Making a Career Change: Switching Industries

By Julia Harris Wexler '83TC, '14BUS, Columbia University Certified Executive Career Coach

Mid-career shifting is perhaps one of the most common, yet least researched challenges faced by our generation. Let's look at the dynamics:

1) Most professionals begin their careers after graduating college or graduate school in their mid to late 20s. Their work life will last until their early 60s to late 70s on average.

2) This 40+ year span will most likely NOT be spent dedicated to only one field/industry or career.

Since it's logical that most professionals will need to reinvent themselves in order to leverage their prior skills in preparation for taking their places in their next careers, why is this topic still such a mystery?

That's why I specialize my coaching on this exact challenge: Mid-Career Shifts.

Mid-career shifting is perhaps one of the most common, yet least researched challenges faced by our generation.

Here is the method I use when coaching clients in tackling this issue:

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Columbia Experts on the Discovery of Gravitational Waves

Last week, physics had a rare moment in the spotlight when scientists announced that they have successfully detected gravitational waves from the merging of two black holes roughly a billion light-years away. This incredible technological and scientific feat confirmed a major prediction in Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, published a century ago. 

Three Columbia astrophysicists were instrumental in the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) experiment, by building the complete timing system that was "essential in figuring out the direction in which we hear two black holes colliding." Their excitement was palpable as they took to the stage at Columbia to discuss the finding with an equally delighted Neil deGrasse Tyson ('91, '92GSAS) shortly after the historic announcement on February 11. (View the video here.)

The breakthrough was clearly a big moment for science, but why was it so important, and where will this discovery take us?

Here's what our notable Columbia astrophysicists, scientists, and professors have to say about it:



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Your Weekly Low Down | Feb. 19, 2016

Catch up on the latest news from your Columbia alumni community this week.

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Forward Thinking: How Two Columbia Alumni Found a Need and Had Huge Success


When Ryan Petersen ’08BUS was working in China running a supply chain several years ago, he experienced firsthand the archaic practices of the international shipping industry.

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Columbia Experts Weigh In: Supreme Court

After the unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, there has been much discussion around what will happen in politics, on the Court, and in the country's legal and constitutional systems.

Here is a sampling of articles with Columbia experts weighing in.  Read on below, or follow news as it's announced - new articles will be posted to the Columbia in the News group in the online Alumni Community (UNI log in required). 

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Fighting Illegal Trade in Wildlife

On July 30, 2015 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that targets the global problem of wildlife trafficking, calling on all 193 UN member states to take on a series of actions to “prevent, combat, and eradicate the illegal trade in wildlife.”

Adopted by consensus, the resolution recognizes growing global concern over widespread poaching and trafficking – particularly of elephants and rhinos.

In this episode, three ambassadors to the UN from Botswana, Germany and Vietnam address the problem facing wildlife today.

This panel discussion was sponsored by the Columbia University Club of New York.

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Nine Transition Tips for Your Career

Transitioning to a new career requires a mixture of faith, courage, inspiration, and support.  The end results are exciting and often unpredictable.  

Here are nine takeaway tips you need for a career transition from Eric Horwitz '90CC, the head of the Columbia Alumni Career Coaches Network and a full-time executive career coach and life coach.  

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You Make My Heart Roar: Columbia Alumni Love Stories

Happy Valentine's Day! 

All week, we've been sharing stories of love written and submitted by Columbia alumni below.

Today, we're proud to present the full collection on the Columbia Alumni Association's Facebook page - over 30+ stories of love, friendship, and the enduring ties to Alma Mater that continue to bring us together.  

Happy Valentine's Day! 


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Did you know? Columbians have served as and for presidents of the United States.

In honor of President's Day, brush up on trivia around some of Columbia's most interesting connections to the highest office of the United States. Read on below to learn more, including:

  • Columbians who are, literally, on the money (hint: two U.S. presidents and one Founding Father)
  • Columbia president who was also a candidate for the American presidency and vice presidency
  • A presidential speech writer who later became a famous television personality 
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Your Weekly Low Down | Feb. 12, 2016

Catch up on the latest news from your Columbia alumni community this week.

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