Changing careers: Tips from someone who's been there

Bruce Watson

As layoffs, financial shakeups, and an uncertain future wreak havoc upon the economy, more and more people are contemplating major career changes.

Personally, I went through this process last year, when I switched from a comfortable, benefit-laden teaching job to an uncertain, unstable career as a freelance writer. However, since I made pretty much every mistake possible in my quest for a new career, I thought that it would be helpful to talk to someone who made the move with far fewer mistakes and a great deal more élan.

Until a few years ago, David Herr was securely employed as a structural engineer. His clientele was largely comprised of private homeowners who were dealing with various household problems. However, after working for 20 years in the business, he found his work drying up and he was burning out. A dedicated cook for most of his life, David decided that he wanted to become a professional chef. Over the next few years, he picked up a new skill set, started a new career, and learned a few basics that can ease the transition from one job to another.