In any given moment it’s normal to ask yourself – is this what I need? Is it what I want? Is it the best thing for me? Sometimes, changing direction is the best way of looking for new job opportunities or a better wage. Sometimes, it’s a way of surviving until that grand opportunity you’ve been waiting for arises. On occasion it’s the only way to actually live. Marta, Jesus, Joanne, Jose Ramon and Miriam each have different ages, jobs and accents, but they share one thing in common: they’re not afraid of change.
Monotony versus challenges
Break a leg. That’s what it took for Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, a one-time footballer at Málaga CF, to literally change careers and end up being a Hollywood actor. French-Italian model Carla Bruni, model, singer, sometime-actress and current first lady of France, studied architecture. Before becoming chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel graduated with a Phd from Leipzig.
Not only famous people end up working in something completely different from what they were versed in. José Ramón Martínez, 35, spent eight years working as a human resources consultant. He started to feel that the company didn’t really care for its people, and gradually started to lose motivation. I met him after a year on sabbatical leave he’s got to know other countries and beat out his own path. Today he’s converted his love for travelling into his own socially responsible company, buscounviaje.com (‘I’m looking for a trip.com’). But it wasn’t such an easy decision to make. ‘You’ve got to learn from scratch about a sector which isn’t the one you’ve trained in,’ he explains. ‘It’s psychologically challenging to build a new life that has some purpose to it. Having said that, doubt is an attractive option compared to those of monotony and stress.’
It’s more about controlled uncertainty, the experts say. Positive change requires clear aims and objectives, risk analysis and a capacity to deal with the consequences. Félix Socorro, an expert in entrerprises and author of the book La Teoría del Saltamontes (‘The Grasshopper Theory’) advises making pro- and con- lists and analysing the reality of your objectives.
Dole, professional doubts
Miriam Miranda did just that: analysing her reasons and evaluating her risks. She felt that the journalism world had let her down and a future in it demotivated her. ‘I couldn’t accept dedicating my entire life to journalism what with the crisis and the number of jobseekers increasing,’ she explains. One day a friend mentioned nursing as a career to her. ‘It pays good wages, can lead into other good work opportunities and addressed the regrets I had from wishing I had studied sciences too. I found out that aside from the fact that I had an arts degree, I could get a place reserved for those who already had a degree. ‘But before jumping in headfirst I had to check how deep I'd be going. Luckily, my partner works in the technical department of ER and is a volunteer at the Samur-Protección Civil (a two-tier emergency medical service in Madrid), so he advised me to go for the course first to see if I really would like it. As you can guess, I loved it, and now I am studying nursing.’
British author J.K. Rowling is another example of someone for whom it took time to reach her goals by being cautious. She had always loved writing but hadn’t committed to a literature career until the first successful Harry Potter book was published in 1997. Indeed, she didn’t quit her career as a French teacher until the second edition in the series was published a year later. Something similar happened to Marta Guillán. She only realised she wouldn’t enjoy a career in industrial relations after graduation. She threw herself into fashion design and illustration, which had always been a real passion. She’s working on her own line: ‘I feel lucky that I am working in an industry which I love, let alone like.’ Her change was not only an opportunity, but brought personal satisfaction too.
Miriam, Marta and José Ramón's long voyages still pale in comparison though to Irish actor Sean Connery, who came third in the Mr Universe competitions of 1953. Almost half a century later in 1999, People magazine went on to crown gim as sexiest man of the century. People always make changes for the better.
Images: main (cc) Randy Son Of Robert/ Flickr; (cc) design DM, courtesy of Marta Guillán