Jill Ozovek is someone you want in your life. She’s that friend that will push you a little harder than others and encourage you to think of your current situation from a different angle. She’s actually so good at doing these things that she’s become a certified Career Change expert helping people look at their careers with a brand new lens and perspective. In addition to offering one on one services, Jill has a new course called the Career Change Kitchen that approaches the change holistically.
1. I love the idea of mixing learning with food. What inspired you to start the Career Kitchen?
When I was young all the way through high school and early college, I was SO picky! I would never want to try anything food-wise and turned my nose up at everything. (I even disliked sandwiches, and would only eat deconstructed sandwiches, so bread, meat and cheese separate. And don’t get me started on veggies. I was annoying.) ANYWAY, fast forward to college and my roommates made me try salmon and that was the moment where my worldview shifted. I’m forever grateful to them for that. Ever since, I’ve been on a wild ride of trying any and all foods and lead a walking food tour “The Chat N Chew Supper Club” in NYC. I’m always experimenting in the kitchen and when it came time to create the course, I thought, “How do I infuse the same sense of fun and experimentation” into this course. Because your career IS something you should experiment with, see what you like and don’t like and where your natural talents lie. So it all fits together so nicely I think!
2. How did you get into the business of career change? Was there something specific that happened to you?
Like many people, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college and completely fell into financial services event production and research after earning my BA in history and sociology. I learned a ton of skills there, I managed a team and a $13 million budget and I was able to drive strategy for the division I led. Pretty cool for being 27! Ultimately though, it wasn’t something I wanted to do long term and I realized I was chasing the wrong values- values I thought were mine but really I got them elsewhere -things like ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ and ‘working til exhausted.’ Additionally, I was in a field that didn’t excite me and I felt I could be of better service elsewhere. The thing is, I didn’t know WHERE that was at the time and I quit without a job, sold my stuff, gave up my rent- stabilized apartment and moved to South America.
3. As an avid traveler and someone that lived abroad, how do you recommend approaching living abroad on the resume? Do you see it as a detriment or a help?
I think it’s a HUGE help overall. Obviously there are going to be companies who don’t view it that way and maybe some fields, but overall it makes a ton of sense. It helps you approach work relationships, differences and communications from a more mature point of view. It gives you that “figure it out” skill that is honed so much from winging it abroad. If you strip down what companies these days are looking for to its core, it’s really about problem solving, owning that process and ability to really engage and connect with others, whether they be colleagues or clients or vendors.
I list my 10 months off as a separate entry in my resume that says “Sabbatical”. Call it out and don’t hide it. Be thoughtful about your time there so you can speak to it and your larger narrative when you return. For example, I volunteered for an
NGO for part of the time I was in South America and I kept a detailed blog of what I learned. I also am a life-long lover of language so I took hundreds of hours of Spanish classes and earned a Level C1 Dele Diploma for Spanish Operational Proficiency. But I also had a ton of free time to explore and really dig into what I wanted to do next. That’s equally important
4. What’s the best part of your job? What’s been the most successful career change you’ve seen to date?
All of my clients define success differently, but I’d have to say that the one where the client was the most surprised and elated was my finance client who wanted to get into fashion for years and was told she never would be able to without going back to school. I think 5 days after our last session, when we did a mock interview in preparation for her dream interview, she got the job at a fashion company. Fast-forward 8 months and she’s still in love with it. THAT’S the best part of my job- helping people make lasting impact in their lives, and staying in touch with them to hear how they’re doing makes me really happy.
5. What advice would you give someone that is terrified to switch careers?
It can be scary, no doubt. I have so much to say on this topic, but I think I can sum it up by recommending Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. Pick it up- it helps you acknowledge the fear and anxiety and move through it anyway. One of my key takeaways from the book is this: there are always going to be problems to solve in all of our lives. This means we’re learning and growing. The point of life is not, then, to eliminate problems. Instead, it’s to continually trade up your old problems for better ones. So in the job/career sense, you may be reading this dreading your job everyday. That’s a problem. When you start going through the process of changing your career, a new problem- or host of problems- will arise. Maybe you will not know where to start- that’s a problem. Maybe a promising networking meeting got cancelled or you aren’t getting bites on feelers you’re putting out there- that’s a problem. But aren’t those better problems than that pit in your stomach DREAD of going into work everyday? And doesn’t that get your closer to the next phase of your life?