Breaking into a new field… how to do it right… or wrong

breaking into a new careerUpdated

It seems that many people are stuck in a profession they don’t like. And also many people don’t have a profession and are afraid to pick one.

Among my students we have both kinds…

Interestingly there is some commonality in the underlying attitudes.

One attitude is something I could call stingy, but it may not be the right word.

The commonality is: I want certainty, guarantees BEFORE I’d do anything.

And it seems that all these people are withholding their power, their energy, their love, their curiosity, their adventurousness by demanding or expecting of the Universe to give them certainty ahead of time.

As an aside: all the ITCH is a demand, a wish for a result, before it’s due. Tell me I am OK, tell me I am loved, respect me, value me, make me feel that I matter, blah blah blah… I see a pattern here… do you?

When I compare that with my attitude, or the attitude of some people who live a life I admire, our attitude of not sparing ourselves stands in sharp contrast to this self-sparing attitude of my students.

I never asked myself if it is worth it. The effort, the trouble, the risk… I considered that I’ll make it worth it. That it is up to me.

And sometimes I did, and other times I didn’t.

Not everything has be worth it right away. Some things become worth it decades later.

I have competed in six sports. All individual. I wasn’t good enough in either, but I find it that your ability for self-awareness is nothing or not much unless you are aware where your body parts are, what is your posture, and how wide is your cone of vision… all of these are literally impossible to activate without some kind of serious sporting activity where you get measured against others, against yourself by someone other than yourself… a coach, a trainer, a teacher.

In addition to competing, I also sailed, rowed, kayaked, climbed trees, pantomimed, danced on stage, competed in banana eating, competed in delivering a speech, competed in being 10 times more excited, competed in leading introductions, competed in singing, etc…

I am not competitive, by the way. Winning means nothing to me other than feedback.

Without these physical experiences I would have never become the true empath and coach I am.

Sometimes we learned one profession but we want to change… or need to change, and it is not that easy…

Here are two examples: one is my own, the other is of student of mine…

In the end I’ll ask for your input… please be generous.

After I came to the USA, I worked as an architect for about 30 months.

First I scoured the help wanted ads, and went on an interview with a prestigious Midtown Manhattan firm. They were impressed with me, my experience, and hired me on the spot with a salary that was four, nearly five times higher than what I made in Israel.

On my way out I passed pictures of their completed projects and realized that this job would have no integrity for me: I would be ashamed to say I was part of those projects. So I went back and told them…

I worked for half of that money for the rest of the 30 months, but at least I had integrity… by that time I learned that without integrity nothing works. Integrity between me and myself.

Then I was fired because I could not lie to cover up some scam… doesn’t matter why.

personal-skills-inventory-templateIt was time to start something new. I was 40 years old, and penniless. No family, no savings, no government support. I had one thing I invested in months earlier when I had a temp job: I did a really good job there, and I did it with enthusiasm and energy. That company asked me for 2-3 days work of job every month for the next 6-7 months, and that is how I paid my bills, that is how I could eat. Rice, beans, calves’ heart. That was my diet… about two dollars a day, $60 a month.

I did the skill-finding exercise from the What Color Is Your Parachute book, and it helped me find direction: I saw that my skills and my pleasure were converging around putting ink on paper (writing, drawing, design) and communicating.

I decided that publishing magazines is a good match to “putting ink on paper and communicate”, so I applied to two local rags, Pennysavers, for a job.

But while I did that, I also apprenticed with a printer, designed ads, wrote ads… I learned and practiced the skills I thought would be useful for the new field I was attempting to break into. I did all that for free. Eight hours a day. Much like college students do… like an intern, except I didn’t do it for the credits, I did it as an investment in myself, to learn a skill, some familiarity with the new territory.

Since then I learned that Lao Tzu, three thousand years ago, said: Do what’s difficult when it’s easy.

I was jobless… and instead of hanging out, I used the time to add tools to my tool box. I had a direction, and I needed tools so when I got to the place where I do the “publishing” whatever that was, I would have some tools.

I got hired first by one, then by the other little magazine to sell advertising for them with local businesses.

In those jobs, in addition to going to businesses during the day, I volunteered to do work at night, work I wasn’t paid for. I delivered magazines once they were printed. I helped put the magazine issues together, articles, ads, together. I volunteered to write Dining Reviews. I learned awful lot about using language in a way that people would want to try what I was talking about… the food. lol.

joannas-flower-diagramBoth companies hired me as advertising sales person.

That is not what I had had in mind, that was a skill I had no experience in, but I accepted the positions. You start where you can… I know many CEOs who started in the mail room or as a janitor… so why not.

I’d also met another architect in Germany in 1980, who sold advertising for the Yellow Pages. This is how he sustained himself between architectural assignments… And I remember respecting him for it, not mentioning the fact that I was infatuated with him…

shapeimage_1Now, I am sharing this with you because a student of mine wants to work in the hospitality business… and the only job she has been offered is “corporate sales”.

Shall I support her taking that job?

If it had been me: I would not have taken the job.

Taking an advertising sales job, where you go from one store to the next, create relationship with them, help them set up their ad, watch for the results with them… that was closer to “putting ink on paper and communicate” than any “corporate sales”, dealing with people who are just doing a job, but don’t have any vested interest in the outcome… Just a job.

Can’t stand it. Can’t stand people who do jobs like that. Orwell’s 1984 for me…

My student is shy, and very self-conscious of what people think of her.

What do you think? Can you offer some suggestions?

Another client also wants to move to a new field. She picked computer programming, IT, or something in the ‘tech’ area.  She has been flying blind until recently, when she sought out and has been talking to a dude who can serve as an advisor to her.

Just like in all my activities where I learned useful skills I had someone to assess my performance, she did the right choice. The dude, hopefully, won’t bs her and she will have some reality in her self-assessment… and finally will succeed.

PS: I help people do the skill finder exercise, and then the narrowing down what they could do that they would be good at and have a good time, one-on-one, in writing, with select people. The price is $15 a week. Email me if you want to know what are your portable/transferrable skills. Coaching with voice is not really available.

PPS: What holds you back is mostly stinginess. Being stingy is based on false economy. You can’t hold onto anything… It’s all in a day’s work. When the day passes your account empties. Energy you don’t use won’t be available the next day…. in fact, just like with batteries, next day you’ll have less to give…

I realized with my Kindle that the factory setting is more than an hour reading before the battery is even close to empty. So this stinginess is everywhere…

The only non-renewable resource is your time. Unless you make it enrich you, you live an impoverished life. Make your time on earth count… build something, build yourself. That is your job.

PPPS: I do recommend that you find out, with the skill-finder exercises what it is you have aptitude/skills for, and what you enjoy doing. Where those two meet is where you should be looking for a new career.

There are not many books published on the topic…

PPPPS: here is a graphic showing what new skills you need to cultivate if you want to become a marketer. Among other things, my job requires me to be somewhat of a marketer…

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Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

True empath, award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

7 thoughts on “Breaking into a new field… how to do it right… or wrong”

  1. I just noticed that there is an important principle I didn’t mention.

    Changing careers is like innovation… innovation builds on something that works, true and tried.

    I was already good at designing, because I have two degrees in architecture. I was already good and experienced in writing… I had proven it through the countless pieces everyone asked me to write to accompany their projects, because… well, I knew how to write, fast, about any topic.
    I was good at talking to people, I was enrolling and persuasive. I had proven it in Landmark with hundreds of enrollments under my belt.

    So I didn’t go to a completely empty space: I went and took my strong skills… and that’s why I was successful, making a splash with a magazine of my own for eleven years, until I got too sick to continue.

  2. Hmm sales for a shy person.. it may feel like hell.. or it may be a great skill to master and come in use later in life.

    Is the shyness a fear of speaking to people?

    Does she really listen to what the other person needs? If yes, she could be a success in it.

    Can she try it for a year.. then see…

  3. Are hospitality and sales enrollment phenomena? Aren’t they both in some way about projecting oneself into the needs and concerns of another? The question might not be sales versus another position in hospitality, but shyness in the context of the hospitality industry as a whole.

    Isn’t sales way of finding out the needs of your customer and making a promise to fulfill those needs? A common thread might be making someone feel well-attended to and well taken care of.

    I can see that taking care of someone after they walk in your door is different than getting them to walk in the door in the first place. With the right attitude it might be possible to view a sales position as a real learning (and growth) opportunity.

    Maybe she could treat it as an experiment, and let the company in on that. She can tell them that she doesn’t think she is well-suited to sales but that she’s willing to try for three months because she wants to explore her passion for the hospitality industry.

  4. My 2 cents: what if she takes the corporate sales job to really see if it is, in fact, a job that she could bring what she enjoys about hospitality to sales. Perhaps this is a stretch, but, from what I have read, there is a person behind every corporate position. And maybe bringing the same empathy that is appreciated in hospitality to the sales position could possibly be rewarding from that angle.

  5. This article is old… and the person in this article now lives (or is) in Thailand… She reads my articles, but hasn’t let me know what’s going on.

    Are you giving advice that you would not follow? Just asking…

    OH, thank you for those videos, I am in the process of posting them… almost ready.

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