Angelina Corbet is a multi-talented career changer who has had careers as an executive, facilitator, writer, coach, Wall Street consultant, and a New York City public school math teacher among many others. At age 55 she is currently “vocationing” in 4 jobs.
"I think part of the challenge when people make career transitions is they are convinced there is one job that does everything."
Avocationist talked to her in January, 2008 about her careers, how she’s pursued finding a fit in multiple roles and how she’s learned to be more present.
This is the first of our five-part interview. Find out more about Angelina and Vocationing at www.themobiuscompany.com
Read the interview:
Avocationist: Let me start out. If I can get you to tell me what you do for a living now.
Angelina: I am currently a facilitator, coach, teacher and story teller. I provide those services to companies and individuals or groups who wish to live intentional lives.
Avocationist: What do you mean by intentional lives?
Angelina: I like to work with organizations where individuals are making very intentional, conscious choices about what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, what they’re doing, how they’re responding. I prefer working with individuals in groups who are conscious and intentional about the things that they are about and about the things around them.
Avocationist: Okay. You said you have four jobs right now.
Avocationist: Tell me about that. How did you get to that point?
Angelina: It’s very interesting. I think I had mentioned to you I had written an article a number of years ago called “Vocationing”.
Avocationist: Which you sent to me, thank you for that by the way.
Angelina: The thought is that, society and especially the American culture, would have us do a JOB. What happens is we try to find the thing that we think best suits us. Sometimes it is the case is that we are multi-talented. We’re in a job that may use a certain percentage of our talents, but it doesn’t use all of our talents. We can express those talents in other ways; either through hobbies, or volunteer work, or things like that. I thought of this when crafting my last career, which was probably about ten years ago. I’m in this career the longest of any career I’ve been in.
Avocationist: What do you mean by "crafting" your career?
Angelina: I crafted it in such a way that it would utilize a lot of the different talents I have. The coaching gives me the opportunity to be one on one and very personal and very intimate. It uses those talents of making connections with people, really working on the feeling level. The facilitation really plays to the fact that I enjoy working in a group, in larger settings, in the corporate setting and in the business world. The story telling is a little bit about the fact that as I’ve gotten older I enjoy writing more, which is a very solitary function. Each of the roles play a little bit to the personality differences, the mood differences and different talents that I have. As a facilitator I don’t deal with content at all, I deal with the process of the group. Whereas when I’m training, I deal with content. As a writer I deal with both. The different jobs really give me a chance to draw on different talents without having to limit myself to just one.
Avocationist: What were you going through when you made that last job transition? That seems to have worked out well because it’s the longest job you’ve have.
Angelina: A number of things. I did specifically take a number of personality or style tests. I did take tests to tell me what my interests were. I did take tests to tell me my personal style, my Myers-Brigg type. I did take a test that measured my abilities. I took those tests to really help me see areas where I was tending to be naturally good. For example, what are the things that I might have known intuitively but I didn’t know concretely that would be good areas for me to pursue. As those things unfolded and I learned from those tests, I said, “Okay, it’s not so far fetched that I could be a teacher and a coach and meld those things together”.
Avocationist: What was it about the tests that helped you figure that you could meld things? Or what was your experience?
Angelina: I think it was the process of looking at all of the different skills and abilities along with my personal style. I went through an exercise using the Highlands Program that really had me do almost a mind map of my abilities. Having all of these skills and abilities, how do I put them together in such a way that can come up with something that suits all of the things that I figured out.
Avocationist: It was the intentional process that you used that helped you look at all the pieces at one time?
Angelina: Very, very intentional. It was interesting because it was the first time that I had done that. I’ve made any number of career changes over the years, but in some ways when I would make the career changes it was usually because one particular talent was pulling me and I had ignored it. The example I’ll use is as a teacher, I really played to that ability to work with groups and to interact and to work on content and be in large groups. I was very happy being a teacher. I left that career and got in to a job as a computer programmer, which feels like the exact opposite.
Avocationist: It does.
Angelina: At it turns out, as a programmer, what I was really getting was very logical problem solving which wasn’t necessarily something that I got a lot in teaching, which is not very logical. You have to be on your feet and answering questions and you never know what kids are going to say next. I guess at the end of teaching, I didn’t realize it, but I was pursuing a career that felt much more in my control and much more logical. Then I left that and went to the next field and it was, again, something that was very different. Each time I made the change it really was whatever ability was screaming at me the loudest. Rather than stepping back and looking at it, and say, “Okay, what are all of these things I’ve got to take in to account and how do I meld them in to what feels like something that can satisfy more of the things that I needed satisfied”.
Avocationist: Can you walk me through all of your careers? I love that list.
Angelina: Okay. I started as a teacher of mathematics. I left that, went back to school and became a computer programmer. I left that and became a controller. I left that and became a consultant on Wall Street. I left that and got involved in a university in school reform. I left that and became the head of human resources for an IT company. I left that and became a business development person for a company, the Highlands Ability. I became business and development sales marketing person. I left that and went in to business for myself. I think that’s all of them. I am not sure if I missed any.
Angelina: I feel very lucky and blessed that I’ve had this career now for ten years that satisfies so many of the needs and plays on so many of my talents and uses so many of my skills. I’ve also come to realize that I really do need hobbies and volunteer work for some of them. The example I’ll use is, I just really love this whole world of decorating and cooking.
Things that have to do very tactilely, with colors and tastes. There was a time when I was convinced that my next career was going to be as a chef. It really was because that was the piece that wasn’t being satisfied.
Avocationist: Is that next?
Angelina: Today I realize that that’s probably not the right next career for me. But that is a piece of who I am and it has got to find a way in to either a hobby or my volunteer work or something I do. So I think part of the challenge when people make career transitions is they are very often convinced there is one job that does everything. And, they ignore the fact that there might be a job that does most of it, or a career that does most of it, but you’ve got to pay attention to the hobbies and the volunteer work and the avocations. Otherwise, you may not get it all from one career.
Avocationist: Right. And if you’re multi-talented then it’s even harder.
Monday: How can one person enjoy teaching, sales and facilitation? Finding the common thread in childhood interests…