careers you can use your strengths and cater to your interests the best.