Career change stories.
I love them.
I collect them.
Even before I became a coach, I loved asking people how they got to where they got to.
I especially loved hearing about unusual career paths with surprising twists and turns.
By ‘unusual’ I mean, not an athlete who then became a sports coach, but I mean career changes that you and I wouldn’t predict.
Like an opera singer who switched to working in events catering.
I have actually met someone who did this.
Back in one of the summers I was at uni, I was applying to be a casual events waitress at this high end catering company.
At the end of the interview the guy asked me if I had any questions.
I did. (I always do).
I asked him how he ended up at this company and what drew him to it.
“Well you see I was an opera singer”
I did NOT expect that answer.
“And there’s a lot of politics in opera. I’d had enough of it and wanted a change.”
Politics in opera? Well I never.
He went on – “I had experienced a lot of catering because I had to travel and rehearse a lot for work. There was a lot of mediocre catering and only a few instances of good food. I knew I had good taste in food and it could be done a lot better, so that’s where I went to next. It was a natural progression.
When he explained it, I could see how it was natural.
But I bet it wasn’t something his friends or family could advise him on.
He had to work out how to get there himself.
Cue the coach’s cliche motto “the client has all the answers within them”
It’s true though! Sometimes, clients do have the answers within them, and all they need a space to work it out for themselves.
I think it’s important to note that his next step wasn’t to do a cooking course, work in a high end restaurant and wait until he felt he was competent enough at cooking to run a company.
He pivoted to being one of the heads at this company.
I don’t remember his exact job, I think it involved operations and winning new business.
So you see, you don’t have to start at the bottom.
So many career changers that I speak to carry with them the assumption that if they want to start in a new industry, they have to:
- take a big pay cut
- start at the bottom
- get a lot of training and qualifications
- wait years to get to their previous salary
And that’s simply not true.
For some professions it is true (eg. becoming a therapist or a doctor), but not for all.
I tell my clients this all the time: you’ve got a lot more transferrable skills than you think, so don’t assume you’re going to have to start at the bottom — you can negotiate.
It’s all about how you showcase your experience, which actually starts with getting clear on your narrative. Just like our opera guy did.
Want help figuring those out?
Hello, I’m Dina, a straight-talking life and career coach, and I can help you get clear on your life vision and career direction. Here’s how I can help:
- Career Clarity Course – I run a live version with small groups twice a year, and you can also get a self-study version any time of the year
- 1:1 Career Coaching – I have 2 programs for different types of stuck: The Calibration (3 months) and The Transformation (6 months). All you have to do is pick the one for you!
- My Straight-talking Newsletter – this blog came from one of my weekly newsletters so if you like that, hop on into my mailing list and you can get them every Wednesday.