Review of Career Transition: Make the Shift

Author Deborah Shane knows something about career transitions.  She’s been a singer, Latin dancer, high school teacher, and a songwriter.  And those are just a few of her past jobs.  She spent a number of years in radio sales.  After the radio business changed so dramatically in the first part of the millennium,  she started her own sales training business, Train with Shane.

Author Deborah ShaneFast forward to today. Deborah, someone I am proud to call a friend (and one of the Experts here at Small Business Trends), has had diverse careers.  And like many of us, she keeps reinventing herself.

In her latest career iteration, she is “just” Deborah Shane … an entrepreneur, speaker, author and consultant.  Deborah (pictured right) is one of those people where the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”  What she has to offer others is greater than the sum of of her career experiences. I’ll explain why in a moment.

Her book “Career Transition: Make the Shift” is about the steps to successfully reinvent your career. If you find yourself like Deborah — needing to make a career switch after years, even decades, in business — this book is for you.

Career Transition offers a roadmap to re-invent, re-brand and re-birth yourself in business. It forces you to be introspective, to understand yourself, and to spot potential you may not have realized you have.

This is a compact book of 165 pages.  The first 20% of the book is about Deborah and her life.  In a way it’s part memoir, including photographs of Deborah in nightclub dancer costume and as a singer with her band.  Those early experiences show you the diversity of her career.

Identify Your Transferable Skills

Deborah’s experiences illustrate how seemingly unrelated skills can contribute to the next stage of your career. If you think you’ve held many jobs and are not sure what good they will do you now, you may just need to think more broadly.  Those experiences are what make you unique.  And in ways you may not realize, you draw on those experiences.  For instance, Deborah writes about the concept of “transferable skills,” noting that your past jobs give skills you can transfer to other roles:

“Everything I have done in my life translates to my skills, experiences, wisdom, and intangibles.  All of them count.  All of them have contributed to who I am today.  From delivering dental work during high school, flipping omelets and tending bar during college, working in a dry cleaners after college, to teaching school, performing on stage, singing in recording studios, and working in broadcast radio …  they all have added to my transferable and personal skills.  The ability to uncover your transferable skills is the most important part of successful career transition.”

Transferable skills you can use in other careers include speaking, writing, negotiating, analyzing, coaching, selling — and more.  Deborah goes on to tie in how owning her own musical band in her early years, translated into a later career of speaking, consulting and holding workshops.  She was able to make such shifts because of the transferable skills she developed along the way.

You can reinvent yourself to become indispensable to others (translation:  others will want to hire you or buy your services).  She writes:

I have reinvented myself to become what Seth Godin calls a ‘linchpin,’ someone who lives his life as art, and who keeps working on making himself indispensable, by creating and producing interactions that people care deeply about.  I have always lived this way.  I just didn’t know then how to describe it, or what name to put on it.”

The book is not just about Deborah (@DeborahShane on Twitter).  There are numerous case studies about others who have successfully re-birthed their careers. One is Joyce Bone, founder of, who says that what motivated her to become an entrepreneur was “…I needed more money and knew I deserved it, but I realized nobody was going to pay me what I’m worth except me.”

Career Transition also includes exercises sprinkled throughout the book, to help you re-invent yourself in your next career phase.  The exercises are summarized at the end of the book.  They are also separately compiled into a Career Action Book (workbook) that you can request on Deborah’s website.

Who this Book is For

Career Transition: Make the ShiftCareer Transition is ideal for Baby Boomers or those who already have a few diverse career experiences under their belts, who want to move on to something more rewarding.  If you find yourself at a crossroads, struggling to know where to head next, or how to apply your past experiences to the future, Career Transition can help you make that shift.

You will be motivated by Deborah’s experiences and the case studies of others who have successfully made career shifts.  You too can do it!


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

6 Reactions
  1. Anita,

    Sounds like an intriguing book. As a former purchaser and now a social media enthusiast, I want to learn more about transferable skills.

    • Hi Martin, everyone has transferable skills. You just have to identify what those are. That’s what Deborah’s book helps you do. 🙂


  2. Many thanks Anita. You really did capture the mission and message I wanted to express! I appreciate you!

    • Nice job on the book, Deborah! Everyone looking to make a career transition should read your book, my friend.

      – Anita

  3. Anita: I will get Deborah’s book in the near future. I have an idea on how to use my knowledge in supply chain management and apply it to the field of social media and vice versa.

  4. Martin, what other ways would you like to apply your transferable skills for your career?