Embrace Curiosity About Career Change

Apr 11 2019

Mary Burke, Building Brave, Founder & CEO

Mary Burke

Fifteen years ago I changed my career track entirely, moving from the private sector into non-profit and government. I believe everyone can and should dream outside of their current situation, or at least allow yourself a good dose of wonder. You’re not too old to change, nor too young to aspire. Often we stay only as stuck as we keep ourselves. Does that mean everyone can drop everything today? Probably not. And some of us will have that choice made for us due to circumstances beyond our control. Whether you seek change, or change finds you– consider it an opportunity. Allow yourself exploration. Confront your doubts and fears (or those of others) with curiosity and an outlook of what might be possible, and consider these tips from our mentor team.

Take a personal inventory

Carolyn Munoz - Chief Operating Officer at Cybercrime Support Network

Carolyn Munoz

Make a list of the 20 most positive memories of your career. Once you’ve done that, you can find commonalities. I did this and it helped me insure my next position had those elements. – Carolyn Munoz, COO, Cybercrime Support Network


Deb Cooksey, BB Mentor, Associate General Counsel, Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Deb Cooksey

A wise friend gave me the gift of StrengthsFinder Assessment. It was eye opening in that I didn’t recognize some of my habits and ways of operating as strengths. But they are! I’m happy in my current role, but if I weren’t I’d use the assessment indicators to remind me of my strengths and then I’d seek out opportunities in the realm I’m happiest in and most suited for. – Deb Cooksey, Associate General Counsel, Mt. Diablo Unified School District


Cecelia Gore - Executive Director at Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation

Cecelia Gore

I started working for the Brewers at 50. Although my involvement with community and philanthropy did not shift, I began work in a new sector. Think about what you like to do every day, who you want to do it with and go for it! – Cecelia Gore, Executive Director, Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation



Learn from others

Rachael Brunk, Engagement Specialist, Building Brave

Rachael Brunk

I found people through my network, and outside my network through LinkedIn, with roles or careers I found interesting. Then, I asked to set-up short phone calls (15 min) to learn more about their background, role, and their advice for getting a similar position. I had calls with people every week for months and learned a little bit more about what I liked or didn’t every time, which helped me start to narrow my search of a new job/career change that was a better fit for me. It was also helpful to network and meet people along the way. – Rachael Brunk, Engagement Specialist, Building Brave


Robin Douthitt - Emeritus Dean and Professor at U of WI - Madison

Robin Douthitt

Insuring your long term financial security is important. Engage the services of a financial planner who does not sell financial products, and work on a plan to support your retirement needs. If you know you are financially secure you have greater freedom to clearly compare current and new opportunities with a clear eye.- Robin Douthitt, Emeritus Dean & Professor, UW Madison


Volunteer to expand your network and skills

Mary Burke - Founder & CEO of Building Brave

Mary Burke

Taking the first step of learning more is pretty risk-free and you never know where it might lead.- Mary Burke, Founder & CEO, Building Brave


Download Building Brave’s Mobile Mentoring app for more advice from professional women at all ages and stages. Get guidance for your specific situation, or consider fresh voices and perspectives


About the Author

Meghan Wollack


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