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Joshua Sharf

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Career Change


You go to b-school, you get not one, but two degrees, and then you spend a year doing the same damn thing waiting for a position to come along.

Well, what better way to celebrate May Day than to begin work at a brokerage? That's right. On May 1, I make the long-awaited leap from programming into finance, joining Wm Smith & Co. as a research analyst. Naturally, I've got about 400 clients to wind up by 4/30, and I still have one contract to deliver on over the summer, plus I'll still be available to set up the occasional blog for people. But basically, I'm switching careers.

Let me tell, you, at 39, even in your first year of being 39, it's not easy to switch careers. Entirely too many HR people have already decided that your corners have been forever chipped away from 20 years of being repeatedly pounded into that round hole. Too many others simply assume that work experience, if it's not industry-specific, doesn't count. They might be willing to give you a chance, on the assumption that you should be willing to work for a 21-year-old's wages.

It's exciting to find a place that doesn't think that way, where the company's always looking for new ways to apply new ideas, and where I'll get a chance not just to write reports, but also to contribute to the business, as a business.

I've been trying to get away from programming practically since I started. The problem is that for 10 years, I spent time with a variety of government contractors. Now the government analysts weren't making a whole lot of money, so the only real compensation they had was the fun of doing the analysis. They contracted out the programming, much as the Army contracts out the washing & cooking. The last 10 years of web programming was largely a surrender to circumstance, the price being that I managed to get paid better for it.

Full disclosure: the initial connection was made through Marc Holtzman, candidate for governor, lest anyone accuse me of harboring secret sympathies or having made some sort of deal. In any case, Anyone who's actually had to find work, which immediately disqualifies most government workers and political activists, already knows that nobody "gets" you a job.

Hopefully, this will also mark a shift in blogging from mostly politics to mostly business and finance. I won't be abandoning any topics, just changing the mix to more vodka and less orange juice.


Good Luck in your new career. Don't let the age get you I got my BS Degree at age 55 (had 5 grandchildren hollaring "go Gramps") then started a career in music at age 65 after 30 years in aerospace management.

Don't slight the polital side of the blog I really enjoy it

Congrats, buddy!

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