Taking on a whole new career shift can be scary especially if you’re venturing into something that’s far from your comfort zone. You just don’t know what to expect! Then there are times where life gets in the way and puts your career on hold – like getting retrenched or a life-threatening injury. Getting back on your feet may seem scary, especially if you’re at rock bottom but hey it’s been done before! Take cue from these inspiring stories.
Vanessa De Luca
The now editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine was 30 when she realised that being a retail store manager wasn’t for her. Starting from scratch is something that most people would avoid when taking the next step in their career but that’s exactly what De Luca did.
She bravely took on a job as an editorial assistant at Glamour magazine, a role mostly for newbies and not 30-somethings. She knew she had to make an impression in her new role and that she did, being promoted three times in the course of two years and now, leading a magazine herself.
Her tip? “Don’t be so arrogant to think that you know everything because you don’t… when you’re older, you can share your wisdom but you can also learn a lot from the folks you’re surrounded by every day.”
Founder and Chief Nerd at Break Into Tech (a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job) Jeremy Schifeling didn’t have a tech start. In fact, he was a kindergarten teacher in New York. In his teaching role, Schifeling would use tech as part of his working life: He would create a class blog, offer tech support plus teach kids how to make videos.
One day, his colleague nudged him telling him that he shouldn’t even be in school! And so he quit his job to follow his passion for tech. But it didn’t come easy to him. It took him years to land roles he would be proud of: An internship at Apple, an executive at a VC-backed startup, working in LinkedIn and now running his own site Break Into Tech.
His advice? Don’t be someone you’re not. “Thinking that my initial career in education would be a major turn-off to tech employers, I tried to make it disappear by writing the most conservative, boring applications possible.” Schifeling only got his big break at Apple after embracing his non-tech background, using it as an advantage to stand out from the crowd.
From becoming a paralegal to a front end engineer, Jenn Creighton’s story is one where straying from your comfort zone is what will eventually lead you to your future. Her background? A Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing, and a Master’s in digital communications.
She actually learned to code at 14 but put a halt to that passion in pursuit of something she was naturally good at – writing. She graduated with a degree in English but because of the 2008 economic crisis, she landed a job as a paralegal at an intellectual property law firm instead.
The main thing she took from a career in law was that she didn’t want a career in law. And so she made her career change and became a Web Content Manager where she began coding again. Through self-learning and courses at community colleges she began to get better at it. So much so that she eventually landed a more technical role.
Which she actually turned down in the first place, worried that she didn’t have the right skills. But guess what – the company was more than willing to take her under their wing and give her the right training!
“Getting the first job, having some legitimacy was a major point in correcting that spiralling path. I had a better idea of how to get where I wanted to go,”
“I hope if you’re making the transition too, and finding that the path curves round and round, you know there’s a way to get out of it. You just need keep going.” Words of advice from Jenn.
From the pinnacle of the sporting world to rock bottom. Tiger was the youngest ever winner of a Masters tournament at age 21. After dominating the world golfing scene for over a decade, the golfing icon’s career was marred with injuries and a scandal that ultimately caused him his marriage.
During his hiatus from the sport, Woods fell from 1st in the world to 1,193rd.
After his fourth back surgery, Tiger reported “I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit, couldn’t lay down. I really couldn’t do much of anything,” and the golfing world was in doubt that they’d ever see Tiger Woods again.
A year after the back surgery, Tiger got back to competing and won his first tournament in five years. The Masters was next.
Despite winning the tournament 4 times before, bookmakers had Woods behind four others to win. It was close but Tiger managed to win his fifth Masters by just one stroke ahead of three runner ups!
“To have the opportunity to come back like this, it is probably one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had, for sure.”
Whatever it is holding you back, know that you can beat it and not just get your career back on track but bring your career to new heights!
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash