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

breaking into a new careerSometimes we learned one profession but we want to change... and it is not that easy...

Here are two examples: one is my own, the other is a 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.

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.

I did the skill finding exercise from the What Color Is Your Parachute, and it helped me to find direction: putting ink on paper and communicate.

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 before I did that, I apprenticed with a printer, designed ads, wrote ads... I practiced the skills I thought were useful for the new field I was attempting to break into.

joannas-flower-diagramBoth companies were willing to hire me as an advertising sales person.

That is not what I had in mind, 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.

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?

PS: I do this work, one-on-one, in writing, with select people. The price is $100. Email me if you want to know what are your portable skills. Coaching with voice: $25/15 minutes... Probably 300-400 dollars, if you are good and coachable.