Career Coaching Corner: lessons I've learned as a career changer

Career Coaching Corner: lessons I've learned as a career changer
Lessons from a career changer.jpg

You think you have your life all set. But you don’t. And there will be tears.

That’s right — boo hoo.

I changed careers…a couple times. I’m not even 40 yet.

Out of high school, I got into radio broadcasting. That was 20 years ago. I didn’t know what was ahead of me. You never do! Life is what happens when you make other plans. We think we can make plans and go along this straight line. But instead there are mountains, winding roads, you get lost, you drive around in circles, the car breaks down, then you realize you need to take a jet there.

When I chose my first career, I just wanted to be a radio DJ on a rock station. That was it. Back when I made this choice, it was a solid choice. You could do that then. Then-President Bill Clinton had just voted in favor of major radio ownership consolidation, an event I didn’t fully understand. Ultimately, I’d have to do multiple jobs to survive. Napster would come along; Tower Records would close. Hell, nearly all record stores and video rental stores would shutter. I’d have to learn digital sound editing.

What I didn’t know then was how I’d have to learn how to do internet stuff, that something called “social media” would come along, as would “SEO” and “digital marketing.” I also didn’t know how to pronounce “Al-Qaida” — let alone that I’d end up reporting on it on the fly with no journalism training on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

That was when I started going to journalism classes. We all know how well newspapers and magazines have done since then… But I kept going to school and was able to get a job writing radio broadcast news for a wire. I did well, but I longed to do morning radio shows again. So I moved from Phoenix to Kansas. I got a job doing morning radio in Wichita for four years, which is honestly an eon in my field.

Then that job went away.

Then came the tears. Then came the, “What do I do?”

Honestly, after nearly two decades of radio broadcasting and journalism, I had no idea what to do with myself. I said as much to the women on the phone who had zero pity for me when my unemployment ran out. “What am I supposed to do? I’ve done this one thing forever! How can I pay my bills?” The impatient social worked on the other end merely replied, “Get a job.”

This was sage advice. I had found my guru!

So I did get a job. Well, I already had a job. I was working part-time as a peer mentor to recovering addicts at a recovery center. I jumped ship to a new and exciting department of the same company just to get a full-time job. Then I worked in detox for two years before returning to my peer mentor post. In the midst of it all, I obtained my Transformational Life Coaching 100-hour certification from the Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts. I’m not done rolling with the changes — yet. I’ve accepted that I may never be “done.” I’m caught up in the flow of life and the many things I want to learn so I can turn around and give back through my new talents.

Enough about my story. Let’s talk about you.

Where to begin?

I know this sounds harsh, but you need a job. Any job will do.

This is for obvious reasons, like rent. Jobs give you health insurance (sometimes). Most importantly, jobs get you out of the house.

More on this in the next career-changer coaching post!