Are you having doubts about your career path but worry it’s too late to make a change? There’s no denying the fact that striking out in a different direction can be daunting. There will always be those niggling doubts that things won’t work out as you plan. If you’re finding it difficult to make a change, the following real-life stories might give you the courage you’re looking for. These four inspirational figures show that it’s never too late to change careers.
- Vera Wang
She may be one of the world’s best known fashion designers, but Vera Wang didn’t start out creating iconic clothes. In fact, she didn’t enter the industry as a designer until the age of 40. In school, she had tried her hand at competitive figure skating, competing in the US Figure Skating Championships. She later graduated from college with a degree in art history before starting her working life as a journalist at Vogue, where she stayed for 17 years. In 1987 when she was 38 years old, she left to join Ralph Lauren. Then, just two years later, she resigned to become an independent designer. Her high profile career has seen her design gowns for the likes of Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham and Michelle Obama.
2. Jonah Peretti
Graduating in 1996 with a degree in environmental studies, Jonah Peretti began his career as a technology teacher at a school in New Orleans. He then embarked on a postgrad at MIT. However, while at the university, he became an internet sensation virtually overnight thanks to a terse email exchange with Nike that went viral. Inspired by this, he went on to cofound the Huffington Post along with Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lehrer. Soon afterwards, he set up Buzzfeed, putting him at the forefront of a new trend of social news and entertainment.
- Sara Blakely
Becoming the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2012, Spanx founder Sara Blakely cemented her position as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. The start of her career was very different though. After graduating with a degree in communications, she took various jobs, including a role at Walt Disney World. She then moved to office supply company Danka, where she became a salesperson and then a sales trainer. Her big break came when she had the idea of cutting the feet off a pair of tights to create a comfortable undergarment that couldn’t be seen under clothes and could be worn with open-toed shoes. Realising she was onto a good thing, she invested $5,000 of her own savings into marketing her invention and her fledgling business quickly took off.
4. Dan Meredith
His story may be less high-profile, but Dan Meredith’s career change is equally compelling. Now the assistant owner of a marketing company and with plans to establish his own business, he transformed his life when he moved into direct sales as a self-employed brand ambassador for a company contracted to the Appco UK network. Before this, he had been a mental health carer and was living from pay cheque to pay cheque, sometimes struggling to cover his rent. In a blog on the Appco Group website, he revealed that making the switch to his new role wasn’t easy to begin with, but he progressed rapidly. Within eight months, he’d become a crew leader and after just a year and a half, he had risen to the position of assistant owner. In the Appco blog, he described being able to fully support himself and his family as “the best feeling in the world”.