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5 (More) People Who Changed Their Careers and Thrived

In this day and age, fewer and fewer people are sticking with one career their entire lives. Some of the most successful people owe their success, partially, to the fact that they were willing to take the risk and change careers after either establishing themselves in their first field, or after experiencing some sort of failure or setback.

Ken Jeong
from Doctor to Actor & Commedian

Ken Jeong is most well known for his roles on the hit sitcom Community and work in comedic films such as The Hangover and Knocked Up, but what few realize is that Ken’s first career was as a licensed physician in the state of California.

In 1995 he received his MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began to develop a comedic act as he pursued his residency in New Orleans, and then moved to California to start his practice. His income as a physician was, without a doubt, a great way for him to be able to support his comedic endeavors. It would have been a great plan B if his career hadn’t taken off!

Jerry Springer
from Mayor to Talk Show Host

With roots as a relatively popular and down-to-earth politician, Jerry Springer’s career change doesn’t look so drastic when put under scrutiny. As a councilman, he was forced to resign when busted in an undercover prostitution ring. Shortly after, however, he was elected mayor. A failed gubernatorial bid became a sign to enter show business, and in 1991 the Jerry Springer show first aired, destined to become on of America’s most watched tabloid talk shows.

Kal Penn
 from Actor to Civil Servant

When you’re passionate about more than one thing, why not pursue both? Kal Penn, best known for his role on the hit TV drama House, was asked in 2009 to join the White House staff as the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He had contributed to the president’s campaign in 2008 and was a member of the president’s National Arts Policy Committee.

The show’s producers wrote him out of the plot arc and he was able to begin a career in public service. Since then, he has worked on other projects to which he had previously committed, and has obtained continuing degrees in the field of International Relations.

Martha Stewart
from Model to Stock Broker to Businesswoman and TV personality

Martha Stewart’s first career was as a model. She soon transitioned into working with financial markets, which she pursued until the early 1970s, when the struggling economy made it harder to work in that field. Martha redirected her efforts, renovating a farm in Connecticut to build a catering business.

At that point, Stewart had begun building a media empire, including a television show, websites, home improvement supplies, and a magazine, that has come to reach over 65 million consumers. Martha’s transition is proof that a bad environment (in her case, the stock market of the early 1970s) is no excuse not to find your success in other places.

Alan Page
from Professional Athlete to State Supreme Court Justice

Justice Page, far right, with three other teammates

The judicial system is often spoken of in sports metaphors. A legal conflict can often be compared to a sporting event. Strategic thinking is key, and the two parties compete within a common environment following a set of rules. Alan Page understands more than most how these two worlds are similar.

Page was a professional football player who had a long career with the Minnesota Vikings, during which he was named MVP and appeared in four Super Bowls. At the same time, though, he began to prepare for his life after the game, and earned a law degree in 1978. He retired from football in 1981 and was elected to Minnesota’s Supreme Court in 1993. When one door closed for Alan, clearly another one opened!

Is a Health Career your Key to Personal Success?

Knowing that you’ll be happy in a certain occupation for the rest of your life is a luxury that most people don’t experience. There’s no shame in starting fresh and seeing what kind of opportunities might await that will actually be fulfilling.

One of the fastest-growing job fields, the health industry, accounts for a large number of career changers’ professional aspirations. If you’ve ever considered professionally making a difference in people’s lives, consider exploring opportunities in healthcare and begin opening doors for yourself today.

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