Following Your Passion

After twenty years of software development and project management, I finally decided I had enough and traded it in for a writing gig. Well, maybe it didn’t go quite that simple, but I did trade in my managerial hat for a pen, a tablet of paper, and a typewriter. Well, again, maybe not quite like that, but that is the gist of it.

Like many, I enjoyed early success in my career and was rewarded with promotions and raises up the corporate ladder. Somewhere along that ladder rung though, I forgot what my passion was. I had earned my BA in Communications. Specifically, I studied journalism and writing while working on my college newspaper and freelancing for local papers covering schoolboard and township meetings.

Upon graduation, still unable to hook on with a newspaper as a full-time writer, I got a job as a software tester. It was a cool job working alongside of other recent college graduates who all liked to go out after work for a few beers and wings. It was the perfect job – my writing job would wait.

Promotions and Lost Dreams

Being good at your job is a good thing. But being good at one job meant I was losing a bit of what I dreamed of doing through my college years. I envisioned myself as a writer, but with plenty of early success in my job, writing got further and further away from becoming a reality. Very quickly a year became two, which became five, and then ten. All of a sudden, twenty more years slipped away. 

Being promoted into management positions gave me the financial success I was looking for, and it placed me in a comfortable spot to go out and search for similar jobs at different companies. I jumped from company-to-company searching for the “right spot” but could never quite find it. Finally, twenty years after my college graduation, I finally realized what it was I was searching for professionally – I was searching for my career.

Up until this point, I didn’t have a career as much as I had a series of jobs with a bunch of different companies. The career I wanted was a writing career, and I was bound to go get it.

Never Too Late to Start a New Career

My career change was a methodical and systematic change. I knew to get back into the writing field, I would need to show prospective employers a portfolio of writing samples and my commitment back into the writing space.

I worked for several years as a freelance writer on the side. Writing blogs and company websites for small businesses helped me build out my writing portfolio. Secondly, I enrolled back in school to pursue my Master’s degree. I used this as an opportunity to show prospective employers updated writing samples and my commitment to the writing field.

The Career I Always Wanted

Starting over professionally is rewarding. My first career provided me with plenty of experience and opportunities that I am thankful for. My second career in writing is rewarding me in so many ways. I am finally doing the job I always wanted. The old cliché is true – if you love what you are doing, you’re not really working.

Getting to where I wanted to be, though, took hard work, plenty of effort, and commitment. I put together a plan on how I would get to my new career, and I followed it.

If you are at the spot where it’s time for a career change, invest in yourself and put together your plan. It may take several months or even a few years to get to where you want to be professionally, but in the long run, it’s worth investing that time and effort into yourself and into your new career.


Side Hustle Career Change

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work a job that you love? A job where you are your own boss. You make your own rules. You work directly with your own clients and make the best decisions best on their needs and your needs. Maybe it’s time to begin thinking of a side hustle.

A side hustle, or a side business as it used to be known by many of us, is a great way to begin getting your feelers out on what you love to do and see if it’s something that may be sustainable.

Getting a Side Hustle Started

Initially, don’t think of your side business as anything more than a hobby. Enjoy the work you’re doing and have some fun with it. If you don’t have a social media profile yet, create a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile, connect with friends and family, and rave a bit about the work you are doing.

Your side-hustle business can be, and should be, whatever you love to do. Whether it’s creating, building, woodworking, writing, designing, photographs, etc. Show off your hobby and enjoy the responses that you receive. Keep tabs on responses, and encourage your friends and family to share your profile and images with their connections.  

This is where it starts to get fun. You may start seeing responses and inquiries from people you don’t know who are connected with your friends and family and they’re asking you where you received that item. Your product gains a little traction and people begin ordering your product from you.

Side-Hustles Don’t Grow Overnight

Keep in mind your initial goal: enjoying and sharing your hobby. As “business” begins to grow, and you begin seeing some extra bucks in your wallet each week or month from the projects that you are doing, start thinking about the next steps. If you are earning money that begins to warrant tax returns, talk to a specialist about setting up a business tax-ID up for your side-hustle business. Think of a clever name and design a logo.

Your hobby is starting to evolve into a business – maybe not a business where you can quit your day job, but a business where you are earning extra income and can see it developing into something bigger further down the line.

Enjoy the Work

A side-hobby business should be something that you enjoy doing. Live in the moment with it. Let it develop and evolve naturally. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make money immediately (sounds counter-productive but let it develop). As it grows, and you are making money, talk to a tax specialist and financial advisor about your long-term goals are. They may be able to help develop a plan with you where you are turning your side-hustle business into your everyday, full-time job.

