Thursday, July 19, 2012

Changing Careers After Marriage - My Experience

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When I moved to the United States in 2009, I knew I was taking a leap of faith. I had finished a Master’s in Public Health Research in 2007 and worked for about a year after that with the Health Department of the Scottish Government in Edinburgh. I quit the job at the end of 2008 not because I didn’t like them, but I had just gotten married and preferred to join Atala who lived in the United States.

The recession really hit after I got to the USA and finding a job was out of the question anyway. So I had to ask myself serious questions, the foremost of which was, how do I reinvent my career? Fortunately for me, I had a small savings cushion and being married allowed me to optimize every penny. However, apart from the fears of how to be financially successful, other fears also lurked at the back of my mind.

After working since my graduation almost a decade earlier, I was afraid of stepping into the unknown and uncharted territory of being without an income. A part of me worried about what people – my friends, my colleagues and people I had gone to school with – would say. At the top of that list were my parents who had invested, emotionally and financially, in my education and lifestyle. I did not want to disappoint them, and the dreams they had of me, some of which we had shared together.

Still, I knew I had to remain true to myself. No matter how much I cared about other people or how much they cared about me, it was my life alone to live. Any decisions I made would affect me more than any other person. So while the fear that I had been wrong in making the inter-continental move simmered, I put some of my previous knowledge to good use.

If there was one thing that had been confirmed by my master’s degree, it was how paramount research, planning and information were to any project. I set out to find all the evidence I needed to begin to map out a new future. Gathering data and measuring article after article against each other helped me put things in perspective. I had a clearer view of where I was going.

I began to see that fear was a normal and common-place among those who had switched careers or stopped working at a certain point in their life. I found relevant blogs and it was reassuring to know, from reading other people’s accounts that I was not alone, as most of them wrote about the same fears that I had. They cautioned against being stuck at the stage of doing nothing, and the consensus was to keep moving, even if you might only be able to take small steps.

It is often said that when you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life. I thought about this for a long time and how to apply it to my life. Even though the decision to quit my last job and move to a new country had been a serious one, this time, I dug even deeper. I had to find those things I was passionate about.

There were not many options, as they would have to suit my situation were to do something that while it did not entail formal employment would allow me to gain some new skills and experience as well as build on the ones I already had. In my particular circumstance, it boiled down to the following;

- Volunteering, also known as internships in some places
- Taking up one of my skills/talents, writing, crafting, painting, etc
- Establishing my own business in an area I was passionate about.

I registered with a couple of charities in my local area and soon had positions with them. Volunteering is a great way to test out the job pool without sinking or drowning. I was working a total of 4 hours a week, at most six, and the positions were fulfilling. At the same time, I also joined a writing group, and began to work seriously on the novels I had in my flash drive.

I began blogging not too long after that in order to sample public opinion of my manuscript. This culminated in publishing my first book in December 2009, winning the Best Nigerian Blog Award for 2010, and releasing my second novel in March 2011.





With all my experiences in the last three years, including disappointments as well as achievements, I have learnt some things about changing your career after you get married, or at any other time in your life. The most important is the ability to ask yourself questions, to get as much information as you need and to keep moving, assessing and learning from each step you take.

In my opinion, life is a journey, and sometimes it is not about the destination as about enjoying the drive and stops in between. When you believe in yourself and learn to roll with the punches, changing your career can be a positive and enriching experience that will take you to heights you never knew.


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This article was first published as Map Out a New Future on the Jobberman Blog






32 comments:

  1. Nice one, Myne.

    The key is finding your passion and confronting your fears headlong. Life is all about risk and every decision involves risk, someone once said to me that it is risky not to take a risk.
    I am presently somewhere in between, I love writing but my day job is demanding and leaves me with little or no time at all (and when you are married, and add to that running after 2 energetic boys, it gets even tougher)

    A bit of digression, can we have an online writers' forum where upcoming / aspiring writers can come for ideas, inspirations, etc (or such exist presently)?
    If no and you need someone to work with, drop me a line (biolaleye@gamil.com)

    Cheers and keep doing good.

    BR,

    Abiola.

