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How 5 people changed careers and found jobs during the pandemic

  • The pandemic has radically changed the way we live and work.
  • Five people used this time to find roles that better aligned with their goals and family situations.
  • One went from dancing to public relations, while another left a bank office to drive a truck.

COVID-19 has changed everything about the way we live and work – and for some people that has meant finding themselves in a whole new career.

As part of a series on how the pandemic has shaped people’s careers over the past two years, Insider spoke with five professionals who have found themselves, whether out of passion or necessity, pursuing completely different jobs from the ones they had had amid the shutdowns.

Each talked about how much happier they were in their new position and how much better work-life balance they had achieved. They also shared how they moved – some went back to school, while others took their time applying and networking to find the right job.

Dan Seiders used boot camp to break into tech

Dan Seider

Dan Seiders.

Courtesy of Dan Seiders

Dan Seiders had been a sound engineer for 15 years when he was furloughed in March 2020. As a sound engineer, he was responsible for travel logistics, equipment rental and concert acoustics touring groups.

Due to how tour schedules worked, Seiders often missed family outings. When he had a few months to be a stay-at-home dad, he started thinking there might be a more family-friendly career for him – so he invested in a 12-week, $10,000 coding boot camp. and later landed a job as a data engineer.

“In the music industry, work-life balance just isn’t a discussion,” Seiders said. “With my new job, I’m working from home, which not only saves me time on the commute, but also allows me to be home every night for dinner.”

Read more: I had spent 15 years in the music industry before being laid off. Thanks to a coding boot camp, I am now a data engineer with a better work-life balance.

Tara Maxam left an office job for something more challenging

Tara Maxam

Tara Maxam.

Courtesy of Tara Maxam

Tara Maxam had spent two years as a banker and loan officer when the pandemic hit. She continued to work remotely, but as she spent more time indoors, she realized what she really wanted was to be outdoors.

Maxam has always had an interest in trucking. “As the pandemic unfolded, I realized how therapeutic being on the road could be for me,” she said.

After attending trucking school, she landed a job driving between Georgia and Florida. “After the pandemic, I plan to continue trucking. I want to go to the other 48 states and maybe Canada,” she said. “It’s something I would like to experience.”

Read more: I left my job in a bank to become a truck driver. I like independence and spending more time outdoors.

Angela Hatem shook off complacency for a new challenge

Angela Hatem

Angele Hatem.

Courtesy of Angela Hatem

Angela Hatem spent 11 years working at the same nonprofit before realizing she wanted something different.

“The moment the pandemic hit, all the bitterness, boredom and resentment I had accumulated made a skyscraper of complacency,” Hatem said. After contracting COVID-19, she quit her job and thought about what she wanted in a career. She now works as an implementation consultant for a technology company.

“As a single, professional mother, it was not an easy decision to take a chance on myself and leave the safety, history, mission and friendships of my old job, but it was the one of the best dice rolls I’ve ever done,” she says.

Read more: After 11 years in the same company, I became bored and bitter. The pandemic was the kick in the pants I needed to find a role in another field that gave me joy.

Chloe Murray traded one passion for another

Woman with blond hair and white t-shirt in an office

Chloe Murray in her office with Fox Agency.

Courtesy of Fox Agency

Chloe Murray moved to London in February 2020 to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer – but what she didn’t know was that the dance world, like the rest of the world, was about to shut down. “I thought maybe I had bowed out, and I felt a little cheated,” she said.

During the lockdown, she started working as a virtual assistant writing content for websites, blogs and social media posts. She began pursuing a career in virtual assistance and got a job at Fox Agency, moving into a senior public relations position. In her full-time position, she said she could focus on her ambition and development – and she pursues dancing on the side, using her annual leave to accept dancing contracts.

Read more: II’ve worked in public relations since my dancing career was put on hold. A desk job took away the pressure I felt and made me more ambitious.

Tammie Ash has turned her free time into an opportunity to reflect

A woman wearing high visibility red clothing and helmet smiles at the camera posing in an underground tunnel

Tammie Ash when she was an engineer.

Courtesy of Tammie Ash

Tammie Ash was an engineer for two years before quitting her job days before COVID-19 shut everything down. She worried about her job prospects for five months before deciding to try to break into the television industry, which had always interested her.

She is now a researcher at the BBC. “Before the pandemic, I took my time for granted,” she said. “After the pandemic, I will use my time and choose meaningful projects to work on while growing my creative network.”

Read more: I quit my job — then a pandemic happened. I thought I had made the worst decision of my life, but it led me to the career of my dreams.

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