Viola Davis is the perfect example of a career move, Oprah masterfully exemplifies a career pivot, and Vera Wang demonstrates how to make a career shift without skipping a beat.
These ladies all made career transitions that were or could be related to something they did prior in life that set them up for a successful change. But what if you want to do something completely different from what you do now? You may have always wanted to do this thing, but your parents and society discouraged you. Or, it may just be an idea that piqued your interest and won’t unoccupy your brain space. Do you just abandon all the hard work you’ve done until this point to get to where you are? Do you disappoint everyone who’s ever helped you to get here?
Today, we’re highlighting a celebrity that made a complete career change late in life. Some may call it a mid-life crisis. But boy, that’s one mid-life crisis gone right!
For context, a complete career change means moving to a different industry, in a different role from where you started, using different skills (either newly learned or transferable skills).
Which is what this celebrity did. Her story is one of perseverance, determination, and the power of pursuing one’s passions. She is a reminder that it is never too late to take a chance on ourselves and follow our dreams, no matter how unconventional they may seem.
Our feature lady started out her career as a psychiatric nurse. However, her early career was not without its challenges. She struggled with alcoholism and went through a divorce, which prompted her to move to California to start a new chapter in her life. It was there that she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an actress.
She was in her forties at the time and had never acted professionally, but she was determined to make a career transition into the entertainment industry. At the age of 42, she enrolled in a local community college to study acting. She worked odd jobs to make ends meet, including selling Avon and working as a typist. She later moved to Hollywood and began auditioning for roles. Despite facing numerous rejections, she refused to give up on her dream.
Finally, at the age of 56, this amazing lady landed her first acting gig on the television show “Family Matters.” From there, she went on to appear in several other popular shows, including “The West Wing,” “Scrubs,” and “Desperate Housewives.” She won two Emmy Awards for her role as Karen McCluskey on “Desperate Housewives,” which she played until the show ended in 2012. She was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.
So who is this brave and inspirational woman?
None other than Kathryn Joosten.
It’s easy to look at someone’s ending or middle and think they have it all figured out, and “of course” they made it to where they are because they are them–the illustrative celebrity.
But it’s quite another thing to know someone’s journey. The nitty gritty. The challenges and the wins. To understand that Ms. Joosten faced ageism at every point of her career transition and made it. To know she had to overcome alcoholism and get herself together. To value the fact that she didn’t give up at the point of the last rejection that came before her first “yes.”
Kathryn Joosten’s journey is a stark reminder that it’s never too late to pursue the career we really want–the career that will allow us to live the lives we want to live, no matter how unconventional, or the barriers that we might face.
If you’re dreaming of making a complete change from where you are now, I invite you to book a career transition strategy call with me. We’ll get you a blueprint to see if what you’re dreaming of doing really is possible.
Always in your corner,