I was a registered nurse and began my career as an officer in the U.S. Navy. After completing active duty, I worked at the NIH and then a community hospital. I was asked to become their nurse recruiter assigned to Human Resources. I enjoyed this work and decided to use my G.I. Bill benefits to obtain a degree in Business with a major in HR and Labor Relations. After completing my degree, I accepted a Human Resource director position at a large metropolitan hospital. I assumed many different roles and responsibilities over the years as I was promoted to corporate Vice President. Many of the projects and problems I had to solve have helped me develop my business.
After 10 years working in corporate America, I decided to open my own business. I started a group benefits consulting practice; my former boss was one of my first clients. My clients were members of the medical community, helping them develop their employee benefits, advising on personnel issues and often helping the owners develop their personal financial plans.
When I changed careers, I had to teach myself the business and find the resources to learn the products, systems and processes. I wanted to obtain the appropriate professional credentials to properly advise my clients. Several colleagues pointed me to the right educational resources.
Some find the “leap” from nursing to financial advisor strange. As a nurse I was concerned with someone’s physical health and as an advisor I am focused on clients’ financial health. Both involve integrity, professional knowledge, intent listening, excellent communications skills, exceptional follow-though and accurate documentation. Both fields deal with sensitive information. You must be able to help people feel at ease talking about their fears and biggest concerns. As an advisor you must also be able to give sound advice, at times being firm in your convictions and willing to walk away from those who do not value your help.
Running your own business requires discipline and conviction. Being the “boss” lets you set your own hours and schedule. But at times you feel like you are never off duty. Over the years I have set perimeters on my work life so that I have been able to enjoy watching my twin sons grow up. They are now seniors in college and will have no college debt.
Any career change offers opportunity. Build a new career around your strengths. Surround yourself with good people who are willing to share and don’t hold knowledge and resources as protected. Successful people are eager to share what they know and help others, that’s why they got to be at the top of their field.
She did it, so can you.
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