The Silver Lining in Unexpected Career Changes

April 13, 2022
Suzanne Murdoch

Few of us start out in our “perfect-fit” job, but many of us have historically stayed in jobs that weren’t a love match.

Amin Tabrizi PT ’22

Change is difficult, and the status quo can become comfortable. Days roll into months, then years. Sadly, some never rise above their j-o-b to find a career that truly feeds their soul.

But there’s a change in the air. The last couple of years have brought seismic shifts in the work landscape. More people are working from home while others have found themselves out of work through no fault of their own. And a surprising number of individuals are simply walking away from work as they have known it. There’s even a phrase coined to describe the phenomenon – The Great Resignation. “Comfortable” is perhaps the last descriptor we might use to describe today’s work climate.

But in the uncertainty, there is a silver lining. We are throwing out the old work paradigm to embrace new possibilities. This isn’t about meeting someone else’s expectations or fitting ourselves into a traditional career model, but forging our own path. And that new path is often defined not by a cubicle and a laptop, but by our own imagination and industry.

Michael Carlin PT ’22

For example, there is a boom in the creation of small businesses. For the 11-month period ending November 2021, that boom translated to an increase of 55 percent over the same period in 2019. These are individuals who have decided to invest in themselves and their vision rather than work for someone else.

Other individuals tapped into long-term interests to transform themselves. Basic Piano Technology student Amin Tabrizi PT ’22, covered in a recent PBS News Hour segment, turned to piano tuning after losing his position as a first officer for an airline. “I used to play piano, and I was always interested in looking inside of this thing, [seeing so many] moving parts. So that kind of rejuvenated that urge to one day do it.” Another student in the same class, Michael Carlin PT ’22, was a highly successful immigration lawyer who won a landmark case in the Supreme Court. Career burnout spurred him in a different direction. Also a pianist, he said in an interview with WBUR’s Morning Edition“I’m never going to get to Carnegie Hall by playing. Maybe I can get there by tuning.”

Madeline Grant Colety CA ’22

Madeline Grant Colety CA ’22, also profiled in the PBS segment, left her two-decade career as an urban planner to study Carpentry at NBSS. A mother to two college-age children, it wasn’t an easy decision. “But the pandemic made me think harder about how our individual decisions affect our community and the local impact we have.”

In fact, many of our NBSS students are on a personal journey of radical transformation. Our President, Sarah Turner, has re-framed the term “Great Resignation” to “Great Redirection”—to acknowledge this moment when so many are assessing what their values are and what lifestyle they truly want. It’s a path many more are taking as they discover their own silver lining in times of change. If you’re in the process of re-examining your priorities and passions, consider building your own life by hand and check out all that NBSS has to offer.

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