Andrew Brill wanted a career in sports reporting. He pounded the pavement to find his first opportunity. In 2008, he joined the sports desk at WABC-TV New York when the news director decided to give him a shot.
But here’s the thing: Brill wasn’t your typical, wet-behind-the-ears intern. He was 42 years old.
Several days a week, he’d go to the station after working all day at another job. The long hours didn’t bother him a bit. “I was watching sports at work,” he said.
After the internship, he moved on. Eventually, he became the sole sportscaster for a TV station in Albany, New York. This spring, he received an offer from ESPN Radio, one of sports’ biggest and most revered news outlets.
Brill’s story isn’t like others that you’ll read on this blog. He didn’t start a business later in life. To the contrary, he left a family business because he didn’t enjoy it. “When you wake up and dread going to work, thinking, ‘I can’t do this for another second,’ it’s time to change,” he told Men’s Fitness in this profile piece.
His story is worth reading because it has some lessons and reminders:
1) A business owner needs passion to be successful. Brill recognized this — and got out since the passion wasn’t there.
2) A career change later in life has its advantages. Years of life experience as well as business experience helped Brill identify a path toward his dream job.
3) Sometimes you have to start at the bottom when you start over. At age 42, Brill had to do grunt work — and learn the nuts and bolts of his new profession. His age gave him a good perspective on this.
4) Family support is critical for career transitions. Brill’s wife and three children knew he had been miserable before — and could see how much he enjoyed his new career. Their willingness to endure long separations, make sacrifices and support him along the way made all the difference.
5) You never know when an opportunity will turn out to be “the big one.” Jump at every chance you’re given. That’s what Andrew Brill did. And it paid off — in spades.