Career Change Success Stories

Following are the success stories of a few of the people I’ve worked with who made a career change in order to find more meaningful work. In their own words, they’re sharing why they made the move, what challenges they faced, and what was key to their success.

 


Sarah_Asip

Sarah Asip

Before

I was in a pretty miserable job that was not in line with my values or who I was, and I let it completely consume my life and identity. I really lost touch with my creative side.

Challenges

I actually lost my job, so I felt like I was forced into change (thankfully). But I was scared about moving forward, as I had no idea what I wanted. I felt paralyzed and very lost, and I was afraid of not knowing who I was.

How I did it

While it took time, and I am still working on it, seeing Meredith had a huge impact, and continues to have a huge impact, on my general life direction and my day-to-day stresses. Being introduced to mindfulness and also rationally looking at my fears and anxieties made me realize that so many of my problems and stresses came from my own head. Once I quieted my head and started surrounding myself with people and things I enjoyed, I began to find my way.

Where I Am Now

For the first time in a long time I feel like I am on the right path. I am working as a freelance photographer, volunteering in the local creative community, working, and I begin design school this fall. I am very excited about my future, which is an unfamiliar feeling. I feel comfortable in my own skin, and feel better for going through a personal and professional crisis and coming out on the other end. Although there will always be obstacles to overcome, I feel much more in control and aware of who I am and what I value.


Anne_Kitzmiller

Anne Kitzmiller

Before

I was working full-time at a design consultancy in San Francisco.  I wasn’t really sure what change I wanted to make. I was pretty fried as a designer, and I had this feeling that I was following a protocol and had not really questioned whether that path was right for me.

Challenges

I decided to go on a year-long trip around the world with my partner. I was exceptionally afraid of failing. I wasn’t sure that if I did want to come back to design, whether or not this break would ruin a chance at continuing my career. I was very hung up on people thinking that I was being reckless.

How I Did It

I had to come up with worst case scenarios and play them out and come up with a version that I was ok with. Worst case scenario, we move back to Ohio and I help take care of my grandmother while living with my parents. It turned out I truly didn’t see that as a negative option. Additionally, the support of close friends and family was tremendous. I realized we all want to see someone change direction and succeed.

Where I Am Now

When I got home, my old employer offered me a new position with more creative control. I still knew I was going to need to find some of the fulfillment that my job wasn’t giving me, in other places. Then out of nowhere, I got an offer to teach at a local college. I accepted both positions and love teaching! It feels wonderful to know that I took the time to seek out answers to tough personal questions, and I know now that I truly am doing what I love.


Dave_Coleman

Dave Coleman

Before

I was an IT Manager for a company that had been acquired three times over my fifteen years of employment, and it had gone from an innovator to a quality-focused and savings-only operation. It became a very frustrating environment for all.

Challenges

I wanted to make a change, but I didn’t want to go through the effort to make a change, and I didn’t want to leave the many relationships I had created. The money was great and held the relationship together for two miserable years. I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to do if I was to walk away. I wasn’t sure I wanted to just jump ship to another IT company.

How I Did It

I didn’t have a lot of money, but I knew that I needed someone to help pull me through my challenges. I was a little taken back that the coaching program would take 6 months because I wanted a fix now—I wanted someone to just tell me what to do. I would discover over those very meaningful months that I had all the answers inside me. I was able to remember my passions and trust myself to answer any questions or struggles I had.

Where I Am Now

After taking some time to explore freelance writing, I decided to take a job working for the Department of Community Affairs in a position that allows me to help people, work face-to-face with customers, and share my 20 years of IT experiences. Now my bills are covered, I have my evenings and weekends back, and I can focus even more on writing, spending time with friends, trail and city running to help my heart/health, and helping my daughters with their running ambitions. I am also glad to be helping a group that helps those less fortunate and those just wanting more for their families.


Nancy Gonce

Before

I was in the consulting engineering field as a project manager for a little over 20 years. While there were some project assignments that were challenging and brought me a sense of fulfillment, they were few and far between. I felt like I had lost the focus of why I went into environmental engineering.

Challenges

My dissatisfaction with my career was the one thing not ‘clicking’ in my life, and it was impacting my overall happiness. It was time to make a change, but I had no clear direction on what it was I wanted to do or how to go about making a professional change in a challenging economy. Fear of the unknown and the related anxiety was paralyzing my ability to think and be creative about what I wanted to do.

How I Did It

I had previously done group career counseling. It was helpful but unproductive for me. I needed a focused face-to-face meeting, someone to hold me accountable, and someone to help me draw out my strengths and abilities. The one-on-one sessions provided me tools to relax, to allow thinking, to ask for what I need, and to identify my purpose.

Where I am now

I am working for a public municipality in engineering and construction for water production facilities. The work I am doing focuses on serving people and meeting their needs for safe drinking water. I have been in my position for almost a year and I look forward to going to work every day.


Erika_Noll

Erika Noll

Before

After years of working as a healthcare provider, I was promoted into a management role that asked a lot of me. I found myself stuck in a pattern of working all of the time and finding less and less joy in my work. I also felt less and less effective, but couldn’t see a way out of it.

Challenges

Fear popped up many times—how am I ever going to make some change? What if I’m not happy afterwards? What are other people going to think? How am I going to make any money?

How I Did It

My work with Meredith included identifying some ways to find some calm in my day-to-day, including restorative yoga, meditation, and creative time. I also identified what my values had been around work, and what would be possible if I could shift those into values that served me better. The work around fear was the most powerful and transformative – learning to trust that there is a path, and that every step cannot be planned or controlled but that if I listen to what feels right and is important to me, I can take the steps with strength and confidence.

Where I Am Now

I am happy to say that I have shifted into work that I truly enjoy – I finished training this year at Duke Integrative Medicine as an Integrative Health Coach, and have started a small private practice coaching clients and leading workshops. I also have continued to work at my old company in a training and consulting capacity, as well as seeing patients part time.


Kevin_Byrd

Kevin Byrd

Before

I was at a crossroads. I was coming off a full-time job as a creative director at a clothing apparel company and not really sure what to do next. I was interested in re-affirming my sense of purpose, passions and personal strengths. Centering on those areas, I hoped would establish a barometer that could guide me in career and life decisions.

Challenges

Would I be happy? Would I be able to support my family? Would I regret my decisions?

How I Did It

I learned to listen to my body’s cues, my mind’s insights, and affirm past moments where things worked out well. It was about getting clear on what I already knew, but doing so in a measured, holistic way. As a creative, envisioning potential futures comes naturally, but getting it out of your head, out in front of yourself and looking at the bigger picture is incredibly helpful.

I ultimately decided to freelance. It provided the most flexibility in choosing the design work I wanted, while also offering the space & time to develop my art. It was because of my personal art practice and design background that I was approached by Dolby to curate their new headquarters in San Francisco. This consulting relationship transitioned into the full-time role I lead now.

Where I Am Now

I’m the curator and director of visual experience at Dolby Laboratories. It fits me well.