502. Wisdom from Wandering: The Career Pivot
From an early age, Marc was good at math and chess. It was no wonder everyone told him he should be an engineer. After getting a degree in computer science, what he learned about himself on the job was he is a “geek who can speak”–an unusual combination that for 22 years let him change jobs every few year, all within the walls of his first employer.
Marc Miller’s career journey included 22 years at IBM, several thriving tech startups, a stint as a high school math teacher, a gig raising funds and a near fatal bicycle accident that changed his perspective forever. Thirty years of wandering the proverbial career desert, often repeating the same mistakes over and over, taught him his most crucial lesson: Most people don’t really know what makes them happy at their core, what fulfills them. Marc’s latest endeavor “Career Pivot” uses his extensive training experience to help others—especially Baby Boomers—find careers they can grow into for the decades that lie ahead.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I was in the Bobby Fischer generation in the early 1970s. So, I played chess and I did math. That’s why I was told to go forth and be an engineer.” Despite a learning disability that plagued him in school, Marc got into Northwestern University, earning a computer science degree. Computer science programs were fairly unusual at the time. You probably could say I have ADHD, which I don’t believe in. It just means I don’t have a long attention span. So, in my career, I found other ways to use my analytical skills.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Marc uses humor to describe himself as a young man. “I eventually became a geek that could speak, an articulate techno weenie. I could stand up in front of a crowd and explain stuff! Could I sit for hours writing code or designing a circuit? Heck no! But I sure could explain it. So, all of those skills eventually evolved.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Don’t let your limitations or disabilities keep you stuck. Learn to find ways that work for you. I’m a closet introvert. I’m actually very shy, but I’ve learned to be a phenomenally good public speaker. I can work a networking event with the best of them. Even though I am not an extrovert, I’ve learned to do that because I make more money doing that!”
Steps to Success from Marc Miller
1. Understand who you are. You probably won’t figure it out just inside your own head. So, get help.
2. Turn your apparent limitations to your advantage. Short attention span? Learn about lots of things, try new experiences, mix stuff up.
3. Notice when things have worked for you and when they haven’t, and look for the reasons why. Learn from that self-observation.
On His Bookshelf
Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth, by Mika Brzezinski
Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS, by Shirzad Chamine
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
Connecting With Marc Miller
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Careers: Career Coach, Computer Science, Engineer, Speaker, Teaching/Teacher
Topics: Fear, Following Passion, Multi Careers