Developing a Career Change Plan

So you’ve finally decided to take that bold next step in your life and change careers. Congratulations! Changing can be challenging, but if you do your homework and set a proper plan in place to transition to your next career, it should go as smoothly as you allow it.

Changing careers is a bit different than simply changing jobs. For better or worse, changing jobs typically involves moving from one company to another, or from one department to another within a company, and still being in very similar types of work. Changing careers is shaking off that previous career and jumping at a whole new one.

Burning questions may be bubbling up inside you like “am I ready for this?” “Am I too old to change careers?” “What if I change careers and find out I don’t know what I’m doing?” These are normal questions one may ask themselves. The important piece of the puzzle in changing careers is the first step: create a plan

Your Career is a Journey

When I first had my aha moment regarding my career change, it was 2012. I had been in my industry for almost twenty years by this point. When I came to the conclusion that I wanted to switch careers, I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight.

Planning was an integral part of my journey. I began to map out exactly what steps I needed to take to land the career that I wanted. Those steps included:

  • Going back to school and completing my Master’s program
  • Gaining experience in the career I wanted to move into so I was somewhat marketable
  • Financial planning as any step that I wanted to take toward my new career would probably require a financial step back, i.e. an initial decrease in salary  
  • Understand the time it may take to move into your new career once you have gained the necessary experience, education, or training, if applicable, and reviewed financial implications.

Columbia University also recommends consulting with industry resources in the field you are looking to move into, as well as to begin reviewing higher trends, top organizations, and recruitment cycle (Four Steps to Make a Career Change n.d.).  

Changing careers is not easy, but nothing worth pursuing usually is. You’ve taken the initial step by realizing a change is needed. The next step is taking action.


Four steps to make a career change. Four Steps to Make a Career Change | Columbia CCE. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Time to Update Your Resume

Think of updating your resume like going to the dentist. It can sometimes be a painful process, but in the end, you’re better off with those regularly scheduled appointments and cleanings.

Keeping your resume updated is a process you should get yourself into. By getting into the practice of regularly updating your resume, you are sure to keep it updated with all the recent skills, tools, training, and certifications you have obtained over the past several months. 

Putting a reminder on your calendar at the end of each quarter will ensure you are getting into best practice of keeping your resume updated with your most recent accomplishments. 

Having an updated resume also ensures you have positioned yourself to hit the pavement today if you are unfortunately laid off or let go in your current employment. Many people lose valuable time, days, and weeks just getting their resume updated or created when they lose their jobs. Don’t be one of those people.

An updated resume also makes you very marketable in the job marketplace.  After all, you never know when you might find yourself face-to-face with a prospective employer. You don’t want to be caught in a position where you need to spend precious time updating your resume, or worse, having to create a new resume from scratch because it has been years since you actually updated it. That potential job opportunity will be lost by the time you get your act together.

Whatever updates you are making to your resume, be sure to update on LinkedIn too. LinkedIn is your electronic resume. It’s a professional networking website where prospective employers are searching for their next crop of A+ employees. Don’t lose a potential email or phone call from a recruiter or hiring manager because you have inadequate or outdated information on your LinkedIn profile. Treat LinkedIn just as you would your resume.

Keeping ahead of the curve with your resume and LinkedIn profile will help you stay ahead of your career and ensure you are able to hit the proverbial pavement immediately if you lose your job tomorrow.

Don’t be left behind in the job market. Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date.

Resume Activity Between Job Searches

One of the emptier feelings a person can experience is the feeling of losing a job. The suddenness of working today, but not tomorrow can be a very trying experience. Of course, the sudden loss of income is one of the most gut-wrenching and nerve-wracking experiences a person can deal with when it comes to losing their job.

In addition to the loss of income, another challenge in losing a job is keeping a resume updated. When you are looking for a new job while still employed, your resume displays currently employed. Once you are let go from a job, that last employer is now the last item on your resume. As the days and weeks stretch into months, your end-date on your resume begins to take on a major void in your professional experience.

As recruiters and hiring managers shift through the pile of electronic resumes that comes through their inboxes each week, holes in people’s resumes become a major red flag to prospective employers. By “holes in resumes” we’re referring to the dates between starting a new job and the ending date in the previous job. If there are a number of holes between employment, it may give the impression to prospective employers that you are unreliable, or not a good worker. Without even interviewing you, you may immediately be cast into a “not interested” category.

