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.