CV of Failures – What Can It Do For You?

Application Rejected

Let the wild schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) rumpus begin!

Professor Johannes Haushofer, who teaches psychology and public affairs at Princeton, recently published a CV documenting every failure in his career to date. He listed the jobs he failed to land. The papers that never got published. The fellowships that went to someone else. The university programs he did not get into. This “CV of failures” was a Twitter sensation and was picked up by newspapers globally. It was so popular that the good professor complained that it was a “meta failure” as it attracted far more attention than his entire academic achievements combined! You will see his failures listed below this article.

He confesses he’s not the first academic to publish his failures; he cites a few others who have. And credits Professor Melanie Stefan of the University of Edinburgh for the idea, first published in the journal Nature in 2010. “As scientists, we construct a narrative of success that renders our setbacks invisible both to ourselves and to others,” she writes. “Often, other scientists’ careers seem to be a constant, streamlined series of triumphs. Therefore, whenever we experience an individual failure, we feel alone and dejected.”

She recommends we keep a CV of failures, to remind ourselves that failure is an essential part of what it means to be successful, and possibly inspire a disheartened colleague or friend along the way. Prof. Stefan also mentions that academic fellowships have a success rate of about 15 percent – meaning that for every hour spent writing a successful application, she probably spent six hours for nothing.

And as you will see below, a rejection can save your life.


How can this help me?

  • Self-awareness. We are not saying failures are are important as successes! However, self-awareness is an important component of Emotional Intelligence (EI). We have been looking at CVs of our accomplishments for years, that ignores the bulk of our efforts. Having a better awareness of our past successes and failures could improve our self-awareness, EI, future success and performance.
  • Taking Enough Risk. Also, noting the frequency of our failures has something to do with whether we are taking enough risks. While you can expect that frequency to go down after age 35, as you change jobs less frequently, it is important to see how often you’re putting yourself out there. If you’re not taking a chance to fail, you’re not taking a chance to succeed.
  • True Grit. You will marvel at how resilient you have been and can inspire others on how to weather setbacks.
  • New Opportunities. As you look at all the organizations that rejected you, you might reconnect with a recruiter who now, impressed with what you have done since then, has something better in store for you.
  • Blessings in Disguise. If nothing else, it will be an interesting trip down memory lane, and you can feel thankful for all those paths you did not go down, and are now blessed with the friends and family you have!  One of my first rejections after college was in 1998, at Sandler O’Neill, a financial services company. It was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center in Manhattan; the view from its conference room was spectacular, with all of Manhattan at your feet. Sixty-six of its employees perished on September 11. It’s hard to even call that serendipitous rejection a failure. The long view matters, and failure is very subjective.

Professor Haushofer’s own CV of Failures

CV of Failures Page 1
CV of Failures Page 2

Is it possible to make a Career Change in your 40s?

career change 40s

Many people in their forties have the mindset that a late career change can be disastrous.

Thankfully, finding a satisfying and higher paying job late in your career is much more obtainable than you might believe.

The American Institute for Economic Research recently discovered in their report “New Careers for Older Workers,” that a whopping 82% of individuals who transitioned into a new career after 45 were successful. With numbers like that, there is simply no reason to accept the wise tale of the jump being nearly impossible.

According to the study, those workers who pursued new career paths that leveraged their existing work skills had the most success. On the other hand, individuals trying to jump into careers that they had little to no skills for fared poorly. However, it is important to note that this is common with such career pursuits in general.

In the study done by AIER, a career change is defined as a “change in job that involves new tasks, with either the same or a different employer in either the same or a different field.”

One of the primary goals of AIER’s study was to find the approximate number of older workers that were actively changing careers and determining what skill sets, resourses and other material best helped them make a successful transition into a new career.

Here are a few of the most interesting and valuable pieces of information the study uncovered. While the data is focused on the USA, the findings are interesting/relevant for other places in the world as well.

  • Roughly 16 to 29 million Americans attempted a career change after the age of 45.
  • Of those that successfully made a career change, 18% of workers maintained the same salary, 50% saw their salaries rise, and 31% experienced a decrease in pay.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 of those who successfully changed careers reported being happy about the transition, while a full 65% of those same workers felt less stressed about their work situation.

While many transitions were successful, the transition itself sometimes took a while to materialize and show benefits. For example, some of the workers surveyed in AIER’s report noted that upon their initial career change, they had to take pay cuts before experiencing a higher pay rate later on.

Speaking on this issue, one respondent stated, “sometimes you have to take a little pay cut, but in the long run it will pay you more. If you feel you need a change, do it.”

Industries That Hire People Making A Career Change

welcome career change advice

If you’re thinking about moving to another industry, then LinkedIn has some useful career change advice and information for you.

Here’s what they did:

  1. They identified LinkedIn members who got a job in a new company in 2014.
  2. This list was then narrowed down to people who moved to a company in a different industry.
  3. They calculated the number of industry / career changers as a percentage of total people working in the industry.

Based on that, these are industries that hire the most number of people who are making an industry / career change.


industries hiring career change


Some additional insights on this information on industry / career change:

  • Other than technical/engineering professionals, the Internet industry hired Retail brand specialists and business development/strategy talent from Management Consulting.
  • The E-learning industry hired people making an industry / career change from Education and IT industries, to use their expertise in content development and partnership management.
  • Venture capital brought in people from almost all industries. It wasn’t just limited to ex bankers and consultants.
  • Online media grabbed talent from traditional media industries, for writing, editing and creative positions.

welcome career change advice

Why a Career Change in Your 30’s Might Be a Great Thing

singapore career change at 30

You spent the first 20 or so years of your life establishing your passions and pursuing your education.

You worked hard and got your first real job just as you got out of college.

You thought you were set for the rest of your life as far as your career goes, but then something happened. You turned 30 and, ever since then, nothing has felt right. Whether you want to accept it or not, your career defines you in many ways and being unhappy in your career makes the rest of your life miserable as well.

After putting all of that work into your current career, is it smart to suddenly say that it is time for a change? There are a lot of really good reasons why a career change in your 30s might be a great idea.


Your Life Is Changing


When you took on that first job and started your career, you were young, unmarried, excited about the upcoming journey and ready to take on the world single-handedly.

But as time goes by, you became less satisfied in the workplace, which is common for people in their 30s (NYMag.com). Co-worker support is important to how you feel about your job and many people feel like co-worker support falls off when they reach their mid-30s.

You also decided to start a family and now you have kids that take up a lot of your time. Since you are forced re-evaluate your life/priorities and to focus your time on the things that are important, you suddenly realize that the career you have is not what you thought it was. That is perfectly normal and it is the reason why so many people make a career change in their 30s.


There Is Plenty Of Precedent For Changing Your Career In Your 30s


Did you know that famous chef Julia Childs was actually an advertising copywriter until she hit 30 years old? Did you know that world famous vocalist Andrea Bocelli actually started a career in law until he hit his 30s and realized that he wanted to sing for a living?

Maybe you are in a career that just doesn’t excite you and you want a change. Since there is plenty of precedence for people successfully changing careers in their 30s, you have no reason to think that you cannot make the change.

singapore career change at 30
Being confused about your career in your 30s is normal.

You Are Much More In Touch With Yourself In Your 30s


In your youth, none of your career aspirations and ideas had been tried out in real-world situations. You may have done an internship here and there, but that doesn’t really count 😉 .

After a few years of working, you understand yourself and the real world a lot better. You know what you are capable of and you also see what you can actually go out and accomplish. It is not uncommon for a little experience/revelation/idea to suddenly inspire people to make career changes in their 30s.

If you are in your 30s and restless about your career, then contact Sandbox Advisors to talk about making the career change that you know you need to make. Making a career change in your 30s is not only normal, we at Sandbox Advisors could help to make it the best decision you will ever make.

Career change options for people with your background

career change options

With a new year comes new beginnings. If you’re interested in changing (or choosing) careers but aren’t sure where to start, here is are some great resources:

This is pretty useful data provided by LinkedIn.

When considering a career change, a big part of the process is researching, to figure out how easy or hard it will be to enter various careers. Some people want a change but cannot spend too much time or money (for education, training, etc.) behind the process of switching careers. Others have the luxury/flexibility of spending even a few years to prepare for and enable their career change.

LinkedIn has made the research process easier for you, by analyzing millions of member profiles, to provide information on the career paths and profiles of people with a background that is similar to yours.

This is a good indication of how easy or hard different career switches will be for you. The more common the change, the easier it is to execute.

How To Prepare For A Radical Career Change

radical career change

Many employees and even freelancers at some point in their lives realize that their job does not fulfill them. If you are one of them, you might be hesitant to change your career in this environment of financial insecurity. You need to consider however that people who love their job perform much better at work and are healthier and happier individuals. If you are trying to be a great professional in a career field that does not suit you, you are likely to end up with a burnout that will not even be worth it.


What is defined as “radical” career change?

It is important to clarify at this point that if you love what you do, but you do not like the company you work for or your colleagues, you can try for an evolutionary career change. This means that you still stay within your niche, even within your company, but you try to change what bothers you. A radical or revolutionary career change is about changing not only work environment, but also the nature and/or subject of your work.