If you were let go in your last job, the same will hold true. The longer the time period goes without you gaining employment, the larger of a void your end date with your last employer will become. You may have been laid off or let go because of downsizing, outsourcing, or any other reason which was outside of your control, but that empty void on your resume may be perceived as you not being a good candidate. Even without you uttering a word in an interview, your resume may find itself filed in the trash bin.

Being laid off or let go are circumstances outside of your control, but the void in your resume is not. Prospective employers do not want to see gaps in time between jobs. From your perspective, the best thing for you to do is get some activity going that you can add to your resume which will eliminate the gaps.

Volunteer work is a great example of work to do while in-between jobs. It is also something that fits well with your resume. A recruiter or hiring manager will look much more favorably on you and your resume if they see you were laid-off but spent the last three months volunteering at the YMCA, a shelter, or at your local community center, in addition to looking for new employment.

The volunteer work looks pretty good on you as well in the eyes of prospective employers. They will see a person who stepped up when times were bad and volunteered their time to help others. 

Volunteer work is fine for your resume too, no matter what type of position or level you hold. It also looks a lot more favorably on you than some gaps in time between jobs, or since your last job.

While there may not be much you can do as far as being laid off, there is certainly quite a bit you can do to ensure this doesn’t look bad on you with your next employer. There is a saying about lemons and lemonade that fits well right here.  Be sure your resume shows off the lemonade, not the lemons.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Jobs can be a funny thing. You can be cruising along doing the same thing day after day, and suddenly you wake up and say, “I can do better.” After some job searches on Indeed and LinkedIn, you find the same job, or a similar one, at a different company, and after a few interviews, you land it.

All seems good in your new position over the next few months or so, maybe even a year, you know, the honeymoon period, but soon that same sinking feeling comes back again. Another job search, another company jump, another honeymoon period, and the feeling is back.

Does this cyclical job change remind you of anyone? Maybe yourself? Have you found yourself changing jobs every few years thinking it was the company, only to eventually wake up and realize it’s not the company. It’s you? 

Job Change or Career Change?

If you’ve been going through the cyclical motions above, i.e., changing jobs every few years, thinking that the next company will be different, this may be the ideal time to ask yourself if it is time for a career change.

According to Northeastern University (Joubert, 2020), five signs to understanding if a career change, instead of a job change, include:

  • You are Apathetic and Complacent in your current job
  • You’re struggling to feel as though you are Making a Difference
  • You Dread getting up in the morning and Going to Work
  • Even if you are making good money, you’re Salary Doesn’t even Satisfy you
  • You Complain about Work at social events with family and friends

Taking the Next Step Toward your New Career

If you’re at this pinnacle in your life, embrace it! Don’t hide or shy away from it. According to CNBC, 53% of Americans started a new career in 2022 (Fox, 2022). If the pandemic had any silver linings it was our desire to shake the same old same old and do something new with ourselves – do something new with our career.

Columbia University (“Four Steps to Make a Career Change”, n.d.) suggests these four steps when it comes to deciding whether to change careers:

  • Clarify your interests, skills, and values
  • Research and develop a plan
  • Get Connected
  • Gain experience

Get Started

Starting over is not easy. But if you are at this stage of reading about starting over in your career, you are taking the initial steps.


Joubert, S. (2022, March 9). 6 signs it’s time to change careers (and what to do about it). Northeastern University Graduate Programs. Retrieved from

Four steps to make a career change. Four Steps to Make a Career Change | Columbia CCE. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Fox, M. (2022, March 9). Half of Americans who quit their jobs last year made a career change. here are 5 steps to take to do the same. CNBC. Retrieved from

Five Tips for College Student on Job Interviews

This time of year, college seniors are going to job fairs with the hopes of landing that first job following graduation next year. For most students, however, this is usually their first experience with a professional interview. Interviews in the professional market are a bit different than those previously experienced for summer jobs, or after-school mall jobs. Here are five tips for preparing college students for interviews with prospective employers.

Dress Professional

No matter what the professional attire is in the office that you are interviewing, dress for success. For the guys, that means a suit with a tie. For the ladies, dress business professional. 

Present Yourself With Confidence

Talk confidently about your job experience to date. If you have previous experience with summer internships, be sure to discuss your day-to-day responsibilities and any key tasks you assisted. Even if you do not have internship experience, talk confidently and passionately about your work experience to date. 