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  2. sorry, its biolaleye@gmail.com.

    Cheers.

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  3. nice one. i enjoy yor stories myne

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  4. Thanks Myne for this article which encourages people like me who are in à similar situation. In my case, i moved from an english speaking country to France (with no french language knowledge). I havé been struggling for two years now to get my career back to its feet with nô success.

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  5. Seeking readers for my book giveaway
    http://vrc2012.blogspot.com
    do join us!

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  6. Wow, so this is how you started writing professionally? Interesting

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  7. it is not easy to change careers but yes with determination, you can get there.Volunteering is actually a very good option.

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  8. Wow Myne! You spoke directly to me today! This particular topic has become my headache in the last month or so. I will be getting married soon and my husband-to-be lives in a different state which means I'm looking to relocate in the next few months.

    I'm scared! I've lived a financially independent and secure life since I was 19. I'm now 34. The thought of quitting my current job and relocating before I've been able to find something equally stable and rewarding scares the crap out of me (excuse me) but I also don't want to be married and living apart from my husband. I could wait to get a job first before moving but there are so many other factors involved. I know my situation is completely different from yours in the sense that your move was across continents and mine is not, but the same fear of the unknown is still present.

    The one thing I look forward to, however, is finally having the time to focus on the things I really love to do - writing and editing - while I wait.

    Your blog has brought me such encouragement and I believe I was supposed to read this today. Sometimes we just need to take that leap of faith, believing that where God leads us, He will also provide a way. Thanks for sharing your story and keep keeping on!!!

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  9. wow MYne i love this post. so on point. When i married i have been trying to change my career choice and move on. I am a strong believer of being your own boss, but its been hard with people asking me what i am doing? telling me i am making a mistake and all. My interests too are similar to yours. I love writing, crafts, owning my own business.. I am determined to forge ahead and i believe at the end they will see my efforts.
    www.secretlilies.blogspot.com.
    P.S. about the online writers forum for new writers i am interested.

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  10. oh wow so this is where it all started from. congrats u truly have come a long way.

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  11. *Whew*
    I am 30 pounds lighter; a weight has just been lifted off me. I'm working on two degrees but I'm not afraid to venture into something else. But unpaid internships scare me o, I no go lie. Free labor, lol!

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  12. Indeed, life is a journey & every passionate person that cares about something must be on the move. Ma, your experience reminds me of how tenacious we must be in order to be successful in life.
    Thanks for sharing part of your life experience.

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  13. Myne, I was even thinking of mailing you on this exact topic. I have a Job it pays very well. But I detest waking up because of the Job. I want to write! Simple. And I can't do it while here. Every one says its foolish to leave a paying job for writing especially when writing doesn't pay well in these parts. Getting another Job that involves writing would be splendid. But of course, that hasn't shown up. All these leap of faith matter is just...

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  14. Thanks Myne, sometimes it one tend to forget to stay true to what they really know and it feels easy to conform to some expectations.
    I needed to read this,Inspiring and got me thinking...a whole lot.

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  15. You an encouragement to many and your tenacity amazes me. I also wrote while on maternity and inability to jump back into the job market as quickly as i'd have hoped. I look back now and I dont have one regret. Not one. I was also blessed to then get a job in publishing after I had written my first novel. Keep it up Myne.. you quietly inspire more than you know!

    Bimbylads.

    yes- today is my Myne whitman blog stalking day. hehe.

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  16. Myne,

    Itz so encouraging reading this. As u know, i'd be moving to another continent to pursue my dream and am i freaked out about it or what! I've been used to earning my way, and only needing my husband for big things like house rent, bomboy's school fee, getting a new car etc. my personal expenses i very gladly bore without disturbing oga sir. Now, i possibly won't be able to do that. I've to ask money for everything, and totally hate this.

    Itz encouraging to know volunteering is fulfilling cos i intend to do a lot of it. My writing? I don't know. I just don't know anymore. I keep asking myself, should i have pursued my writing and left my other passion? Is this masters shit worth it? @ least, u got a good job after yours, so am going to be hopeful.

    Thanks for sharing. it helped me. Maybe we can chat later on abt this.