Emotional preparation for a career change

A radical career change can be the best choice of your life, but in order for that to happen you need to think thoroughly and plan carefully your next steps. Especially if you are an enthusiastic person who changes preferences every few months, you will need to do quite a bit of soul-searching and goal-setting, before embarking on a new career journey. Knowing exactly what you want from your career is the only way to work efficiently towards getting it.

The first thing you need to do is to write down what you have learned from your current job. What are the things you like about it and what are the things you hate? For example, if you work in the PR department of a large firm, you might enjoy the contact with people but not like the pressure. This way you already know that a smaller company with less pressure might be a better option for you. Writing a list of the qualities you love and hate in your current job can be an excellent guide in your job search.

Then you need to ask yourself if your plans for your new career are really what you want or just fantasies. When we get emotionally tired by something negative in our life, we tend to go the opposite way, without knowing whether that is the right direction for us. If, for example, you work 12 hours a day as a financial adviser and you are full of anxiety and stress, you might decide that you want to live peacefully on the country side and raise livestock. But would you really enjoy this lifestyle change?

Once you conclude on the career path you want to follow, you need to check that your skills are enough. You might need some extra training in order to pursue a new career and in some cases that can be provided by the company. But if your work subject is going to be very different, expect that you will need to attend at least some workshops and seminars. A mechanical engineer who wants to work as a civil engineer has all the necessary engineering background, but still needs to update his/her knowledge according to the new field.

If you have your heart set on a new career, you need to check that the people who will be affected by this change agree with your plans. This usually includes your partner and children. A career change might mean that you will be working more hours or that you will be earning less. It might even mean that you will not be working at all for a while, if you need to train on a new field. Is your partner supportive? Explain to them how important this is for you and why and you will manage to find a solution that pleases both of you.


Financial Preparation for a career change

This is the part that usually discourages most people from radical career change. Especially if you have a family and you are the one earning the most money, it is hard to decide on taking a risk. There are two ways to deal with it: saving and keep working.

If you have your heart set on a career change, you should start saving as soon as possible and have at least 6-month worth savings before resigning from your current position. You will likely find a job much sooner, but it is good to have this safety net.

If you keep working in your current job while job hunting, you are more likely to find a job as well-paying as your current one, or even more. Employers trust people who are already employed more than other job-seekers. In case you find a job that is close to the definition of your dream job, but the salary is lower than your current one, discuss with your partner if you can afford to take it. Maybe older family members can support you with your career change, until you get a raise. Happiness is priceless, after all!

10 Reasons to Change Your Job

time for a career change

As the global workforce becomes more transitory in nature, it is not uncommon for workers to change their jobs every two to three years.

If you can identify closely with two or more reasons in this list, perhaps it’s time to consider if you should change your job:-

  1. Lack of a challenge : In theory we all claim to want an easy life at work but spending every day in a slow- paced environment can induce a sense of boredom and leave you feeling uninspired and unmotivated. The ideal balance is a job that takes you out of your comfort zone around 20% of the time; constant pressure and deadlines will only result in burnout.  If you’re suffering from chronic boredom at work, it may be time to consider a move.
  2. You want to learn more : The beginning of a new job is always a learning curve. The most recent research suggests that after three years most professionals have mastered their current role and are eager for a new challenge. Employers who value their staff will have career development policies in place to help you to evolve in your career.  Eager workers seeking a new opportunity who cannot find it in their current role/company often move to a new company to ensure their skills remain up-to-date.
  3. A difficult boss (or colleagues) : At some point, every worker encounters the difficult boss – the one that will criticize to extremes and generally irritate you profusely! If that irritation affects your ability to do your job or undermines your sense of well-being it may be time move on.  In this case it is essential to identify which of your boss’s personality traits are the most disconcerting. Is it poor communication or a general negative attitude towards your work? If you fail to identify these characteristics before you change your job, you may find yourself in a similar situation with a future manager. The same principles apply with hostile co-workers.
  4. Increased earning opportunitiesIs your salary competitive? While it’s not all about money, the promise of a raise and improved career prospects are justifiable reasons for leaving your present role. By changing jobs frequently, professionals can often keep their skills up-to-date and increase their salary significantly in comparison to staying in-situ. If you’ve worked hard to get to where you are today and network within your industry, the chances are you will be noticed by other organizations looking to recruit the best talent. Review their potential and ensure it correlates with your long-term career strategy.
  5. You’re not appreciated by your current employer : If your best ideas are pinched by your employers or colleagues who express no gratitude for your innovation, it could be time to move on. There will be other employers out there who will value your enthusiasm and contribution to the company.
  6. Life change : From time to time professionals change jobs due to a change in their personal circumstances, such as relocation, marriage, health reasons or to spend time with their family.  As your career evolves your priorities will change with it. What may have seemed so important at the beginning of your working life, for example working long hours, may not seem so important at a later stage.  If your job no longer suits your personal circumstances, it may be time to change your job. 
  7. Your job focuses on your weaknesses : Ideally, you should be working in a role that allows you to play to your strengths. If you realize that your job is mainly focused on areas of weakness – excessive admin duties for a sales focused professional for example – discuss this with your employer at the earliest opportunity. Explain how you believe your skills can be of more benefit to the company in a slightly different role.  If there isn’t a suitable opening and you feel like a square peg in a round hole, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.
  8. To become an entrepreneur : Many dream of it, but few choose to pursue their goals of working for themselves. With the long-term security in the job market becoming a thing of the past, increasing numbers of workers are opting to take a self-employed role or set up their own businesses.
  9. The company is unstable : When company profits tumble and a two year pay freeze is announced, this is often a time for employees to look around for a more stable employer.  Don’t instantly jump ship unless you are left with no alternative; take your time and research available opportunities.  Don’t leave one struggling employer for another only to find yourself in a similar situation a year down the line.
  10. Downsizing or restructuring : Or to put it another way – redundancy.  Losing a job forces people to review their current career and the alternatives open to them. If personal finances allow, some will often take the opportunity to retrain for an alternative career or become self-employed, particularly older workers who find it harder to secure new employment after losing their jobs.

