New Year, New Career: Introducing the Reinvent Yourself Series

BlogHer Original Post

When I think of career transformation, I think of my mother.

My mom married at 21, had five kids and didn't think about working until her early 40s. Talk about reinventing yourself -– she started at zero. She tried on a string of part-time and full-time jobs, some for years. She was a Welcome Wagon hostess, Mary Kay representative, department store saleswoman, office manager for my dad's small engineering firm, and alumni director for a private girl’s high school.

Reinvent Yourself Carol Vranzian Michelle Rafter

My mom, Carole Vranzian, and me.

The perfect fit came when she became her church's wedding planner. It was a job that needed someone as gregarious, organized and detail oriented as she was –- someone who actually liked running around wedding rehearsals, ceremonies and receptions in a dress and heels. Over two decades, she built up a clientele that moved beyond the church to encompass the entire west-side of Portland. By the time she retired last year, she’d orchestrated close to 500 weddings.

It truly was a transformation. But reinventing your career means something different to everyone. For you, it could mean transferring skills you’ve spent decades nurturing to another industry. To someone else it could mean going back to school to learn a new occupation, or taking up the challenge of starting a business.

If you’re making a New Year’s resolution to change your work life, congratulations! We’ve got your back.

For the next two months, BlogHer will be running a series called Reinvent Yourself. In it, we’ll share a new blog post each weekday to help you start reimagining your career.

Once a week, we’ll offer advice from counselors, recruiters and other professionals who work with career changers on a regular basis. We’ll also share weekly stories of women who’ve been down the road to reinvention and can report on what tripped them up, what they learned, and where they are today.

In between, we’ll offer Q & As with educators and graduates of series sponsor Kaplan University on the gamut of issues facing career changers. Topics include everything from using social media for networking to creating a career makeover support system. We’ll also share videos from luminaries in business, government and education offering encouragement and inspiration.

I started my career around the same time my mom started hers. I was lucky to have someone so passionate and happy with her work as a role model. We hope the women we feature in the BlogHer Reinvent Yourself series can be the same kind of role models for you.

Got a career reinvention story you'd like to tell? We’d love to hear about it. Leave the details here, or email me with your story.

Michelle V. Rafter is a Portland, Ore., journalist and blogger who writes about work and business.

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Kaplan University provides a practical, student-centered education that prepares individuals for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org). It serves more than 53,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

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