January 30th, 2009 | 1:00 pm

Looking for the Lost You: From Banking to Fashion

filed under Managing Change

iStock_000004554966XSmall_2_.jpgContributed by Kathleen Lucente of Red Fan Communications

With a little bit of brainstorming and “outside the box” thinking, you might just find yourself working in an industry you didn’t expect to!

When you’re sitting behind your desk, do you ever daydream about leaving your chosen industry – whether it’s banking, law or business operations — in favor of something else entirely? Something a bit far afield that might even shock your friends and colleagues?
Are their days when you feel that you are operating on all cylinders, yet that there are creative skills you possess which have gone untapped for years? Or that, somehow, there are hidden talents and attributes that you possess which have gone untapped?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Many of us have embarked on a career path, put on our respective seatbelts and have then climbed the achievement ladder for so long that we often don’t remember what else we’re capable of, or why we chose our initial path to begin with!

Given the current economy, the threat of losing one’s job or the reality of watching colleagues lose theirs has left many of us pondering what other possibilities might be out there. Work harder to prove you are irreplaceable, determine a strategy so you become invisible on the headcount charts or take control over one’s destiny – the choice is yours.

Instead of waiting to be the next corporate downsizing victim, we encourage you, dear reader, to stretch outside of your comfort zone. Take the time to daydream about what you might really enjoy doing, even if it’s in an entirely different field. Dare to ask yourself the questions” “What if I took control of my destiny now and off-ramped into something fresh, new, and fun at a company that would cherish me instead of drain me – a place where I would get to build my own plan for business development and then act on it? Oh, and what about a place where I could be celebrated for dressing with flair?”

For example, the NYC-based Connaught Group, Ltd, the industry leader in direct sales fashion with its Per Se, Carlisle and Etcetera lines available at trunk shows across the country, is actively recruiting women to sell each of its lines in Manhattan and beyond. Imagine tossing aside the banking career for an executive director position at a direct sales fashion company, helping fellow high-powered women find their perfect style in a posh Midtown “by appointment only” wardrobing salon. Picture yourself stepping into rewarding role a where you could wrangle your background in finance, relationship building and business development to bring in a set of clients – those busy women who rarely have time to actually shop, let alone to get to a hair appointment or a much-needed massage and who only wish they knew about such a service.

Private bankers in many parts of the country have opted for control in their lives and careers and have flourished in the direct sales fashion industry for many of the same reasons they were successful as private bankers. But they tell us they are having a lot more fun as fashionistas!

We’ve seen some pretty amazing transitions from finance to other careers. Sadly, many of us are afraid to think beyond what we know. But if there ever was a time to proactively explore other options, now would be it.

1 comment

  1. Grace Judson

    There are so many reasons – a veritable peanut-gallery chorus of voices in our heads! – why people don’t do what they really feel called to do.

    Even when you see examples of others, people close to you, who have succeeded in making these sorts of shifts, the “reasons” continue to present themselves. They were lucky. I don’t have the training/skills/time/whatever. On and on.

    Consistently, though, when I work with clients on this, I see that people can and do make changes, answer what’s calling them, and find the more-rewarding, more-meaningful work that they truly enjoy.

    And truly flourish in.

    Thanks for a great article!