Career How To: Insights from a successful career changer

One of the best ways to succeed at something new is to learn from someone who’s already done it. 

I’m excited to share the career change success story of a young woman who moved into a new field within her current employer.  Her story represents one of the key tenets of career change, “Start where you are.”

Late last year she started reaching out to those in the position she wanted and one person led her to another.  She used the insights she gained in these informational interviews to define and articulate her transferable skills.  Those got her the desired job despite not having the full technical background.  In fact, her new team is very supportive!  Read more on her story below and get inspired to make your own career change a reality…

Q: What career/job did you start in?
A: I started in corporate advisory – providing market intelligence to corporate bond issuers in the High Yield Market space.

Q:What career/job are you doing today?
A: I’m in product development – creating solutions for the web-based application that services the syndicated loan market.

Q: How long did the transition take?
A: The transition took 6 months in total: 4 months of networking to obtain the new position and 2 months of transitioning into my new role.

Q: What was the greatest obstacle you overcame and how did you do it?
A: Emotional investment in my previous team. I felt like I helped build that team – establish its first class reputation.  And departing from the known was initially scary. It became more emotionally draining when my old boss didn’t take the news well.

Q: How much greener is the grass?  Are you happier?
A: I’m most definitely happier – the work environment is better – it is very collaborative. I don’t feel like this position consumes me like my previous one did.   I feel much more centered.

Q: How did you lifestyle and finances change with this transition?
A: My lifestyle is calmer. I no longer feel like the success of the team relies solely on my shoulders largely because I’m the newbie and everyone plays a role to make the product releases a success. I start an hour earlier but get to leave at 5p and that has given me the opportunity to take care of things after work as opposed to leaving the office after 7 or 8pm regularly because I constant had to check others’ work. Financially, I got an incremental pay raise with the agreement that I would be eligible for the maximum bonus if my performance is above average.

Q: Do you see career the same as you did before this change?
A: No, I have a positive and strategic outlook on my career. I feel confident now that I can transition roles and industries even sooner than before because I now know how to position and convey my value proposition to other employers.

Q: Do you find work exhausts you or excites you now that you made a change?
A: Excites me!   The learning curve is expected to be 6-8 months but since the application and consumer’s needs/desires are always evolving, it seems like it will be a stimulating learning experience for the most part.

Q: Do you feel like you’ve captured the elements of your ideal career?
A: Perhaps not all but definitely more – I have the ability to exercise my creativity on a more frequent basis and travel to visit clients.

Q: Do you feel you could have done this on your own or did you get value from being coached through the process?

A: I most definitely see value in being coached through the process. Often times we need an extra push and sounding board – someone who can recognize and extract from our interactions what our true desires and abilities are, even if they’re not explicitly expressed. The encouragement Maggie (my coach) game me to make use of my transitional skills to make myself more appealing was incredibly helpful – a departure from how I was previously approaching my job search. Before I would get discouraged by the job title and not apply because I didn’t think I would be hired for that job because it was too different from what I was doing. I wasn’t positioning myself as valuable with transferable skills that could be utilized across many industries/jobs.  Also, I appreciated the encouragement from Maggie to not be so narrowly focused or short sighted, but to rather think of the ultimate position I want to hold one day and work backwards by taking roles that will help me get there.

It can seem daunting to make a career change but my hope is that by reading this success story,  you can see a career change is possible for you too.  I believe we each possess a unique core genius that is meant to serve (and better) the world.  Given that, it’s urgent and important to find our way onto a career path that suits our talents and interests.  I’d be happy to support you with coaching just like I did this young woman.

For more success stories, check out this podcast on Following the Wise Guidance of Your Heart in Career Decisions and stay tuned for a special success story feature in my September episode of “Making a Living with Maggie”.

Always follow your dreams!


(Image courtesy of Tyler Waite.)

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