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  17. Thank you for this encouraging piece. It is timely.

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  18. Like the commenter Kayceeuzor, I too detest waking up, becasue of the job I have. I have plenty of talents and passions, but at the end of the day I'm drained and discouraged, so I don't do much except wallow. what I lack is the courage to just get up and pursue what I love no matter what it pays or what I earn. Rather i opted to get married and become a housewife. However that bubble bursted when my hubby lost his job, and we had to relocate back to the states. So now i'm stuck in my usual rut, earning a few dollars above minimum wage and still not doing anything. where do people get the courage to break out of self-imposed ruts? I'm in survival mode, just surviving, but I want to live, be a fulfilled human. Anybody knows what it takes to make that leap despite the fear?

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    1. Oh I am so sad to read this because when I finally made a decision to leave the States and pursue art studies in Europe, I had friends who wanted to quit their jobs and live their lives too, but who didn't get the courage to. If you believe in a higher being, pray for strength to pursue your dreams. Also, talk with family and friends about this and see what they say. I wrote a long email to my parents when I was accepted to the art program. I love them and knowing I had their support on this risky journey meant a lot to me. Start saving some money if possible, also start applying to courses or schools or jobs that you think will take you to the next level. Even if you keep your job and just take night classes in writing/art/..., it will help you feel better about waking up to face the day. Thanks Myne for this post, it's nice to know your story!

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  19. Wow, reading this crucial topic just inspired,encouraged and made my day, talking about reap of faith I guess each of us has our tales on this issue, moving from English speaking country to Portuguese speaking country,It was extremely difficult at first, I waved a lot of dreams about becoming successful in entertaiment industry where I was before marriage, I enjoy being active, I had to join volunteer work, charity organization to keep me sane because I was at the edge of lossing my insanity from boredom, My inspiration as writer was also born , I admit I might not be a perfect writer but writing saved my life, it makes me happy, awesome way of putting my thought, observasion, feelings,opinion experience and what is going on around me in one piece, and that feeling of relieve is priceless.

    Oh the forum for online new writers for inspiration, is great idea.

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  20. U inspire me myne! I'm also an up n coming writer, just finished my very first novel n wud publish soon. I also just started my own blog, lots of controversial issues r being discussed there rite now! I admire u, ur an inspiration, a go-getter! Follow me on www.bisodunwrites.blogspot.com

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  21. @Myne

    such an inspiring story, I enjoyed reading this post. Changing careers is very stressful but as long as we don't let fear limit us, anything is possible.

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  22. If your husband lived in Scotland, would you have changed your profession? It was because you moved to another country. Marriage should not be the reason to change profession unless in circumstances like yours.

    Some women are forced to change profession because their husbands find them intimidating. Others because of their children and that is why some selfish wives don't want kids in the UK etc.

    What was very interesting is the fact that good education, regardless of the field, could be applied to other fields. Myne, you can later write non-fiction books on health. Have you ever thought of that? Think... The sky is the limit. Maybe you were destined to be a writer.

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  23. Nice to read your story Myne. I have undergone a big career switch in another country so I fully understand what you are talking about. No regrets whatsoever despite the fact that it had not been easy. Life is exciting when you take risks and do something new.

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  24. Thank you all for your comments, I really appreciate them. I will address some of the questions more individually when I have better internet.

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  25. Seems a lot of us are going through this crazy career change phase. It is doing my head in.
    Thanks for sharing your experience Myne. It is always comforting to know one is not alone or to know that others have passed the same path and trumped.
    xoxoxo

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  26. Nice storyy
    Please write a story on women earning fatter salaries than their husbands

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  27. Myne, a follow up post to this would be much appreciated cuz this really stuck a chord in many hearts. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad I read this!

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  28. @ Angel, Please how did u manage to remain single to 34.... I am encouraged to be honest. I used to think 30 was the end of the road.

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  29. This is so inspirational Myne. I am happy you found your passion and are excellent at it. There is something about your posts, no matter the lenth, one can't just stop half way. By the time one realizes she is reading a long post, it is the last sentence.
    Well done!

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