“The only way to great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” —Steve Jobs
It’s not easy to find a career path that keeps you successful and happy at work. While some people know exactly how they want their professional life to pan out from an early age, others keep looking for years. If you are unhappy with where your career is headed, it’s never too late to consider a switch.
If you need inspiration, here are some amazing stories about successful people who switched their career paths and made it big:
Jeff BezosAmazon’s founder and chairman, Jeff Bezos, is the world’s richest man as per Forbes’ 2018 Billionaires list with a US$150 billion fortune. Not many people are aware that he actually spent his 20s job-hopping through multiple roles in finance & technology. After graduating from Princeton, he started his first job at a financial telecommunications start-up Fitel. The company didn’t take-off, so after two years he started working with Banker’s Trust (which is now a part of Deutsche bank) and advanced to Vice President in two years. He then took up a job at the hedge fund D.E.Shaw and once again, became one of the senior VPs within a two-year time frame. Around this time, Bezos developed a fascination for the fast growing Internet and decided to start an online bookstore. So he quit his job, launched Amazon, and the rest is history.
Martha StewartHer first job was as a model in New York during university, but after graduating from Barnard College with a degree in art and architectural history, she started a career as a stockbroker on Wall Street. After moving to Connecticut with her husband, she took up the task of renovating an 1805 farmhouse and thus took her first step towards building her lifestyle brand. She then started a catering company out her basement, which become a million dollar business. After the publication of her first cookbook, she booked appearances on TV shows, and it’s no secret how big of a lifestyle empire she’s built. Soon, she was a ‘one-woman, multimillion-dollar industry’ who became synonymous with at-home cooking and decorating.
Jonah PerettiA 22-year-old Jonah Peretti graduated from the University of California in 1996 and took up a job as a computer science educator, teaching middle schoolers how to use Microsoft Office. He had his first taste of viral fame after an email thread between him and Nike exploded, and in 2005, he switched careers in order to co-found The Huffington Post, dipping his toes into the world of media and content. A year later, he founded Buzzfeed with the aim of tracking viral content: the website is now the go-to source for all digital content from news to food recipes.
Vera WangA fashion mogul today, Vera Wang’s first industry of choice was actually sports. In her younger days, she was a figure skater with aspirations of making it to the Olympic Games. But multiple failed attempts made her realise that she was not likely to succeed, so she left that dream behind and became a fashion journalist. After 15 years in the industry, went on to become the senior fashion editor at Vogue and eventually took a job as design director at Ralph Lauren. Her first design was for her very own wedding dress, and at the age of 40 she opened her first bridal boutique. Her brand is one of the top choices for brides over the world and is estimated to have a net retail value upwards of one billion dollars annually.
Julia ChildAfter graduating from Smith College in 1934, Julia Child began her career in advertising. When World War II broke out, she did her part by joining the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. She met her husband Paul when she was posted to Ceylon, and the couple eventually moved to Paris in 1948. It was then that Julia discovered her love for cooking. She followed her culinary passion, took classes at the legendary Le Cordon Bleu, and started working on a French cookbook for American audience. She spent the next ten years of her life on research and writing of their eight-hundred page Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was followed by a wildly successful televised cooking show, which made her a culinary veteran.
See? It’s never too late to start something new.