*** “Group Wisdom” is a new series where I reach out to members of the Moxie community for advice on best business practices. Members are chosen at random from our Moxie membership list — you might be hearing from me soon! ***
Many of us have had a few different past “work lives” — different occupations, job titles, and entire careers! In fact, the Bureau of Labor statistics states that Boomers on average held about 11.9 different jobs before the age of 50. Current studies show that Millennials are on a similar track.
That got me wondering: What “former life” job(s) did you have that might surprise us…and how did your experiences contribute to the work you do now?
To see how Women with Moxie have done it, I reached out to a few of our members at random. Here is some of the wisdom I received in response:
“As a money coach, I definitely value my experiences in my previous careers. Money coaching requires that I not be intimidated by numbers (although I assure you, anyone can use their gifts to be good at money, even without being ‘good at math!’ I am miserable at basic arithmetic and I have the elementary test scores to prove it!). It also requires empathy and creativity to help people heal their relationship with money.
I have had two major careers since college, and they both give me power and experience in my journey to help others heal their relationship with money. I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and worked in that field for five years. I then transitioned into interaction design, which involves designing the flows and screens for software products.
I am very proud of the work I did in both of those careers, and I love the way I was able to use my logical brain and my creative brain. I worked with my own relationship with money throughout both of these careers and finally realized that was my true calling: helping others with their money stories and journeys.
In my first career in electrical engineering, I learned how to take a large problem and break it down into a lot of smaller problems. AIn my second career in design, I received the gift of learning to trust my creative intuition. Sometimes I arrive at a solution without having any idea how I got there, and I have learned to trust those instincts. Both of these skills together have combined to make my approach to money coaching integrative and flexible. I have a curiosity to keep pushing at the boundaries of what I and my clients are doing, to find newer, better, and more empathetic ways of finding joy and peace with money.“
– Cecilia Case, Money Coach, Bountiful Money, LLC
“When I graduated from college I was one of the few of my generation who actually knew what I wanted to do. During my junior year I’d learned about the development profession and sought out opportunities for internships in fundraising, alumni engagement, and donor relations. As a history major I loved doing research on individuals to determine if they would be inclined and able to make a philanthropic donation.
For almost 20 years I worked in educational advancement. After living abroad for seven years — five of which included establishing an advancement office at the Women’s College within the University of Queensland — I found myself back in Portland working at a small, independent school. The individuals I was working with were not philanthropic at heart. In fact, the sense I gained from my peers in the industry was that philanthropy was dead. We were in an era where donations were a means to an end — transactional. And personally, I was just going through the motions. My heart wasn’t in the profession anymore, it was with my family.
The impetus for our return to Oregon was my father’s diagnosis of stage IV cancer. He was dying and there was no way that I would not be close by for the last months of his life. During this time I realized that I had found a new passion — something that I very deeply felt needed to be addressed: end-of-life caregiving. Two weeks after my father’s death I quit my job. Four months later I founded Caregiven with zero experience in the start-up or for-profit sector. Neither an expert in caregiving or technology, I was certain I could make a difference in how people supported their dying loved ones.
Mentally I divorced myself form my first career. How could relationship building and fundraising serve me in this start-up? Slowly I’ve realized that every experience in my life has contributed to the work that I’m now doing…What I’ve really come to realize is that everything in my first career has led me to my second — I just hadn’t realized it was within me. I’ve spent a lot of time encouraging women returning to the workforce to look at the skills they’ve developed as a volunteer and at-home parent for what they are: true skills to be championed in a resume and talked about in an interview. I just didn’t do that for myself. Yet point for point I can identify all the hard lessons I learned in my first career as making this second one successful!”
– Candice Smith, Founder & CEO, Caregiven
How has YOUR history led you to the important work you now do? Please let us know in the comments!