Previous life: IT quality assurance manager
Why he did it: After 35 years in the IT field, my position was moved overseas. As I job-hunted, I realized my heart wasn’t in the field any longer. I had a cousin in the voice over business who helped me find a coach.
How he succeeded: After building a small recording studio in my home, I began writing scripts and producing videos featuring my voiceovers. I auditioned up to six or seven times a day. After nearly six months, I landed my first job, and soon I was working nearly every day.
What you need to know: If your career isn’t making you jump for joy that the alarm clock just went off, what are you doing there? Find one that does!
Previous life: Art Director for LEGO
How you can do it: “Building giant LEGO installations, such as the world’s largest Cinderella Castle in Orlando, was a childhood dream come true. I studied architecture and joined the company right out of college. After 24 years, my job was outsourced abroad. I was lucky to know in advance. I dusted off my other childhood dream — becoming a librarian.”
What you can learn: “I fast-tracked a two-year master’s degree in Library Science in 15 months. I followed that with an internship, but my internship director told me, ‘there’s no place for you here. No one retires.’ When I graduated in 2011, she called me. Someone had retired. I live a charmed life.”
What you need to know: “I miss paid vacation. There are few full-time librarian jobs unless you’re a director.
How she did it: I had been a flight attendant for 33 years. One night, I had a vivid dream about how to invent a new product that would decorate the outside of a handbag while preventing keys from getting lost. The next morning, I fashioned a rough prototype.
How she succeeded: I invested $130,000 and ordered 200,000 units. With a sales squadron of flight attendants doing multilevel marketing, my concept took off.
What you need to know: As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to turn on a dime as the business changes.
Previous life: Electrician
Why he did it: My father always wanted me to be a lawyer. I wondered if, at age 58, I was too old to try it.
How he did it: I found out where the LSAT was being given, studied for it and took it. I did well enough on the test to get admitted. I attended Whittier Law; I was older than all but one of my professors, but I joined an elder society and my peers helped. I passed the Nevada bar and set up office with a lawyer friend.
What you need to know: My school loans are about $200,000. I set up a minimum payment plan that works with my income.