Monocolumn

A daily bulletin of news & opinion

6 January 2015

There are few things more inspiring than following the events of a great new business launch. One of my best friends recently gave up a relatively well paid job in sales to become a domestic goddess and start her own food-consultancy company. Now the hard work really begins: she needs to enhance her reputation, attract more clients for her business and create a strong brand. Maybe one day my friend will eventually be the Finnish Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson or Donna Hay.

Of course starting a business is never easy; this friend of mine will be doing plenty of recipe testing, writing and promotional work before she can even dream of any lasting financial security – or even a holiday for that matter.

But despite these pressures, the idea of changing tack and pursuing a totally different career path has always been popular. I know a former prime-time radio presenter who launched her own cheese shop, a TV presenter-turned-cupcake-entrepreneur and countless former Wall Street or City of London workers who have quit finance and bought vineyards in Italy instead so that they can start making wine or olive oil.

These people are all happy and I have recently been reading about many other similar success in The Monocle Guide to Good Business. Starting afresh in a new industry can benefit the wider economy, too. Human-resources executives in many companies believe that it’s a great idea to hire people from diverse and unconventional backgrounds. A philosopher could have great analytical skills suited to the finance world, for example, and I also know a Finnish literature graduate who nowadays flies around the world as an IT expert.

I find it surprising that these career changers don’t get more support. English-speaking countries have traditionally been pretty flexible about the qualifications and degrees required for different careers but in many other nations philosophy or literature graduates are expected to continue working exclusively in their respective academic fields for the rest of their lives. I think that could be letting valuable talent go to waste.

As we begin a new year I hope to read about more companies that have realised the true value of diversity when it comes to work experience. And if you’re out there now and thinking of taking the plunge, I hope you find the courage to jump from the "same old same old" and into something new – and maybe find your true calling in the process.

Markus Hippi is a producer and presenter for Monocle 24.

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