Everyone remembers their first jobs. Rod Stewart was a gravedigger. Whoopi Goldberg was a sex phone operator. Sylvester Stallone cleaned lion cages at the Central Park Zoo. Brad Pitt, dressed as a chicken, handed out flyers for Hollywood restaurant El Pollo Loco. Warren Buffett worked in retail, first at his grandfather’s grocery store and then later at J.C. Penney. All of these successful people probably would agree that their later career choices were more satisfying and lucrative.
Today, the average person will change careers at least once. Personal finance website The Balance claims the average person will change jobs 10-15 times, often spending five years or less in each job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals born between 1957-1964 held an average 11.7 jobs between 18 and 48, with women holding nearly as many jobs as men. People born in the 1960s to 1980s averaged two job changes by age 32. Frequently “changed” job sectors include media/entertainment, government, nonprofits, law, and marketing.
People consider career changes for many reasons. Your life may have changed. You might need more balance or work-life flexibility. Maybe the outlook for your current career is not so sunny. Some experience job burnout from work that’s too stressful or a boss that’s too demanding. You may be bored and looking for a little more excitement. Perhaps, you’re driven by money or you want a job that “makes a difference.” No matter your motivation, you should know that there are many people enjoying new careers the second time around.
Making a Difference — From Teaching to Nonprofits
Jonathan Foret was a middle school teacher in New York City, when he expanded to “give back” to the world. Joining the Peace Corps, he moved to the South Pacific, where this “life-changing” experience forced him to “understand how to navigate cultural differences.”
Foret’s altruism has turned into a career managing nonprofits in Louisiana. After the Peace Corps, he began working as Executive Director for various nonprofit organizations, working with Boards of Directors to foster their visions. Currently, the Executive Director for the Wetlands Discovery Center, he runs the day to day operations, including developing programs and fundraising. His advice for career changers? “Follow your bliss. Find out what truly makes you happy… and go live there,” says Foret. “If you don’t wake up excited each day, you should think about doing something else!”
Turning Business Skills into Your Own Company
Brianna Berner is an organized person. After growing tired of the bickering and craziness in a family business, she decided to use her experience as Master Planner for a drapery manufacturer to her advantage. New mom, Berner started two websites, SpikedParenting.com and OrganizedFixology.com. “I blog at SpikedParenting where I help mom bosses be more organized, more productive, and choose products to help them rock all aspects of their busy lives,” says Berner. “I am a professional organizer and productivity coach at Organized Fixology.”
I opened my own business to enjoy the freedom,” says Berner. “The main obstacle I’ve found is that a lot of people don’t know we exist! Learning the whole business side has been challenging. Numbers are my weakness,” she admits. Berner believes your passion can become your business. “There will never be a perfect time to do it. You just have to take a leap of faith and trust yourself to land on your own two feet. It may not be easy, but if you’re doing what you love, it will always be worth it.”
Changing Industries Means Changing Focus
Jeri Dayle Rabinowitz enjoyed a 30-year career as an advertising copywriter. Changes prompted by technology and the economy resulted in agencies downsizing. “I kept looking for new ways to use my communication skills, creativity and knowledge of ‘the art of persuasion,’” says Rabinowitz. Five years ago, she found the perfect fit — a product demonstrator. “I really enjoy bonding with people, learning about them, and finding ways to connect their needs to a product.”
“When you try something new it takes a while to test your wings and build your confidence,” says Rabinowitz. “Take stock of your skills. Think about your strengths. If you’re not sure how they match up, use a career site like Glassdoor to help figure it out. Don’t be afraid to step outside your safety zone.”
Great advice for embarking on the second phase of your life’s adventure.
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title for more information.
Second Act Careers
by Nancy Collamer, MS
Websites and Videos
How Often Do People Change Jobs? – The Balance
Career change is the new normal of working – Stacy Rapacon, CNBC.com
The New Normal: 4 Job Changes By The Time You’re 32 – CNN[Money]
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