Teacher-turned-doctor offers advice for career changes

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By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

PHOENIX -- A Valley teacher-turned-doctor has some valuable advice to anyone else looking to make a career change. Her secret for success is patience.

Dr. Yarden Tahan said she wanted to be a teacher from an early age, but, like many others, the career didn't end up being exactly what she was looking for. Tahan began taking night classes, and now she's in one of the most in-demand fields in today's job market: healthcare.

There are 1500 job openings at Banner Health alone, according to Banner's Jozie Martinez. Martinez said there are availabilities all the way from food service to doctors, with everything in between. However, both Martinez and Tahan agree that before someone can make a leap in to any field -- even an in-demand one -- slow and steady patience is necessary.

For Tahan, that patience began in her education. While continuing to work as a teacher, Tahan began to take one class at a time at a community college. This approach to education was part of Tahan's very realistic plan to get to her new career.

"My financial planning and my time planning were interjoined because I taught every day, I had to grade English papers at night," Tahan said. "I could not take more than one class, really, in the evening and I probably couldn't have afforded more than one class either."

All of this planning helped Tahan make sure that she really wanted to change careers, something she said everyone moving from one field to another needs to do.

"Take it step-by-step," Tahan said. "The other nice thing about taking it step-by-step: you can always turn back. You haven't gone to far, you haven't walked in and quit."

Martinez said that planning should not stop at education and career field selection. Anyone applying for a job, including those changing careers, should know exactly what position they actually want with their new employer.

"It's not uncommon for someone to apply for 50 positions at once," Martinez said. "That dilutes the whole purpose of what you're looking for. So, for a recruiter, it's hard for us to tell 'where does your passion lie?'"

While there's certainly plenty of patience and planning involved, Tahan's last piece of advice is one of action. She said people shouldn't be afraid to take the first step toward their new careers.