I blog and sell vintage online, even though I went to school for IT. How about you?It seems like many of us are doing something different than the field we majored in. Some see it as a mishap, a loss of dollars, or just an embarrassing fact of life. However, if you’re like me, I believe that a career change in general is awesome!Why is it awesome? A career change presents a new opportunity to get away from stagnation, to start over, and to make something better of yourself! Why wouldn’t you want that? This is, after all, America.
The major you took in college, the continuing education you completed afterwards, the training you went through, and the job you previously had are all building blocks toward your present and future self. Nothing is wasted. Every change is a beautiful opportunity for self-improvement—of your attitude or your income!
I picked IT, or Information Technology, as a major and a career because I had been immersed in and fascinated with the Internet ever since it came to my parents’ home in 1998. I was about 11 years old when I first started making my own webpage. I was particularly interested in using the computer to make graphics and websites. I won contests as a teenager, got hired by my university and the government as an adult, etc. I was very much into my career in IT up until about two years ago. Why?
I got married, and naturally things started changing. My husband Rob got the pink slip of death at work around 2010, and I couldn’t bear continuing to be too involved with my work after he got laid off. We both decided to start a business together selling mostly out of print and vintage items. It was a natural transition, because looking for old gems was already a favorite hobby of ours.
I got a bit of guff from family for letting go of something I’d done for so long and took a great deal of hard work to become good at. They were afraid that this new business would fail. They eventually understood that my husband and I found a job that I equally loved or loved even more than my previous career. After they saw how successful I was in the switch, I got much more support and admiration from both family and friends for the business I started.
So here’s what my husband and I did to transition from our old jobs to our new business:
Realized what we didn’t want to do
I loved making websites and making graphics. In fact, I still do! This time around though, I wanted to make graphics to build up my own store instead of for other people. Making a variety of graphics with different styles for different people can still be very appealing, so if you’re into that… stick with it! It is a lot of fun.
Rob, on the other hand, was tired of the politics around his job—the uncertainty of keeping a job, the interview process, seniority, difficult and manipulative coworkers, etc. Sound familiar? We both liked and were good at what we were doing, but we knew we wanted a change.
Discovered what we liked doing together
Rob and I shared a common interest in thrift shopping for our own purposes (usually out-of-print music/movies and vintage clothes) during our free time together. In fact, that’s just about all we did when we had free time—literally, every chance we got. When he got laid off, we had a lot more free time together. That was when he realized that we could probably do what we’re doing all the time and make money from it!
Focused on our individual strengths
When we got our business set up, I being the IT person became in charge of dealing with the technical aspects of the business. That meant I made our logo and our advertising materials, and set up our online store.
Rob, being the math major, was in charge of the accounting and managed the overall business. Though a math major, Rob’s previous occupation was copyediting. He was able to use that for anything that involved writing within our business—which was everything.
Learned new things while being hands on
I may have taken a few business classes and grown up in a family that ran a business, but I did not know much about setting up a store. We learned on our own time through research what it initially entailed. We caught on pretty quick but also had to learn from our mistakes. We learned most of what we know while we were actually doing business and making money.
Have you experienced a career change? What was that like for you?
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