Harvey B. is my college friend, whom I have known for 14 years. In college, he was the first person I turned to when I needed a coding guru who could debug my Visual Basic codes, or a buddy to talk to about a dry business operations class.
Harvey’s transition journey began in college. In his early 20s he did a study exchange in Japan twice in order to master Japanese. While there, he had side jobs, including bagging produce at grocery stores. By the time he graduated, Harvey had a job at the same company where I was starting (and where I have been working since). Interestingly, his role was in Japan and required speaking professional Japanese on a daily basis. In his 30’s, Harvey took a leap of faith and switched from his career in corporate to one in foreign affairs. He now works as a foreign affairs officer and has been moving around the world with his family.
Harvey is a friend I greatly admire – his courage, his constant change, and his curiosity, are all qualities we should aim to have. I hope his story of transition is as inspiring to you as it is to me.
Q1: can you tell me about a professional transition you have had during your career?
From GE to the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.
Q2: thinking back to the time you were starting on your transition, how did you prepare for it? Any fears you had?
Preparation: Graduate school in the middle was a nice easy way to make the transition.
Fears: That old skills might not be valuable or needed in the new job. That I might not like the new job as much as the last. I felt that returning to the old career after trying something new would be embarrassing.
Q3: what are the most significant take-aways from your professional transition?
A job is a job. If you can work one you can likely work another. Don’t underestimate yourself.
Q4: what’s next professional goal you are working toward?
Now I am trying to decide how long I want to stick with this career! Another transition in the future? Who knows.