Career Changes


A good friend of mine—who has a successful career in Human Resources with a Fortune 50 company on the east coast—just sent me this note.

Have been giving serious thought to a change in direction in about 18 months. Absolutely nothing to do with HR. Maybe writing. Maybe something else.

Wow. My friend is known for transforming HR departments and working with C-level executives to attain higher levels of performance. He is amazing. He has a killer, killer resume. I am jealous of his skills. Seriously. He could go anywhere, but after twenty years in the human capital industry, he is exhausted. I don’t blame him. A career in writing, especially one where you hang out with your animals all day and think about concepts bigger than yourself, is much more fun.

Gavin Davis wrote an article called How to Make a Career Change on Recruitingblogs. He created a five-point plan on how to make a big change in your life, and it’s a very tactical way to look at the steps needed to adjust your career profession.

Gavin’s article is worth reading, but I think we mistake a desire to change our careers with a desire to find deeper meaning in our lives. Many of us hate our careers for legitimate reasons, but what we hate more is the lack of balance, the demands on our personal time, and the unequal way we’re compensated for work. I’m not a hippie, but if you spend your day focused on a job & a career at the expense of other important things in life, you will go postal. So what if we kept our day jobs—or some semblance of employment—and focused on the things that matter most in life?

  • You can be a writer and a Human Capital leader. I know this because I blogged for three years before I left my job and started my career as a freelance writer.
  • You can be an artist and a computer programmer.
  • You can work as an accountant during the day and play in a band in the evenings.

You can work for a Fortune 50 company and set some boundaries. You can have personal balance. You can say no more often than you perceive.

But if you are truly intent on changing your life and you’re not a Human Capital leader who makes plenty of money, I have important advice for you: stop buying stuff. Go to work and bank your cash. While you’re at work, practice your new career on the sly. When you leave your job, prepare yourself for an exhausting ride on the change curve.

Changing careers can be done, but I speak from experience when I say that it’s not for the faint of heart.

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