Nutrition/ RD

Life Lessons From Changing Careers

I almost never do this, but I’m going to write a blog post all about myself. There will be no recipes or nutrition tips in this post. Instead, I will tell you about my career change to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Pin these tips for later!

Lessons and tips about changing careers.

I recently realized that nowhere on my site does it say that Nutrition is my second career. I used to work in Advertising Sales for major television networks. It was a career that I stumbled upon after college, but I never really felt fulfilled. I spent two years getting acquainted with the world of advertising, and then I spent the next two years figuring out how I could get out of the world of advertising.

See more about that journey in this new video!

IMG_3916When I was 26, I knew that I needed to make a change but to what? “Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life.” You’ve heard that saying, right? This kept popping into my head. I thought about what I love to do, and two things came to mind: cooking healthy meals and exercising. These were my hobbies, but could they be my career? After much research and contemplation, I decided to pursue a career in Nutrition.

That was 5 years ago. Now I’m taking my RD exam in a few weeks and am very happy to say I have accepted a job offer as Dietitian Specialist with Restaurant Associates. I will be working as a Dietitian, helping to manage a café that is health and wellness focused at an Investment Bank in NYC. Everyday, I will work with food and nutrition and I couldn’t be more excited!

Update 11/26/16: I now work for myself as a media Registered Dietitian. I have written for a variety of national publications, including Runner’s World, Women’s Running, Eating Well, Shape.com, Fitness Magazine and Food & Nutrition Magazine. I work with brands to help them develop consumer friendly content, and I also work with other Dietitians to develop e-mail marketing strategies. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how my career has progressed!

Changing #careers can be a rocky road, but there are definitely GREAT lessons to be learned! Click To Tweet

You may be wondering what occurred in my life during the past 5 years. Well, many classes and many hours spent babysitting and a few valuable life lessons.  I thought I would share these lessons for anyone thinking of switching careers or anyone who is just interested in what I’ve been through.

  • Be okay with taking risks. I think two of the most stressful points in my life were waiting for Grad school admission and worrying about finding a job. I convinced myself that there was a possibility that both weren’t going to happen (but it all obviously worked out)! If they didn’t work out, I would have figured out a way to keep going. I always had to keep in mind that changing careers involves a great deal of risk and worry, but the reward is totally worth it!
  • Networking is key! Networking is so important in any career, but it’s really important when you leave a career behind to start over. Throughout my schooling, I didn’t go to weird networking events and blindly introduce myself to strangers, but I did get to know many different nutrition professionals. I was interested in people’s jobs and asked them questions, and I always took on as many nutrition related side jobs as possible. I did a ton of things for free, but it paid off in the end when I got called for an awesome position.
  • Don’t listen to what others tell you that you have to do. Everyone in my life was very supportive of me changing careers. However, when it came time to figure out what I wanted to do within the field of nutrition, many RD’s told me that I had to go where the jobs were, even if that wasn’t my passion. I absolutely refused to believe this. I networked my butt off to make sure that I had as many opportunities as possible. Be determined to do what you want and don’t let people tell you otherwise!
  • Realize that your life will be very different than your friends. When I went back to Grad school, my friends all had careers, money, and free time. They were able to go out on dates at night while I was in class or babysitting. I didn’t think about this ahead of time, but I don’t regret my decision. I will eventually have time to do all of those things.
  • Give it everything you have. Let’s face it, no one ever got anywhere by half-assing it. If you don’t give your new career your all then you will never fully succeed. Know what you want and work your hardest to make it happen!

In the end, the most important thing I learned was to follow my passion. Now I will “never work a day in my life”. Are you a career changer? What have you learned along the way?

36 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen Rizzo
    July 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    This is AMAZING!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  • Reply
    ASHVEN KRRISHNAN
    July 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Awesome blog!!I am a chartered accountant interested in pursuing fitness. just the blog i needed!!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      July 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I’m so glad you found and like the blog! Hopefully I can help make the possible career change a little easier.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    July 27, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    What a fantastic blog piece- you go girl! That new career sounds so fascinating- I’ve always wanted to work in a cafe that has an emphasis on healthier menu items. I couldn’t agree with your key points more- networking really has helped get me to where I am today! Way to go Natalie!

  • Reply
    shawsimpleswaps
    July 27, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Oh no! It just deleted my novel of a comment! Anyways, way to go girl! You are spot on in your pointers and I am so jealous of your new gig-how exciting! Can’t wait to hear more as you begin this new journey!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      July 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks so much for reading and the support! It’s been a long road, and I’m excited for the future.

  • Reply
    Be Truly Nourished (@TrulyNourished)
    July 27, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Good for you for going and doing what you love! I had no idea you didn’t start out in nutrition. You are a natural! Good luck with the RD exam (you’ll be fine), and I’m excited to hear about your RD job! 🙂

  • Reply
    laurengibsonrd
    July 27, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Congratulations! Becoming an RD is quite a journey- it’s very exciting to write the letters next to your name 🙂 Good luck with your new job.

