January 21, 2013
By design or by chance (I’m not sure which), I have been speaking to various groups recently on making career changes. Not just mere job changes mind you, but complete career changes. Some people are making this drastic life change by choice, and some are being forced to do it because of layoffs, downsizing, or other such economic factors. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is a sign of the times in which we live. I do believe, however, that we can change careers and not just survive, but flourish. I believe the difference is all in the way we tackle the undertaking.
I changed careers about 10 years ago. I did it by choice, and I did it for reasons that really mattered to me, so I didn’t see the obstacles that could have blocked my path had I let them. All I saw was the goal. However, if I had been forced to leave my marketing career because of company layoffs or some other reason completely out of my control, I probably would have had a much different attitude about doing something else for a living.
From the time I graduated college, I have been hired to do a lot of things. In fact, I applied for a job with the CIA fresh out of school. Needless to say, that’s about as far as I got. What a disaster that would have been; I can’t keep Christmas presents a secret. I jump at my own shadow after watching a horror movie.
The point is, I applied for that job and would have done my level best to make a success of it had I been hired. Why? Because I was too naïve to think for one second that I couldn’t do the job.
That’s what I tell people today; if you’re put into the unenviable position of being forced to make a career change, tackle the process with the same idealism and belief that you had as a young person. Follow your heart’s desire, literally. Choose a career that has a connection to what you’ve always loved to do. Be a kid again, at least as far as believing in yourself and your capabilities.
As my mama always told me: “If you love what you do, success will follow.”
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of two books: “Southern Fried White Trash” and her newest, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear” (released October 2012). Townsend has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 Television News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at festivals and book signings, and speaking publicly at various events.