According to a WGN News report, Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is teaching Civil War history in the Englewood, Colorado federal prison. Apparently he has become so popular that he is packing the house and turning away inmates wanting to join his class. It seems, the convicted corruption and bribery specialist has something other than crime to teach to his prisoners.
For those not familiar with the Watergate Scandal, G. Gordon Liddy went to prison for organizing the Watergate burglaries of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. When he got out he became a radio star with a show syndicated in 160 markets, and a guest panelist for Fox News Channel.
What does Blagojevich’s and Liddy’s situation teach me?
The experiences of Blagojevich and Liddy teach us that it is never too late to change careers. When you are unhappy in a career or, like in their cases, forced to make a change (read: laid-off) against your free will, there are always ways to make the best of it.
Sometimes the career you built a lifetime creating is wiped out by technology changes. Goodbye Blockbuster.
Or we become too expensive relative to the competition. Goodbye USA, hello India, Philippines and China.
Or time passes us by. Hello young lady.
So you can wallow in it, like some of the sour grapes you will read on job forums. You can swallow your pride and ride the gravy train of unemployment, until your ride stops. Or you can find another career.
As my Examiner.com readers have discovered, I was a CFO, then an executive recruiter and now a career writer. I didn’t have to go to school to make these changes. They naturally led to each other.
This strategy is similar to Charlie Bucket’s father in Johnnie Depp’s and Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Mr. Bucket was outplaced by technology, but returned to a better job of fixing the machines that replaced him.
Sometimes the change is rewarding enough that money doesn’t matter. I tell my wife that about my new gig at TheCareerKing.com. Pay is light, benefits not quite there yet, but the personal reward is great!
Or you may have to find a way to pay for school to learn a new role. Just make sure the financial return will be good enough to pay off the school loans and keep your home!
If you can’t afford school, perhaps you can get the government to pay for it.
Are you saying I should go to prison to change my career?
Only if you have no other way to support yourself during the change, would a career writer and former CFO recommend this strategy! Rather, I suggest you look into government loans, grants or gifts for reeducation.
And the moral of this story is?
You can make a career change. You can survive it. Especially if you make the best of it like Blagojevich and Liddy did. Perhaps you will become enough of an expert that you will have to ask the audience to return another day.