I was lucky in high school. Rather than work in fast food, I got a “real job” with a telecom giant, where I could work part time and still go to school. The pay was good, and I worked there all through college, and even afterward. But when I got an opportunity to live in Paris for a while, and I bid them goodbye, my co-workers were shocked. What about my seniority? What about the retirement benefit I could get in only 40 more years? It didn’t matter to me so I quit my job.
Later I returned to that same company, for five years in management. But I’ve also been a journalist, a bank teller, a real estate manager, a retail regional manager, an executive recruiter, a census supervisor, the office manager for a community theatre, and all sorts of odd things just to pay the bills. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about saying goodbye, and also what it takes to start again.
Don’t be too proud to re-start at the bottom. My first big career change as an adult came after a fast-track management program, and years of supervisory experience. But even though managing people doesn’t change much from one industry to the next, my new prospective employer (a grand old department store) wanted retail experience.
So, I started again at the bottom. But I let them know that I would learn everything I could, because I fully intended to move up. And within a year, they created a higher level position…with my name on it.