What's the most unusual career change you've ever seen?

Last night, I took a dive down an Internet rabbit hole, and one of the side tunnels took me to a story about a physician who, in middle age, gave up the practice of medicine, and joined (and expanded) her husband’s interior decorating and building business.

She died several years ago, and the business appears to still be going strong.

What have other people seen, or done themselves?

Mark “Chopper” Read had a career change from being a violent stand over man to an author of children’s books.

I was a hospice caregiver (CNA) for 14 years before becoming an English teacher in a boarding school.

Nothing I did or saw, but Ceowulf, reigned as King of Northumbria for eight years then resigned to become a monk at Lindisfarne in 738.

My wife’s second cousin (her mom’s cousin) had a long career as an aerospace engineer at McDonnell Douglas; she retired from there in her 50s, went to seminary, and became an ordained Lutheran minister.

Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle fame went on to become a racecar driver after wrapping up his acting career, and also dabbled in parking lot management and owned an olive oil & specialty vinegars shop at one point.

There was a PhD Chemical Engineer working in the aerospace industry until he was let go because he spent too much time on his outside real estate interests. He eventually went into the sports business.

Jerry Buss

I’ve had a pretty good variety. Carnival worker, cook, carpenter, bartender, ski shop manager, ER RN, race car owner/driver, college instructor, pro ski patrol.

I worked with a software engineer who quit in middle age to work with her (recent 2nd) husband driving semi rigs. She went through the training and took right to it, and then they worked as a team, so they could drive longer between sleep stops or something (I don’t know the precise rules about that). Then a few years later, her grandmother died and so she quit trucking and they moved to the grandmother’s farm, while her husband kept trucking until he retired a few years ago. They live in a solid one-room house in the Ozarks with a wood stove for both cooking and heating, solar for most of their electricity, and other modern conveniences. She liked to make and dye yarn, so she was raising various animals for that for a while, but I don’t think she’s doing that now. They are the happiest couple I know.

As I think about it, my mom had an interesting career path:

  • Fashion model
  • Airline stewardess
  • Realtor
  • Hardware store co-owner and bookkeeper
  • Kitchen and bathroom designer
  • Department store clerk

Before your last line I was going to say that they sound like a very happy couple!

When I lived in San Francisco I had a friend who was a lawyer but wasn’t happy in his work. So he joined the SF Fire Department and has been very happy ever since.

A woman I knew in high school became an attorney and did that for a few years, and then her Linked In has a 7-year gap, presumably when she was raising young children, and then she went back to college and got a teaching degree, and has been teaching HS history ever since. (Probably what she wanted to do all along, but her family really pushed her to do either law or medical school.)

And a HS classmate, who graduated in the top 10 of a class of more than 500, is a professor of astrophysics AND an ordained pastor in the Disciples of Christ.

One of my previous bosses was originally a radio journalist in the USSR, then came to the US and became a computer programmer, and eventually a manager of software engineers (which is how I met her).

I have a relative who was a block print and pen-and-ink artist, then a social worker.

My father went to law school and practiced for about a year and a half before leaving to become a teacher.

I used to know a guy who worked as an office drone for a shipping company. When he got laid off from that, he sold everything he owned and became a Dominican monk.

I worked simultaneously with a long-time lawyer who left law to become a middle school teacher, abd a middle-school teacher who left to become a lawyer. (it was a law-related job that used community volunteers to help teens)

I went to a literary lunch featuring Anthony Bourdain. One of the guys sitting at my table was an apprentice chef in a Sydney restaurant. He had recently retired from his job as a TV journalist with the ABC. He assured us that he was the oldest apprentice in Australia.

Is her name Barbie?