Wish you all the best in your efforts to change your job!

Could You Be a Candidate for a Portfolio Career?

portfolio-career

Experts have been predicting changes in working patterns for some years now and of course the huge increase in the number of people who now work from home is testament to just one of these.  With so many employers being forced to cut back their workforces in order to just survive the current recession though, another of the anticipated changes which is very much in evidence at the moment is the growth in portfolio careers.

The term “portfolio careers” refers to careers which involve working in two or more roles at the same time.  This might mean working full or part-time in two similar or quite distinct roles for two different employers in two related or separate industries, or it could entail combining full or part-time work as a paid employee with running a business or doing freelance or contract work.  It could even involve a mixture of paid or self-employed work with regular voluntary work – or in fact just about any combination of any of these things.

Of course, for many people who are struggling to make ends meet in today’s economically troubled times, taking up a portfolio career hasn’t so much been an active choice, but rather the result of not being able to find a single full-time job in their field of expertise.  Huge numbers of workers have had to accept part-time roles just to bring some money into the household, and many of these are working several part-time jobs simultaneously.  For others, the threat of lay-offs and the ongoing sense of dissatisfaction caused by job insecurity have led to them holding down their full-time positions at the same time as building up businesses which they hope will sustain them in the future.

Of those who have deliberately chosen a portfolio career, some have done so to inject variety into their working lives.  Not content with spending all day, every day working in the same role and field and for the same employer, some have chosen to diversify their activities so that they gain increased satisfaction from each.  Others, meanwhile, have used a portfolio career to enable them to combine their true work passions with something that pays the bills, or to provide financial security while they switch to a completely different occupation.

As you can see, therefore, portfolio careers can be used to serve a variety of ends and they have a number of benefits, including the opportunities for workers to:

  • Work for a variety of different bosses or clients.
  • Develop a wider range of skills and experience.
  • Use a different mix of skills.
  • Introduce greater flexibility into their working lives.
  • Experience a greater variety of working environments.
  • Increase their earning capacities – often it is possible to earn more by doing two part-time jobs than one full-time job.
  • Try out different fields and industries.
  • Move gradually into different areas of work or build businesses gradually with less financial risk.

Of course, like everything, portfolio careers do have their downsides too, and these are well worth considering before embarking on this type of work pattern.  The main disadvantages include:

  • Poorer compensation packages.  Although it is possible to get paid more in terms of cold, hard cash by working two part-time jobs, part-time workers typically don’t receive the same levels of benefits such as pension contributions, private medical insurance, sick pay and so on.
  • Exhaustion.  Working two or more different jobs which require you to be at different locations and to use different skills and. abilities can be both physically and mentally exhausting, especially if it’s done over any great length of time
  • Overcommitment.  The phrase “jack of all trades and master of none” comes to mind here, because of course if you have too many different things going on at once it can become impossible to give enough of your time and attention to any one in particular.  Not only can this prevent you from earning more by becoming an expert in any one field, but it can also lead to poor levels of performance across the board.