I recently asked some vocationer alums in our LinkedIn Alumni group what words of wisdom they had for people who were newly heading into career transition — by choice or by lay-off.  Here’s some great words of wisdom from vocationer alum, Mark Solomon:

Dear New Vocationer, 

Congratulations! You are about to have an experience that may change the direction of your life. Here’s one alum’s story: 

I was a trial attorney for a Fortune 500 insurance company. This past April, they announced that they were being acquired. I was familiar with the new owners, and as it turned out, I accurately predicted their timetable for eliminating my position and closing my office. 

Since the age of about 8, I have been a musician; I started playing paying gigs with my band at age 11. For me, being a lawyer was about having a stable and secure source of income for my family, while I pursued music on the side. For the past several years, and certainly in today’s economy, I no longer believe that any profession is stable or secure. 

Last spring I met with a career coach and read the usual self-help career books. Almost by accident, over the summer I recalled a long forgotten interest I had in sound engineering. I enrolled in a sound design certificate program offered at NYU’s continuing education division. 

Then, as a surprise birthday gift, I received a Vocation Vacation to work for two days in September at a television production company as a music director. My VV coach, Harry Rodenhi spoke with me at length about the best ways to approach my VV and how to maximize its potential. Following the VV Harry introduced me to another VVer who successfully realized his dream to become a songwriter. My mentor at the TV production studio offered invaluable advice about the career in general, professional organizations to join, what equipment I needed to get started, and where to find it at the best prices. 

As a result of my VV experience, my contacts and experience in the field of professional audio grew exponentially. Two months after my VV, I am the owner of Aural Histories, a mobile recording facility for music, sound design, spoken word, and visual media. 

It won’t always be easy, and it won’t always be fun. But as you explore a new career path, try to look at the current economic climate as an invitation and an opportunity for you to write a brand new chapter in your autobiography. 

I wish you the best of luck,