Workin’ 9 to 5 (and how Monique changed careers)

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This is my sixth profile of individuals who have changed to a different line of work, in hopes to inspire others who are contemplating a change in their own professional lives.  Check out my prior interviews featuring Betsy, Abby, Rita, Jen and Rebecca.

When you’ve been in the business world for most of your career, your life is often focused on climbing the corporate ladder, leading teams and building products. And the thought of leaving that safety net to chase after a dream can be daunting. When I first met Monique, she was contemplating her next move after leaving her job of twenty years. A few months later, we caught up, and she had made the decision to dive into something completely new: real estate. With her amazing energy and personality, I know the sky’s the limit for her.

Here’s what Monique had to say about her journey…

What do you do for a living these days?
I’m a residential real estate broker in Portland, Oregon for Windermere Stellar.

What career were you in before this?
I spent nearly 20 years within the software industry as a technology marketer – generating and developing leads, launching new products, doing partner and customer outreach, and managing programs and teams.

What inspired you to make this transition?
I wanted to do something everyday that was more locally focused, and allowed me to spend more time connecting with people and being out in my community. I love Portland, after living and working in many different areas throughout the city. Being able to use my marketing and program management background to help people move easily through the buying or selling process and find their next home was very attractive.

What were your biggest challenges in changing careers?
After 20 years progressing in corporate marketing roles, it was a big leap to be open to a possibility that wasn’t clearly marked “Next” on a traditional corporate ladder. Listening to what I wanted to do versus what looked, at first glance, to be a logical next step took some time. Given my marketing, outreach and program management background, real estate is actually very logical. It just wasn’t the expected path.

What advice can you share with others thinking about moving into a new line of work?
The most important thing to do is to just get out and talk to people. Reach out to people who have taken career risks to understand their paths. Talk to those doing work that interests you. Don’t limit yourself to “logical” when first exploring. It’s really important to get outside of your usual circles and meet new people. New people will ignite new ideas for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for time or introductions. People are very generous, especially with those they feel will pay it forward. When you get the time, make sure you’re in a good frame of mind to actively listen. Many people on my path each contributed an individual thought that eventually when linked together helped me make my decision. Listen, learn, and see where your path takes you.

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