  • Reply
    Donna Fletcher
    July 28, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a positive message! Just as the seasons change (okay… maybe not so much in Florida!) our own “season” changes all too often as well. Congratulations for not only becoming a RD, but for being brave enough to follow your passion! I know you’ll do great and thanks for all of your advice.

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      July 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks for reading Donna! I feel like everyone has been wondering what I’ve been doing the past few years, so I figured I would share. It definitely took some bravery, and I won’t pretend that there weren’t moments of doubt. But I’m glad I did it! Thanks for the kind words!

  • Reply
    Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen
    July 28, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Your new job sounds awesome! Congrats on the career change! The nutrition field has so many door an opportunities to venture into!

  • Reply
    Katie Cavuto
    July 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Loved reading this!! Seems like you made a great switch!

  • Reply
    champagnenutrition
    July 31, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    This is really great – I have a similar story and it was 100% worth the risk and effort. Awesome work!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      July 31, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you! I love blogging because I get to e-meet other Nutrition professionals who are as passionate as I am. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Julie
    July 31, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Just discovered your blog. I’m a second career dietitian as well. And you’re right. Be ok with taking risks and do what you love. I need to write a similar post about my career change.

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      July 31, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Yes definitely! I think it’s a great career to be in. I’m happy you enjoyed and can relate with the post. You should definitely share the lessons you’ve learned with your readers.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @NourishedSimply
    August 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Good luck with your new job!

  • Reply
    Tomato and Corn Summer “Farrotto” | Nutrition à la Natalie
    August 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    […] a minute to say how appreciative I am about the overwhelmingly positive response to my last post on lessons I’ve learned from switching careers. I don’t write about myself often, and it makes me really happy that so many people read and […]

  • Reply
    6 Things You Don’t Know About Registered Dietitians | Nutrition à la Natalie
    September 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

    […] to write this post for a while, but I was waiting until I passed my RD exam. During this long career change process, I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with many RDs and I’ve learned a ton about the […]

  • Reply
    Recipe ReDux: Green Eggs & Quinoa Muffins | Nutrition à la Natalie
    September 21, 2015 at 6:07 am

    […] ReDux, aka September 21st, snuck up on me this month. With studying (and passing!) my RD exam and starting a new job, the end of August and beginning of September flew by. Luckily, I had a post ready to go that fits […]

  • Reply
    Jessica Levinson (@jlevinsonrd)
    September 22, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    congrats on the new job – it sounds like an awesome and super fun opportunity!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      September 28, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      Thank you!!! Becoming an RD has been such a crazy ride, but I wouldn’t change it.

  • Reply
    Life As An RD | Nutrition à la Natalie
    November 10, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    […] towards in the past 5 years finally came to fruition. Suddenly, I became a Registered Dietitian.  With this change, I thought it would be a great time to provide my readers with a life […]

  • Reply
    Weekly Update: Fitness, Food, Professional – Nutrition à la Natalie
    March 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    […] an interesting thing has happened…whenever I write a post about Rising Above Negativity or Life Lessons From Switching Careers, I get a tremendous response from my readers.  Readers have even reached out to me to ask me […]

  • Reply
    Aggie
    September 28, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    So glad I saw this post, boy can I relate. “Your life will be very different from your friends” … um yes. 🙂
    Really great words of wisdom here, thanks!

    • Reply
      Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD
      September 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      You’re welcome! It sucks going through it, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise.

  • Reply
    How to become a Dietitian Entrepreneur - Resource Library
    March 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

    […] is incredible! She switched careers last year and is rocking this entrepreneur thing! Read her career change here and then get the details on why you need a […]

  • Reply
    Abby McD
    March 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I know I’m late to this post but I have been scowering the internet for a post like this.

    I am currently 24 and 2 years into my first ‘real job’ in sales. I know this isn’t my lifelong career. I fell into very similar to your advertising sales prostitution. I would LOVE to change careers and get into nutrition/dietician.

    How did you start? What were the first few steps to tackle the feeling of being overwhelmed?

    • Reply
      Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD
      March 15, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Thanks for reading. I just started by going to information sessions at schools and researching all the classes I needed to take. Eventually I quit my job and just started taking Chem and intro to nutrition. Eventually it all worked out!

  • Reply
    MMorgan
    November 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Natalie! Thank you for sharing your experience. I too am looking to change careers and want to follow my passion to become an RD 🙂 It seems so overwhelming when examining the options for school.

    For your Masters, did you complete a Didactic or Coordinated Program – and did you have to move away for school? I have read that Coordinated Programs are best for getting your internship, but there are more Didactic Programs available in my state. Ahh so stressful!

    • Reply
      Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD
      November 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Morgan. Thats for reading! I did a Didactic program because I think that was all that was available in my area. I live in NYC was not willing to leave for school, so I didn’t move away. From what I understand, if you go to a school that has a Masters and a DI and you do well in the classes, you are likely to get into the Dietetic Internship. I know how stressful it can be, but it tends to work out for people who are super motivated and driven to change careers. Just stay positive, and know that it’s the best decision I ever made!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.