Alumni career changers do the unexpected with their lives

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Apple, delivered the following piece of advice as part of a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University:

"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

But the wisdom of these words are mitigated by the difficulty that can often exist in taking action. Despite the clarity many may have at being unfulfilled by their job or career, an overriding temptation to play it safe may remain.

The five alumni profiled below summoned the courage to take action. Unexpected career or life developments often pushed them into action, but they nonetheless found within themselves a sense of adventure, a higher calling, and a desire to seize the moment and pursue life's unknown possibilities.

Cardinal Stritch University has often been the venue for those who seek a change in their life or career path, offering not only the necessary academic programs but also the accompanying spiritual guidance so that the person's sense of self is nurtured throughout the transition to a new job, a new career, or a new life. We hope you find inspiration in the stories of each of these individuals, all of whom agree with Jobs' advice to "keep looking. Don't settle."

Jim Birch

Birch’s mid-life foray into teaching evolved from experience accumulated in his two previous careers – working at a software technology company specializing in meteorology and in sales for a custom home builder.

Cheryl Clemons

A victim of corporate downsizing, Clemons paused to reflect and pray about what this unexpected event truly meant to her.

Dan Gitzlaff

A food service provider for more than 20 years, Gitzlaff could never dismiss his desire to be a nurse. 

Freda Russell

Stritch's dean of the College of Education and Leadership recounts a continuing journey that started in health care. 

Kevin Schramka

As a member of the fourth generation to manage his family’s funeral services business, Schramka was confident in his life’s path until the business was sold and he asked himself, "What's next?"