If your work experience is in a grocery store as a cashier, or at the mall as a clerk, or as a summer painter, speak with conviction about your experience. Provide examples of how you helped a customer, or how your boss recognized you with a promotion or a raise. 

Don’t shy away from this experience just because you think it may not seem important. Remember, the person interviewing you once your age with little-to-no professional work experience. Be confident in discussing your experience because we all started somewhere.

Copies of Your Resume

Bring at least five copies of your resume printed on resume paper. Although the hiring manager has reviewed your resume already, having a copy available for him or her shows you are well prepared. Don’t assume that anyone who will be interviewing you on this day will have a copy of your resumer will have previously seen it.    

Thankful and Respectful

Be thankful and respectful of the person’s time who is interviewing you. Be sure to shake their hand upon arrival and when leaving, and request their business card. Ask them if it would be ok for you to email any follow-up questions. 


Once home, send a thank you email to anyone you interviewed that day. Reiterate an area of the interview that went exceptionally well for you to help reinforce you being the best candidate for the job. Let them know you appreciate their time that day. 

Interviewing takes time to master. So take advantage of this time of year with job fairs and go on as many interviews as you can. Look at this time as an opportunity to brush up on your interviewing skills. 

Strengthening your Career through Advanced Education

If you are in between careers, or simply contemplating a jump-start into a new career, furthering your education is an excellent first step toward a new career. In fact, additional education has quite a few perks that you can benefit from, in addition to jump-starting a new career.

Furthering education can open up doors that aren’t currently open for you, and can also provide you a bit more comfort in other areas as well:

  • Increase your earnings and salary
  • Decrease your risk of unemployment.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates your percentage of becoming unemployed decreases as much as 7% the higher your degree (Hoyer et. al., 2018). In addition, a 2014 study by the BLS found higher education translated into higher median weekly earnings and a lower unemployment rate (Hoyer et. al, 2018), as noted in the chart below in Table 1.

Table 1

(Hoyer et. al, 2018).

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

It is never too late to go back to school. Earning a bachelor’s degree could increase your weekly salary by as much as $600. Find a degree program that you are passionate about that can lead to a job and a career that will not only challenge you but provide you with fulfillment in your career.  

There are plenty of accredited degree programs online today. Find the school and program that meets your needs either in person or online.

Master Degree Programs

Where do you foresee your career taking you? Is it further up the corporate ladder where additional management courses and an MBA may benefit you? Or is it an entire switch to a new field and a new study?

A master’s degree can provide you the inside steps against the competition for a promotion within the company or a new position with a new employer. Just like a bachelor’s degree, earning your master’s can also be done online allowing busy professionals to continue to balance work, life, and school.

Professional Degree

A professional degree is the highest advanced degree if you are studying medicine, law, or architecture, for example. Depending on the field you are studying, you may be able to pursue a professional degree with simply a bachelor’s degree (“A Guide to Professional Degrees”, n.d.).

Some of the most common fields that require a professional degree are:

  • Lawyer
  • Architect
  • Medical Doctor
  • Veterinarian
  • Dentist

A doctoral degree is the highest level and most advanced degree you can earn. Doctoral degrees can be earned in fields such as education, business, engineering, clinical psychology, and physics, to name a few fields.  


A Guide to Professional Degrees. Coursera. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hoyer, W.D., Macinnis, D.J., & Pieters, R. (2018). 13 – The Consumer’s Culture. In Consumer Behavior, essay. South-Western.

Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

In today’s world, it’s essential to have your resume created, updated, and ready to send out at any moment. This is not your parent’s job market anymore. Very rarely are people in the same job or same company for twenty-plus years, and very rarely are people afforded the ability to remain with the same company for ten, fifteen, or twenty years. 

Be Prepared to Begin your Job Search

With downsizing and jobs efficiently being created offshore by local companies, you need to be able to immediately start searching for a job today if you are faced with the unfortunate event of losing your job. Your mindset needs to be, if I get laid off this morning, I can hit the proverbial pavement this afternoon.

Update your LinkedIn Profile

Take control of your own career and make yourself more marketable in the job market. Your resume needs to be a living, breathing document you can produce for a prospective employer at a moment’s notice. 

LinkedIn is another tool in today’s job market that helps you become marketable in the open job market. If you are not using it, you need to. 

Updated Resume Available

Review some of my resume tips today. I can provide you with direction and guidance to enable you to update your resume and LinkedIn profile and help you proactively take control of your career today.

Contact me and I will help make your resume begin working for you today.