Tag Archives: writer

Career Change does a body good

I’ve been blessed to learn and cultivate a particular set of skills, skills I’ve acquired over the course of my career.

I’ve always wanted to say that.

Actually, it would be cool if I were a former spy like Liam Neeson in Taken, but the skills I’m talking about won’t help me take out violent criminals single-handedly. Instead, they’ve helped me survive layoffs and do well in six industries and disciplines. In about 17 years, I’ve worked in retail management, finance, pricing, marketing, and product management. I’ve also written my first book in a murder mystery series.

Lots of younger professionals (20’s – 30’s) ask me how I transitioned through multiple career paths. Those that ask me usually seek a career that is more fulfilling. Therefore, I thought I’d share a few things I learned. If you find yourself in this situation, I hope you find this useful.

Figure out exactly what you want to do

Hopefully, you’ll already know this, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it. We only live so long, so you don’t have time to taste-test a thousand options. Research your targeted choice and interview folks already in it. Make sure you really want to try it. You don’t want to waste years getting into something only to end up hating it.

Understand and build your transferable skills

I jumped from retail banking to financial management to marketing. Although the roles are different, all require strong analytical capability. I cultivated that skill and positioned it as an asset for each role.

Let’s say you sell used cars but want to work in product management one day. Start by determining the basic skills required for success in each role. Suppose one is understanding and meeting customer needs.  Another one may be influencing buying behavior. If you build on those skills and can demonstrate them, you’ll make a huge leap in including yourself among the candidates in your targeted career.

Remember that skills can be learned. Although I majored in marketing, I ended up working in finance because I couldn’t get a marketing job when I graduated. I had to learn how to be analytical and look at the big picture because I sure didn’t do much of that in the beginning of my career.


This is obvious but is even more critical when you’re switching careers. You’ll be an unproven commodity in your new field. Building connections is key to convincing someone to give you a shot. Also consider joining Toastmasters to brush up on your public speaking; the ability to network and present and convey ideas will open doors everywhere.

Offer yourself on a trial period

Some people apply for jobs outside of their field, don’t establish relationships, but expect to command top dollar without working their way up. That’s ridiculous. Instead, find someone in your new field and offer to assist them with a project—for free. Or join a cross-functional project team at work to gain exposure. If people don’t have to pay you, they’re more likely to bring you in, show you the ropes, and give you valuable insight. I’ve landed a couple of jobs this way.

Understand it will take time

Everybody wants everything now. Life doesn’t work like that for most of us. Things take time, even for things where we feel we’re a natural fit.

I love writing—and yet, it still took me about nine years to write and publish my first book. It also cost a lot (i.e., attending writer’s conferences, paying copy editors, paying for promotional tactics, etc.)

Hopefully, it won’t take you as long to start your new career as it did for me to write my novel. Just understand that this effort usually isn’t overnight. Your career path might resemble a line dance; you’ll have to take a step forward, one step back, and two to the side before moving forward again.

But as long as each step puts you closer to your goal, you’ll keep acquiring those valuable sets of skills that will place you where you want to be.

We build them up, We tear them down

Social media is great. It gives a voice to millions who otherwise wouldn’t be heard. Unfortunately, it also gives a voice to mean, angry, and hypocritical people. And when they get going, the nastiness spreads like wildfire, usually for things that really aren’t that serious.

We adulate and hate our celebrities at the same time. We indulge in hero worship but God forbid they make a mistake or do something that reminds us they are human. Then we turn on them in a rabid fury.

The NFC Championship between the Seahawks and 49ers is a perfect example. Cornerback Richard Sherman, a Stanford graduate and intelligent guy, went Clubber Lang on Michael Crabtree. Sherman was so hyped in a postgame interview, he virtually unloaded on Crabtree, probably spraying some spittle on Erin Andrews, who didn’t know what the hell to do after that.

His outburst was uncalled for and unprofessional. Everyone saw that. But what got me is the reaction to it. People vilified him and called him a thug. On cue, racist trolls infested social media like roaches, pouncing on the opportunity to call someone the n-word behind the safety of anonymous screens. I presume it made them feel better about themselves for some reason, but their hypocrisy was hilarious. They were so upset because a mere football player, who does nothing to put food on their table or pay their mortgage, yelled and talked trash to an opponent? And the only way they could express themselves was to hurl nasty remarks and threats at a guy they accused of having no class or tact?  Clearly, self-reflection is in short supply these days.

Besides, isn’t that raw fire what NFL fans ask from the players, anyway? No one likes it when an athlete or coach like Bill Belichick talks to the media in boring sound bites and clichés. “Give us more,” people say. “We want to hear the raw stuff!” People love the ‘mic’d’ up segments, where we hear the trash talk from players. But when Richard Sherman fired off at the end of the game, while still overloaded on adrenaline, people ripped him. They got what they wanted and couldn’t handle it.

The media knows what it is doing. They seek these guys right after the game to get their raw emotions. And Sherman is already known as a fiery guy who talks trash. They knew they were going to get something juicy from him. They got what they wanted.

He definitely needed a timeout before he got within a mile of a microphone, and clearly, his display was unnecessary. Hell, his team had won. But he also did not bash the fans, the viewers, nor did he fill our living room with a stream of profanity. It was pretty tame, as far as outbursts go. And does anyone remember a guy named Muhammad Ali?  The Greatest is revered by everyone. But he ran his mouth just as much and said FAR WORSE in his prime. He made Joe Frazier’s life hell with a slew of nasty racial insults. Frazier hated him for years and only forgave him decades later.

I have a feeling Crabtree will get over this well before a few decades passes.

And I hope others can get over themselves and their indignation well before that.

Because it just isn’t that serious.

What do you think?

Intro to my blog

Hi, everybody! I’d like to welcome you to my new blog!

Why am I blogging? Well, for two reasons. First, it is a great way to make connections. As a new published author, I’m excited to meet other writers, readers, and bloggers and I look forward to learning from them.

Second, and most importantly, I want to share things I’ve learned, experienced, and picked up along the way to help others turn their passions into reality, whether it is with their writing or another career. We all have friends and acquaintances who feel “stuck” in their lives and they want to do something different. Some want to write a book but don’t know how to start. Some writers have started a book but don’t know how to finish it. Others want a different career but don’t know how to transition from their current one.

Being stuck in a holding pattern isn’t the best feeling; it sucks frankly. But I’ve been there. And I can tell you that I’ve been blessed and I’ve worked hard to make career changes in both the corporate world and in my writing. I’ve transitioned from corporate careers in retail sales to financial analysis to product management and I’ve managed to write, edit, and publish my first book (“Partners in Crime”, a detective novel) during this time. So I want to share things that can make your lives easier if you find yourselves wanting to write a book and/or desiring to change careers.

Now, I’m not someone who has “made it” by any stretch of the imagination. I am learning about the writing, publishing, and promotions business every day. This is new for me. But as my friends told me when they suggested I start a blog, every nugget of information I share will benefit someone. Likewise, the more people I reach, the more I will learn from them. So that means I encourage dialogue with and among you. Share what you think! That’s what will make this fun. For more information, please see my comments policy here.

So how will this work? I’ll aim to post things once a week with content focused on the following topics:

  • (Primary) Writing, publishing, and other related activities
  • Inspirational messages and content that help people follow their passion

Periodically, I’ll also post content revolving around other interesting topics. I can’t predict what that will be like; it depends on whatever Life throws at us.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog!