My mother always said when I complained about work – “If a job was the RIGHT work, the RIGHT hours, the RIGHT salary AND makes you happy – they wouldn’t call it WORK.”
She was right – but I’ve since learned that shooting for 3 out of 4 can’t hurt! Who knows? You might get all 4! I know I did and am still pinching myself.
Here’s how it came to be. My story isn’t that unique – nor are the steps – so with any luck, you’ll have the same success!
Arrival at a Crossroads
Like many, my career path has been non-linear. Past lives include journalist, social worker, and corporate communications specialist. In some I loved the work, others the people. In all there was something I didn’t love (no work/life balance, too much politics, too little pay).
For me, the crossroads came during the Great Recession. My husband’s income was reduced drastically and my family had grown (we went for 3 kids and got 4!) I needed to earn money but was struggling to figure out how to be a part of the workforce without losing half my salary on childcare.
For others – the details may be different but the crossroads is the same.
Also read: Career Change is Not Just for the Brave
By following the 4 steps outlined below, my journey took me down a path toward what turned into an unexpected career. One that syncs beautifully with my life as it stands at this moment.
Figure Out What You’re Good At
When I thought long and hard about it, there were 2 things I was good at. I could write. Not creative writing, per se, but I could translate what felt confusing to others into something that anyone could understand and appreciate. In other words, I could transform the complex into compelling.
Secondly, I’m a good listener. I am good at letting others tell me their story, reflect what I’ve heard, and ask questions that make them look at their situation in a different light.
For me, the light bulb moment came when I realized resume writing blended both of my talents. I’d written resumes for years as a favor to friends and colleagues – now it was time to figure out how to monetize the talent.
Figure Out Your Non-Negotiables
Let’s say you want to become a world-class pastry chef. If your non-negotiable is that you can’t leave your hometown and the only way to learn the trade is by relocating – then this is a deal breaker.
Your career aspirations must align with your non-negotiables.
In my case, my job needed to be 100% virtual and allow for 100% scheduling flexibility so that I did not need to pay for childcare. Everyone has deal breakers. Figuring out what yours are will help you to determine if your talents can indeed evolve into a new career.
Test the Waters
Some are daring. Others are nervous nellies. I fall somewhere in the middle. Not ready to dive head first into a career as a full-time resume writer – I chose to test the waters.
This meant contracting as a resume writer with a few companies while continuing to balance my other paid work.
Along the way, I spent hours on professional development. I spent evenings and early mornings listening to webinars, taking online courses and reading books. In the end, I earned two resume writing certifications.
For others, testing the waters may mean holding onto their day job while working extra hours on their new career. It might mean doing some volunteer or pro-bono work in your desired field to see if your dream is viable.
I learned a lot about what might work for me should I ever open my own company, and got the opportunity to write resumes for incredible people from all walks of life. This period gave me the confidence to make it official.
Make it Official
In my case making it official meant severing ties with the contract companies that had given me so much additional experience and making some additional investments – both time and money.
I earmarked funds for a new website and carved out time for regular blogging. I evolved into an expert in my craft published in 8 publications, and have a few thousand followers on various social media sites. In fact, more than 1/3 of my clients find me through my writings.
I work 40+ hours per week – but it is a FLEXIBLE 40. I’m no millionaire, but I make a decent income that has surpassed my dreams for what this career could provide. Most importantly, the job is personally fulfilling in that I help get people back to work or into roles or companies that make them happy.
I am proof that traveling from a crossroads to a satisfying destination is possible – and can result in a career that is the RIGHT work with the RIGHT hours, the RIGHT pay and makes you happy!