Michael Leigh started looking through telescopes as an 8 year old and his interest in astronomy stayed with him in the form of a lifelong hobby. After losing his job as vice president in a manufacturing plant, Leigh took temporary employment with a telescope manufacturer, while making plans to run a bed-and-breakfast with his wife. The Observer’s Inn, located in Julian, California is designed for star gazing, with a private observatory that Leigh built by hand with a friend. In reading Leigh’s story, we’re struck by how one’s interests and passions, when nourished over the years, can germinate and come forth in unexpected ways. Kudos to Leigh for creating a new career he loves and for sharing his sense of wonder with others.
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem
For a person who is totally changing fields and going to school for the new field, how do you recommend changing your resume so you can begin working in your new career even though you don’t have experience yet? For example, I’m going to school for computer networking but have done different work up to now.
Resumes are indeed an art and while you certainly do not want to lie, it is perfectly fine to play up different areas even though it may be a bit of a stretch. So, in your case, you might look back over your work history and note where you did anything with computers at various jobs you’ve held. You can emphasize your past experience in a different way. For example, say you worked in retail but used the computer for inventory days and were in charge of maintaining weekly reports on-line. Since it wasn’t the primary responsibility of your job, you might not immediately think to mention it, however now that you want to highlight your computer expertise, you could also mention that you were in charge of electronic data collection. It’s important to remain truthful and the point is to direct the person reading your resume to what you want to do now. We know of one individual who obtained a job that was triple his former pay after sprucing up his resume and re-finessing his job title from Librarian to Information Management Specialist.
As you update your resume, make sure it demonstrates the level of professionalism that has followed you throughout your career. Also, anything you can do in your new field right now while you’re studying —even if it’s non-paid— will show experience.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” Rumi
It was too serious, back-to-back car accidents that caused Neda DeMayo to ask herself “What if I won the lotto… What if I had all the money I ever needed – what would I do with my life?” Posing that question resulted in Neda’s decision to leave her career as a costume designer and wardrobe stylist and create Return to Freedom, a non-profit that provides safe haven for relocated wild horses and burros. Protecting horses was a long-deferred dream from Neda’s childhood. Once she decided to pursue her goal, Neda conducted three years of research and planning, as well as “plenty of second-guessing”. Once the sanctuary was operational, Neda encountered various challenges and even prayed that the desire be taken away from her. “But my passion drove me forward.”
Now, 13 years later, she encourages others to “just get started” with their unfulfilled goals. “I think when it’s a dream that won’t go away, you owe it to yourself to pursue it and be committed.” She says: “As challenging as it is – and it’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever had – it’s the most rewarding experience of my life.”
Today’s question is one we’re often asked and is answered by: Ginny Kravitz, Deputy Editor.
How long does it usually take for someone to transition to a new career?
Once you have identified the new direction in which you’d like to take your career, the transition may take anywhere from six months to a few years, depending on your specific situation and how big of a change you’re making. The typical experience is probably in the 6-24 month range. If you’re the type of person who takes a long-term view and is, for example, planning to retire from one career and begin another, then you might create a 3-5 year plan. More often, though, once you’ve identified your new direction, momentum will build on its own and change may very well happen sooner than expected. So, the answer is that it’s shorter for some and longer for others. Some people take more gradual steps and others take big leaps. Often, an interim move may be the bridge. One thing is for certain: Once you commit to a new direction, create a plan, and start taking consistent action, change happens.
“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” Jerry Gillies
The number one reason that people do not follow their heart when it comes to the work they would most love to do is money. There are mortgages and educations to pay for and practical wins out over ideal most of the time. What if that conventional wisdom was false? What if the pull of what you really wanted to do was so strong, that the force of your desire creates a vacuum that brings money into the fold as well?
What most people forget is that doing something new may very well mean a financial set back, but it does not have be permanent. You will grow and advance in the new thing. Money will grow.
I can think of two clients in particular who despite gaining sharp clarity about what was next for them professionally, did not move in their new directions because of money concerns. I’ll have you know that within a handful of years, each of them were in the profession they had yearned for and money was working out just fine. Their ‘sure thing’ had become less sure and suddenly, they had nothing to lose by following their ideal, heart-based professional path.
One of these folks was a man who despite having a fledgling headhunter business, chose not to move into teaching. Today, he is a happy, popular teacher with a Facebook Fan Page created by his students. The other was a woman who had a strong philanthropic bent but worked in banking. One meant little money and one meant plenty. She eventually found her way to the non-profit world and is happy and satisfied, making it work financially.
Sometimes, it takes having no other choice to really follow what you are meant to be doing, but life would be easier if we made the choice while it was still a CHOICE. The money does work itself out. A spouse might start doing better or you ‘luck’ into a break in your housing costs through refinance or an inheritance or perhaps you change locations and the money and lifestyle come together in a harmonious blend.
The hard truth is that there is no certainty. You may think you are choosing the ‘safe’ way by staying put, but for how long will it stay safe?
Stepping out into the abyss of the unknown in the name of what feels right even if you are also fearful, allows the floor to come up to meet you.
It can’t always be terra firma that you leap to.
Can you change the way you think about money to allow your new direction to come to be? Think about that. Write about that. See what new possibilities emerge.
LOOK for more on this topic in Laura’s upcoming book “The Prosperity Plan” (January 2011) or check out Chapter Eight of “Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction” (Tarcher-Penguin) Available on Amazon.
Today’s question was submitted by a website designer in Randolph, New Jersey and answered by: Ginny Kravitz, Deputy Editor.
Question: What if I don’t have a “thing”? What happens if I’m not able to identify my purpose?
The desire to find “your thing” and fulfill your purpose in life can start off well-intended but when too much pressure is added to the mix, you can wind up frustrated. It’s true that being able to articulate your purpose, the essence of who you are, – what we call Life Blueprint® in the Now What? Program – brings joy and is an extraordinarily helpful lens from which to view your life and make decisions. It’s also true that your purpose finds you. And that’s great news. Just by living your life with a heightened awareness of what you’re passionate about and what brings you joy, your purpose will find you.
Is taking a focused approach to discovering your purpose even worth it? Well yes, here at Now What we think so. What’s important though, is to enter into that process giving yourself room for discovery vs. trying to force an answer. Ironically, this will help you find it more easily. So on your search for PURPOSE with a capital P, simply notice what brings meaning and purpose on a smaller scale, every day. This raising of your awareness will influence what you see, the decisions you make, and the opportunities that come your way.
Everyone who walks this planet –including you– has unique talents and qualities that the world needs.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” Maya Angelou