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making a career change

TV Video Engineer Makes Career Change at 34

I asked a friend, and former coaching client, Elena Cirillo to share her experience making a big career change at 34. After career coaching, Elena pivoted from working as a live television video engineer to an IT Recruiter. She spent 10 years working for companies like FOX News, and NBC.

What once seemed glamorous, began to take a toll. She was burned out from her long commute, crazy hours, and then the instability of hours when COVID hit. Elena wanted to make a career change but didn’t know how to transfer her skills. She felt defeated and thought it was too late to reinvent herself. 

In my coaching practice, I constantly speak to professionals who want to make a change but are feeling stuck. Often they don’t understand their unique skills and how they can be applied in other ways. Lastly, they are worried about money and think they have to go back to school to change careers. There are always options no matter what your circumstance. 

Fast forward, a few weeks post-coaching, and Elena had landed a new job! She went from commuting 5 days a week in a role that no longer challenged her to largely working remotely as a recruiter in the tech space learning something new. 

Today Elena shares her experience and advice for those who are contemplating making a change:

Making a Career Change at 34

How did working in a job that no longer served you make you feel?

I felt like my life was being wasted. As I’m getting older, time seems to be the only thing of value. Without time, you have nothing. My job consumed a minimum of 12 hours of my life every day. I was cramming my personal life into my work life. Work-life balance wasn’t in my vocabulary. I’m still navigating this new position and it’s not perfect, but it’s 90% better. 

How did coaching support help you to make a career change?

I will always remember that weight lifting off my shoulders when I spoke to Jen. I was in a negative space and had no idea of how to move forward, or where to even start. After our first call, I felt more at peace because she gave me hope.

What was most important to you as you were exploring new jobs?

I wanted to gain more time back to my daily life instead of commuting every day. I wanted to make my own healthy meals and spend time with my dogs, family, and friends. It didn’t seem worth it to trade in my time for a job even if it paid me well.

Were you nervous to leave your job to try something new?

I was confident that if I worked hard, it would all work out. Even though I loved what I did, it was worth taking the risk to gain some of my time back.

Was it challenging to make the transition?

I felt like I was living in a dream. It felt weird to wake up and not have over three hours ahead of me before I started my actual shift. My new job was a hard transition because I had to start from scratch learning a new skill. Being in a partially commission based role required me to learn quickly. I’ve never worked harder. However, having some flexibility with my day, and unlimited earning potential floods me with a peace unmatched to my previous employments. I loved my old jobs but I was never able to enjoy life outside of them. Now I have more balance between personal and work life.  

How has your quality of life improved since your career change?

I can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with whomever I choose. I can run an errand. Working remotely allows me to do my job from wherever I want. When I worked in a studio, it was impossible to do those things.

What advice do you have for people who are feeling stuck and contemplating making a career change?

If you are unhappy then get out! Start over! It’s not worth it to stay stuck in a role that drains you. Take back your time!

Hopefully, Elena’s career change at 34 inspired you to go after what you want. If you need balance, it’s never too late to make a change.