Fix My Career: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: How to know if it's too late to pursue your dream job

On CNBC Make It's makeover series "Fix My Career," the professionally stymied can present their most pressing career concerns to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, and get her no-nonsense take on what to do next.

In the second episode, Welch sits down with 30-year-old Nzinga Young. Young loves her marketing job, but she's always wondered about pursuing a career in modeling and is considering whether now is the time to quit her job, live off her savings and go all-in on a career change.

"I'm not 17 anymore," Young tells Welch, "so it feels like a now or never kind of thing."

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch
CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

Has she missed her chance to pursue her dream job?

It turns out Young isn't totally committed to the idea of making a wild professional leap. Welch senses her indecision and tells her candidly, "If I was your mom I would say, 'Your modeling ship has sailed.'" If modeling was really Young's passion, Welch says, she would have "done it long ago."

Instead, Welch urges Young to reexamine her current career. Go back to the drawing board, she advises, and ask yourself what you're good at, what you love and what you value in life. Once those questions are answered, Young should be able to see what career direction is best for her.

"We tend to focus on the jobs that are out there, and not on the skills, competencies, experiences and values that are in here," says Welch, pointing to her heart.

She advises Young to create a new resume that showcases her skills and passions, and to be more flexible about the roles she considers. Welch says that if Young thinks about the things she loves most about her current job and the things that excite her about modeling, she may be able to forge a whole new career path for herself in a field that brings those things together.

"Careers are long. The economy is wide and deep," says Welch. "You need to think expansively about your journey."

After following Welch's advice, Young says she realizes how much she truly loves her current job, and that she has a lot of flexibility and creative control already. And, she says, she can still do some modeling on the side.

"I feel much more confident about my decision to stay with the work that I'm doing, but maybe to think more broadly," says Young. "Maybe I'm not the spokesmodel for a brand, but I can be the unofficial spokesmodel for the things that I care about a lot."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at gettowork@cnbc.com.

Video by Nate Skid

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!