7 Candid Career Stories That’ll Motivate You to Jump Start Your Career in 2018

2017 has been quite a year, hasn’t it?

For us at The Muse, one of the things we’ve truly enjoyed the most is meeting awesome, driven people (like yourself!) and getting to tell their honest—and sometimes complicated—career stories.

But that’s what careers are all about. They’re not perfect, and they’re certainly not linear, but they are full of heart.

With this, we wanted to wrap up the season with a small sampling of some of those stories. Whether it’s learning to deal with negative feedback from a Twitter influencer, following the winding career path of a product manager, or hearing how one man overcame his fears and left his job for one in the beer industry, these are the moments that motivate us to keep at it.

So thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

And if you want a chance to be featured as our weekly career story, email us at editor@themuse.com with the subject line “Career Story” and tell us who you are, what you do, and your career journey.


1. How I Went From Working in Missile Defense to Product Management


I faced a serious personal health issue at an early point in my career. At the time, I thought that being strong meant not letting anyone know what I was going through, and not adjusting anyone’s expectations (including my own). I realize now that we’re all just human beings. Asking for help when you need it demonstrates confidence and builds trust, not the other way around.

Leah Marcus, now a product manager of sales technology at Trunk Club, has had many jobs—including consulting, UX design, and, yes, missile defense.


2. I Started the WeRateDogs Twitter Account and Here’s My Career Story


[T]here’s a difference between unfavorable criticism and blind hate. It’s very important to separate the two. If it has no real weight to it, forget about it and focus on making your content the best it can be. This is obviously easier said than done, but every once in a while, take a step back and recognize the volume of positive feedback you’re receiving.

As the creator of a Twitter account that has over four million followers, Matt Nelson knows a thing or two about moving past negative feedback—and he’s made it a part of his daily job.


3. How This One Person Turned a Fun Side Project Into a Successful, Full-Time Job


Don’t focus on money in the beginning; focus on figuring out what you love. When I started an anonymous diary I had no idea it would one day be paying my bills, but I always stayed true to what I loved to do, and eventually I was able to support myself with that.

CeCe Olisa, a blogger, vlogger, writer, fashion enthusiast, influencer, and creator of Plus Size Princess, was able to turn her passion into a full-time, successful career. It wasn’t magic—it took drive, patience, and a lot of learning.


4. Why I Left a Government Job for One in the Beer Industry

I feel comfortable. I truly feel like I fit in and I am being who I am at work. I can dress the way I’m comfortable dressing. I’m surrounded by people with similar interests, and I can progress professionally without the red tape. I feel like I’m finally where I belong…When you love what you do it isn’t work any more—it’s your passion.

For Chris Massad, it was when the Sunday Scaries became a regular thing that he realized it was time to make a career change. Even he was surprised how perfectly simple it was for him to turn his passion into a real, live job.


5. How Career Coaching Helped Me Land a Dream Job in 2 Weeks


A decade ago, I totally snubbed my nose at brands using social media. Boy, was I wrong—needless to say, I’ve come to the dark side.

Mike Robert’s story warms our hearts because he’s a true job search success story. After signing up for career coaching via The Muse, he found himself in an unexpected role he loves (after only just a couple weeks!).


6. This Story About a Stranger Helping a Drive-Thru Worker Change Careers Will Make You Smile


It does feel good to be recognized for your hard work, but I didn’t really expect any special praise or acknowledgment for doing what I felt I should be doing. Yet, for someone to notice—and to think you can leave that kind of impression—it’s an added incentive to always do your best because you just never know who’s watching and how it might turn out.

Jennifer was an awesome customer service rep. Jackie saw her potential and recommended her for a job at her company. This story reminds us that miracles do happen in unexpected ways.


7. I Used My Journalism Skills to Transition Into a Career Helping Young Women


Sometimes people think working at a nonprofit is all rainbows and butterflies and that’s not true. You have your good days and your bad days, just like any other industry. But when I’m able to positively influence the young women I come across in my work, that makes it all worth it.

L’Oreal Thompson Payton decided it was time she overcame her burnout to help young women (like herself once) not feel marginalized by society and find confidence in themselves. And boy we’re glad she did.


Want to read more? Check out all our career stories here.


By UCLA Extension Career Services
UCLA Extension Career Services