part 1 of career shape-shifting: the parachute dilemma

Starting a business is no easy task. It’s been a tough road just getting to the point where I know it’s what I want to do, and my blogging has largely been silent on this. Now, with the spectacles of hindsight, I think can write about it in a coherent, non-whiny manner.

This is the first of several posts looking back on my 1-year journey into entrepreneurship. It started with figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

When I left the real world of work just over a year ago, I knew I only had one more chance at this career change thing. Let’s face it, I’m almost 40, my husband and I have 2 kids to raise, and we’re pretty sure there are no trust funds out there waiting for us to come of age.

I had graduated from Boston University with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. “What the hell were you planning to do with that?” you ask — everyone asked. Truth is, I didn’t care. I liked reading and I liked writing, and I could still take plenty of art classes as electives. I quickly decided law school was not my gig… and thus began my “multi-faceted” (read “directionless”) career.

I have been a retail manager, furniture salesperson, prenatal/infant care expert, event planner, marketing/PR specialist, investor relations manager, legal assistant, administrative assistant, and stock broker assistant. What to do with this crazy cocktail of experience was completely beyond me.

So I sought out a career counselor. I looked into independent career counselors, and found that they charge upwards of $125/hour. That’s our weekly grocery budget! This was clearly out of the question. But wow, what a great gig these independent consultants have. Then I remembered how fortunate I am to be living in the city of my alma mater.

I gave the BU Center for Career Development a call. When I went to BU, it was called the Office of Career Services. It was in a basement of a building on Deerfield St in Kenmore Square and smelled like a basement. These days, it’s a “Center” that “develops” you rather than “serves.” It has also moved up to swanky digs on the 3rd floor, about to move into swankier new digs in a brand new building across the street. I think they’ve figured out that if they do a better job of helping liberal arts majors like me make a ton of money, they’ll get a piece of that in alumni donations.

As an alum, I was eligible for three counseling sessions and two assessment tests for the bargain price of $90. This was a steal, and I’d be crazy to turn it down. Plus, I LOVE taking personality tests.

Tune in next week for Part 2 of Career Shape-Shifting: “INFP”

SIDE NOTE:  If you’ve never perused the Work/Career section of your local bookstore, the blog title refers to “What Color Is Your Parachute?” which I read in my 20s. Please don’t take my recent state of career confusion as evidence the book fails its intended purpose. It’s a fabulous book. My career track derailment has more to do with variable commitment on my part than anything else.


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