Choosing a New Career Path

Alexander Djerassi, the Bay Area foreign policy expert, loves what he does. He puts his heart and soul into his foreign policy and his entrepreneurial experiences.

Nevertheless, Djerassi has numerous friends and acquaintances that have not been so lucky. They have had to forge a new career path. Sometimes more than once.

In the end though, as Billy Joel sang, “I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life. Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone.” Whatever floats your boat as long as it makes you happy is the American way and it’s a good lesson on careers to keep in mind.

Want to stand up, just do it. Want to make custom furniture for a living? Some of the happiest people on earth are craftsmen. Want to invent a new version of the pet rock or create an Etch a Sketch type toy that is bright, glittery purple with orange type. Just maybe the world is ready for it.

So What Should You Consider in Choosing a New Career Path?

Number one is to assess your obligations and your responsibilities. If you have a wife and three kids and want to go to Tahiti to paint, well how is that going to work out?

We’re not saying that it can’t be done. But if you have family obligations and want to keep them, then you had best choose a career path that allows you to balance those responsibilities with your new career.

Number Two is to Honestly Assess Your Talents

Many in the arts particularly, have delusions of making quick money as rappers, singers, artists, or writers. And their friends, not wanting to disappoint, just cheer along and say, “You can do it!”

However, life is not a Nike commercial, and for everyone who becomes a rapper, a singer, a dancer or a professional basketball player, there are thousands who failed. Always remember that the bigger the rewards, the steeper the climb.

But to assess whether you actually have a talent for such fields, work like hell to interview professionals in the field. No, Madonna or Jay Z isn’t likely to be available for a consultation, but there are many people around them that are, and generally, they will be Cruel to be Kind if you don’t have the chops for the career.

Alexander Djerassi encourages those wishing to change their career path, to do research about what it really takes to get into the field. If you think being a dentist is cool, be sure you know everything about being a dentist before applying to dental school.

Number Three is to Intern

More people have become successful at a new career by offering to intern for free.

Singer Rick Astley made coffee for a year for his music studio before his big break came.

Want to break into Hollywood. Read scripts for roughly $2 an hour. Want to build custom furniture. Offer to intern with a craftsman so that you really learn the ropes. There is a way to a new career path, but in most careers, you need to have experience. Doing an internship is the best way.