How To Reinvent Yourself Without Ruining Your Career

Richard Feloni

It happens all the time: Recent college grads take a job that doesn't excite them but provides financial security.

By the time they hit 30, they're well into their career and have adjusted their lifestyle to their income. And by 40, they realize they're stuck with the job they chose only to make money, and that they may have forever set aside the pursuit they're most passionate about.

Similarly, those who do pursue their passions may be struck by the desire to branch out and try something new, but are afraid of ruining their financial stability.

So what are you supposed to do when you want to get more from life without ruining the career that took years to build?

In the latest episode of business guru Tim Ferriss' podcast, WIRED magazine's founding executive editor Kevin Kelly explains that it's never too late to adjust your career, but you should be careful not to dismiss everything you've worked so hard for.

Kelly tells Ferriss, who himself admits he's been wondering about where to take his career, about how he should look at reinvention:

"I think you can experiment your way through this. You can do this incrementally. You can take small steps and do something, evaluate it, test how it's going... and then you continue in that direction... I don't think it requires you to walk out and leave a burning pile behind."

He says that it's common for people who are unsatisfied with their job to revert to a passion they had as a child, whether that be art or music or anything else. And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as they're realistic.

If you've made a good living as a stock broker for your entire professional life but would like to become an entrepreneur, that doesn't make you crazy. But don't dismiss the fact that you're good at trading and immediately rush into something new. He explains:

"It took you 37 years to get where you are; it could take you another 30 years to get where you want to go. And I don't think you should feel impatient... I don't think you should imagine that you should have another hat on with a new label next year."

Ferriss tells Kelly that he can't help but feeling impatient, and Kelly says he understands. He recommends thinking of life in increments, so that you have aspirations without feeling overwhelmed.

For example, he says, imagine that you have only six months to live and a billion dollars — what would you like to accomplish? Take those goals, adjust them to your actual situation as necessary, and give yourself a deadline to realize them, whether it's an actual six months or five years.

Kelly shares plenty more wisdom gained from his own life and conversations with some of the world's most influential people in the interview with Ferriss, part one of which is currently available on iTunes.

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