Figure Out What's Next

When Is it Time to Go?

alfred gingold career change mark gleason Aug 13, 2009
man leaving

by Mark Gleason

photo by Jornada Produtora

In an old comedy routine, Mel Brooks explained how you know when you’ve fallen out of favor at work: “You come into work one morning and your desk is on fire.”

All career changers seem to identify a specific moment when they knew their current jobs had passed their sell-by date. Here’s a sampling.

“Seven years before they dissolved my department, they started a new one that was full of people younger than those in my department. I had an inkling that we would teach the new group what we knew, and then they would cut us loose. I was right.” Bob Seymore, who moved from medical-equipment sales to a job as a nurse.

“When I was commuting into my office, I’d get off the train and see this herd of people who all looked like they hated where they were going. I thought, I can find another way.” Jason Harris, who after 10 years as a lawyer and six as a stockbroker, chose instead to sit at home in sweat pants and trade commodities online.

“I was in this big bank and one day I realized I was in the same place I was in 10 years earlier.” David Kelman, who left investment banking to open a Manhattan yoga studio.

“During my performance review, which was a tirade, I suggested maybe my boss didn’t want me in the job anymore. She reacted with complete relaxation, as if she’d been meditating.” John Harvey, who went from a big job at American Express to owning a local fish market.

Compiled by Alfred Gingold, a wide-ranging writer and blogger who has written a number of “Careers 2.0” profiles for


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