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Changing careers
Career & Finance

Why were you inspired to do this?

I have always loved art and design, but never considered it a viable career until web design started becoming popular in the late 90's. By that time I was pretty entrenched in following a career in politics and law, and by the time I passed the bar and had an office in a medium-sized law firm, I was miserable. My boyfriend really encouraged me to find a job I loved that would utilize my talents.

What were 3 things you did to make this happen?

First, I had to get over the fact that I spent a lot of time and money to become a lawyer. Even though it would be very difficult to pay back student loans, and I would resent having to pay for something I wasn't using, I had to realize that one (albeit large) mistake shouldn't ruin the rest of my life.

This sounds silly, but I also had to get up the courage to leave. I bought a workbook on changing careers and it helped immensely to realize that this was the right thing to do, and it gave me step by step advice and a plan for doing it. It took about three months, so I had to have enough support financially to take that much time off.

Because I was never trained as a graphic or web designer, I had to take on some free or very cheap freelance projects to build a portfolio. Once I had a few projects together, I signed on with a couple creative agencies who were instrumental in getting me interviews for creative jobs.

How did you feel once you had accomplished this?

Triumphant. The feeling of freedom I experienced after realizing I never had to go back to billable hours and writing motions was totally exhilarating, and the fact that I get to do such unique creative work on such a wide variety of projects every day is fantastic. It was absolutely worth it.

Additional notes and tips:

If you think you can't, think again.

4/27/2016 3:20:16 PM

i like apples bruh. lots of apples. like 6 apples bruh

1/9/2011 7:29:31 AM

Congratulations, we have linked your story on the My Life List 90 (#5) to inspire others. Thank you so much for sharing this great story.

12/16/2009 6:28:09 PM

Jessica, this is a great story. I to have changed careers (a couple of times actually) and had initial similar issues with feeling like I had thrown away everything I learnt and the cost associated with that. But I found it only added to your next career because as person you become a more rounded individual. Good on you for taking the plunge and I'm glad you enjoy being creative :)

10/16/2009 5:16:46 PM

Jessica, I love this story! It's all about possibility, isn't it? If you had never tried, you would never have known how much more you could be, that you could really be happy. Are you finding many jobs? If you're freelancing still, give a shout. I have a lot of media contacts who might be able to use your services depending on your specialties. Best of luck! Shelagh

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