Life Lessons From Switching Careers

I almost never do this, but I’m going to write a blog post all about myself. There will be no recipes or nutrition tips in this post. Instead, I will tell you about my career change to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

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I recently realized that nowhere on my site does it say that Nutrition is my second career. I used to work in Advertising Sales for major television networks. It was a career that I stumbled upon after college, but I never really felt fulfilled. I spent two years getting acquainted with the world of advertising, and then I spent the next two years figuring out how I could get out of the world of advertising.

IMG_3916            When I was 26, I knew that I needed to make a change but to what? “Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life.” You’ve heard that saying, right? This kept popping into my head. I thought about what I love to do, and two things came to mind: cooking healthy meals and exercising. These were my hobbies, but could they be my career? After much research and contemplation, I decided to pursue a career in Nutrition.

That was 5 years ago. Now I’m taking my RD exam in a few weeks and am very happy to say I have accepted a job offer as Dietitian Specialist with Restaurant Associates. I will be working as a Dietitian, helping to manage a café that is health and wellness focused at an Investment Bank in NYC. Everyday, I will work with food and nutrition and I couldn’t be more excited!

You may be wondering what occurred in my life during the past 5 years. Well, many classes and many hours spent babysitting and a few valuable life lessons.  I thought I would share these lessons for anyone thinking of switching careers or anyone who is just interested in what I’ve been through.

  • Be okay with taking risks. I think two of the most stressful points in my life were waiting for Grad school admission and worrying about finding a job. I convinced myself that there was a possibility that both weren’t going to happen (but it all obviously worked out)! If they didn’t work out, I would have figured out a way to keep going. I always had to keep in mind that changing careers involves a great deal of risk and worry, but the reward is totally worth it!
  • Networking is key! Networking is so important in any career, but it’s really important when you leave a career behind to start over. Throughout my schooling, I didn’t go to weird networking events and blindly introduce myself to strangers, but I did get to know many different nutrition professionals. I was interested in people’s jobs and asked them questions, and I always took on as many nutrition related side jobs as possible. I did a ton of things for free, but it paid off in the end when I got called for an awesome position.
  • Don’t listen to what others tell you that you have to do. Everyone in my life was very supportive of me changing careers. However, when it came time to figure out what I wanted to do within the field of nutrition, many RD’s told me that I had to go where the jobs were, even if that wasn’t my passion. I absolutely refused to believe this. I networked my butt off to make sure that I had as many opportunities as possible. Be determined to do what you want and don’t let people tell you otherwise!
  • Realize that your life will be very different than your friends. When I went back to Grad school, my friends all had careers, money, and free time. They were able to go out on dates at night while I was in class or babysitting. I didn’t think about this ahead of time, but I don’t regret my decision. I will eventually have time to do all of those things.
  • Give it everything you have. Let’s face it, no one ever got anywhere by half-assing it. If you don’t give your new career your all then you will never fully succeed. Know what you want and work your hardest to make it happen!

In the end, the most important thing I learned was to follow my passion. Now I will “never work a day in my life”. Are you a career changer? What have you learned along the way?

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29 thoughts on “Life Lessons From Switching Careers

  1. Elizabeth says:

    What a fantastic blog piece- you go girl! That new career sounds so fascinating- I’ve always wanted to work in a cafe that has an emphasis on healthier menu items. I couldn’t agree with your key points more- networking really has helped get me to where I am today! Way to go Natalie!

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  2. shawsimpleswaps says:

    Oh no! It just deleted my novel of a comment! Anyways, way to go girl! You are spot on in your pointers and I am so jealous of your new gig-how exciting! Can’t wait to hear more as you begin this new journey!

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  3. Donna Fletcher says:

    Thanks for sharing such a positive message! Just as the seasons change (okay… maybe not so much in Florida!) our own “season” changes all too often as well. Congratulations for not only becoming a RD, but for being brave enough to follow your passion! I know you’ll do great and thanks for all of your advice.

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    • Nutrition a la Natalie says:

      Thanks for reading Donna! I feel like everyone has been wondering what I’ve been doing the past few years, so I figured I would share. It definitely took some bravery, and I won’t pretend that there weren’t moments of doubt. But I’m glad I did it! Thanks for the kind words!

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  4. Julie says:

    Just discovered your blog. I’m a second career dietitian as well. And you’re right. Be ok with taking risks and do what you love. I need to write a similar post about my career change.

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