How Changing Career Can Open New Opportunities

Jobs are funny things … you can invest your heart into them, or you can simply take the money and run. I’ve tended towards the former rather than the latter in the course of my journalistic career, but that’s about to change.

After 18 years with my current employer I’m about to head off into the great unknown – and not by choice, but by redundancy. It’s a little scary as prospects go but I’m hearted by the example of others who have made the same leap and found that everything has worked out just fine.

pope-francis-iiYou only have to look to Pope Francis II for an example. Before he donned a collar of his own, he used to grab people by theirs. You see, Il Papa used to be a bouncer in a Buenos Aires nightclub before he answered the call (and I don’t mean the one for last orders). So, if he can make such a huge leap then there’s hope for us all.

madeline-albrightEqually, those of us about to face major employment change can look to America’s first female Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, for inspiration. Before Madeline was involved in high-powered negotiations in which she pledged US support in exchange for trade deals, she sold support of an altogether different nature – bras. Yes, Madeline worked in a department store and specialised in brassiere sales…

colin_powellWhich is almost as bonkers as the idea of another US Secretary of State – Colin Powell’s – former job. Colin – remember, he was a four-star general – once sold baby cribs and prams in a shop in the Bronx.

warren-beattyStill, that must surely be better than Warren Beatty’s previous profession. Before his days bedding an army of Hollywood starlets, the great Lothario worked as a rat catcher. Somehow I can’t see that one working as a chat-up line. Well, maybe if I looked like Warren in his glory days it might…

But Warren’s past profession pales into withering insignificance when placed alongside some jobs from history. In rat catcher wasn’t ‘your bag’ you might have opted for the job of ‘fuller’. In Roman times that job involved one standing in a vat of water mixed with lots and lots of urine. Sheets would be placed in the mix and the fuller would trample the sheets to get the dirt out.

Alternatively, you might have set your sights higher – at the prestigious post of Groom of the King’s Close Stool, for instance. When they said ‘close’ they really meant it. The groom was tasked with, eh, helping the monarch in all aspects of his bowel movements. Now I know why the toilet is sometimes referred to as the throne…

Other royal appointments included that of ‘whipping boy’. This poor little chap would be the companion of a young prince. They would play and hang out together but if the prince was ever naughty, punishment would ensue.

histories-logoBut hey, you can’t punish a member of the royal family… which is where the whipping boy came in. When the royal misbehaved, it was the whipping boy who was beaten.

Some things never change, no matter how much time passes…

I think my favourite job from the past must be that of ‘lector’, and I don’t mean that Hannibal guy. No, a lector was someone who would read articles and works of literature aloud to factory workers engaged in tedious labour tasks. There’s something rather quaint and considerate about that.

People say it’s best to leave the past behind you, but I like to be immersed in it, which is where my own new job comes in. I’ve set up a little business involving past lives, called HistoriesInTheMaking.

The idea is to produce commemorative brochures and interactive digital files which collate family histories, putting people’s own genealogical research into context with other events of the time and presenting it in an attractive, readable format for all the family – not just the history enthusiasts out there.

Check out the link to see if it interests you. Fingers crossed it will be a success – I can’t see any vacancies for fullers at the moment.

About historywithatwist

I am a journalist, author and book editor. I have published five novels - four (Tan, The Golden Grave, A Time of Traitors and Patriots' Blood) set during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, and the fifth (High Crimes), a modern thriller. I'm a history enthusiast who loves a good yarn.
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38 Responses to How Changing Career Can Open New Opportunities

  1. jimrada says:

    Good luck with the new business. It’s always scary to make that jump, but it’s usually worth it, especially when you are your own boss.

  2. I like the idea of your new job a lot, David. One group particularly in need of having their stories told is WWII veterans. I wish you the best as you put your story-telling skills to good use in another way.

    • Thanks Carol, the veterans are certainly worth approaching. I appreciate the share. I hope you’re well, you seem to be having a great time with those grandchildren of yours

      • All is well here – or will be when our election is passed. Our granddaughters are a never-ending delight.

      • There’s no way Trump is getting into the White House now, but his run has fractured the GOP. aye it’s time for a new party in America politics – the New Republicans (rather like New Labour in Britain) who can distance themselves from the Tea Party crowd

      • This election cycle has produced so many surprises (shocks?), I will rest easier when the votes are cast. I agree we could benefit from new political parties. Should the arise, they may be the real success of this year.

  3. Hi David … wishing you great success with your new endeavour. I hope you’ll still have time to keep this great blog going. If you’d like to do a guest post on Histories in the Making on my blog, I would be delighted to host you!

  4. Thanks Mary, I appreciate the compliment from someone who has such a great blog herself. I’d love to do a piece on histories for your blog, I’ll send something on over the next couple of days. 🙂

  5. Sounds like a great idea, David. If you do a good job and book a couple of promis, you’re all set.

  6. Carol Ervin says:

    Best of luck, David. I think anyone who chooses your service will find themselves well repaid.

  7. jjtoner says:

    Wishing you every success with this exciting new venture.

  8. I wish you all good things in your new career, Dave. Your have a fine mind and are a fine writer, and I am certain these assets will ensure your success. I can attest that being self-employed, scary as it can be sometimes, beats the hell out of working for others.

  9. P. C. Zick says:

    All the best to you, David! Here’s to following your passion. I’m all for it.

  10. Susan Sloate says:

    David, my best wishes for your new life! I did this in 1988, when I was downsized from a very secure (but very restrictive) job in a Hollywood company and decided with my (tiny) severance package, I was going to finally DO what I had wanted to do. And in 9 months, much to the surprise of all the naysayers, I had already written a dozen articles I was paid for–and had my first book deal. I went on to write 10 books for one publisher within about 3 years. Life has a funny way of taking you much higher, when what looks like bad luck comes along.

    I do like the idea of being a lector, though. Much as I like the idea of your new business, you may want to supplement with that on the side… heck, I’D like to supplement with that.

    Will check out your website, and wish you the very best–I know it’s a huge step in the right direction!!

  11. Their loss. Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll make a success out of it 🌻🎈🍾

  12. Cheers Christoph. I’ll have the second draft back to you shortly

  13. Lindy Moone says:

    Reblogged this on Belly-up! and commented:
    Good luck to awesome author and journalist David Lawlor in his new life, making our families’ pasts come to, er, life! His is one of the few blogs I still read, and his story in our upcoming “antrollogy” reboot (yes, it really does exist!) is one of my favorites.

  14. franklparker says:

    Just popped in to say ‘thanks for the ‘like”. I see you are moving on in life and I wish you luck with it.

  15. Kally says:

    I wish you nothing but the best of luck! Believe in yourself is the first step to success!

  16. niumenata says:

    Hi! Have you heard of Niume? They currently pays $1 RPM for the views on your posts. This means that you generate revenue at a rate of $1 per 1,000 views.

    Try it there too!

    Happy Earning and Happy Writing @ Niume.

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