Career Change is about the Reinvention of Self

How many jobs, how many iterations of self are there? Most people change jobs every seven years, and with these changes, most take the same skills, same attitudes, and behaviors. There is a better way to work through your professional life. Insanity is defined as doing what you’ve always done and expecting a different result. So let’s talk about a career change as a journey of reinvention, not as consecutive jobs. Let me share my journey to illustrate this point and help you define your own journey.

Rich 1.0 was an entrepreneur. With no capital, I started an insurance agency. A great business, I could sell a product that cost me nothing to inventory or store, cost me little to deliver and make money. For the next ten years, I built a very successful insurance agency with a strong base of loyal clients. Then I had the chance to take my skills and equity and take on an insurance brokerage. Brokerage ownership lasted another ten years, and I determined it was time to sell the brokerage. For the first time in my life, I needed to define who I was, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and what kind of company. Every job I had until this point was opportunistic; get a job and do your best, no planning or preparation necessary.

This step brought me to version 2.0. To realize who and what I wanted to be, I did a complete skill and experience inventory. I identified the cross-application of my skills and experience in other business segments. Since I was an entrepreneur, and hired, trained, and coached other entrepreneurs. I realized I could have success as a sales, marketing, business development executive with a small company with practical experience in sales, sales management, marketing, operations, finance, and business ownership. This iteration brought me three great roles with aspiring companies, but I needed to re-invent myself once again because of acquisition, the NASDAQ crash, and 9/11.

Next came 3.0. Having learned a lot in the high risk, high reward world of early-stage start-ups, I wanted to re-purpose myself for more of a corporate role that valued the innovator and entrepreneur in my DNA. That brought me to credit unions, and it’s been a great ride. I have been able to leverage the great work that preceded me, work with high-performing teams and amazing bosses. There was even a great interlude working as a consultant/strategist for a major vendor. But now, that ride is almost over. Since I had hired my successor, it will soon be time for me to hand over the reins and let “the new guy” take the organization forward from the launch pad we built.

Now we’re at 4.0. As we were preparing for this hand-off, I have had a lot of time on my regular evening runs to take inventory. My conclusion from all of this soul searching, experience and skill analysis was to leverage all of the great things we were able to accomplish at Elfcu and, as a consultant, share those best practices, strategies, and tactics so that other organizations could realize similar transformation. The only requirement is, the CEO must possess an appetite for change. My life mission is to be a catalyst for organizational transformation and allow companies to re-set their compass for continual improvement. I will do this work as an independent consultant or as a consultant for a major vendor in the space; either way, it’s going to be fun!

So, in answer to my very first question, “How many iterations of self are there?” I’ll let you know when I get there. To be continued.


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at


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