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Making the switch.

Although Donald Lowery spent nearly 14 years in journalism, it took him only two weeks to decidewhen he had enough. In July, the 35-year-old Boston resident put down his pen for a more lucrative position as an investment banker with Lazard Freres & Co. in Boston.

"When I evaluated what I had achieved and what I could reasonably expect to achieve in television, I decided that the change would be good," says Lowery, a former director of public affairs and editorials at WHDH-TV in Boston. Lowery has also held such positions as general assignment reporter and business reporter with several newspapers across the country.

After spending nine years with WHDH, a CBS affiliate, Lowery switched careers."I talke with a number of people within the investment banking field as well as outside of it, and they all encouraged me to do it," says Lowery, a Wesleyan University graduate with a bachelor's degree in economics. "Being single made it easy. I didn't have to worry about how my decision would affect someone else."

Whether a career change is spurred by the streamlining of corporate jobs or a desire to pursue a hidden talent or dream, most black professionals have at one time in their careers thought about changing professions. Experts say that radical career shifts are usually a good idea for people like Lowery who are unmarried, in their 20s and 30s and don't have immense financial obligations. Professionals in their 40s should think twice before making that kind of move, says LaMonte Owens, president of LaMonte Owens & Co., a Philadelphia-based recruitment firm. Owens also stresses that if you're not plugged into a network, changing careers will be more difficult. "It's like swimming against the current," he wanrs. "You can't do it if you don't have somekind of social hookup."

Owens says that he tells prospective career switchers of any age that they should ask themselves the following questions: Where am I trying to go? Is there a spot for me to switch to at company X? Says Owens: "You don't get results overnight because it's a hard road to travel, but it's a road you can control to a large degree."

Carole Hall spent seven years teaching English at an East Palo Alto, Calif., high school before she realized her "true calling" was a career in publishing. Now Hall is an executive editor with Touchstone Books, a New York City division of Simon & Schuster. Before landing that position, however, Hall paid her dues at several publishing firms. Says she: "All along I looked for career role models within those companies." Hall also says that she famliarized herself with the publications the top editors read and what professional organizations they joined.

Willie Carrington, president of W. Carrington & Associates, a Chicago-based executive search firm, advises that career changes should not be lateral moves. Carrington contends that a new job should stand out on a resume as something that shows growth and responsibility.
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Title Annotation:changing careers
Author:Serant, Claire
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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