If you're thinking of going into sales, if you're already in sales, if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up (no matter your present age!) there's a top-rank article you need to read in the magazine FAST COMPANY.
It's "Why smart people should go into sales," by Andrew Yong, and among his accomplishments include authorship of the book, SMART PEOPLE SHOULD BUILD THINGS.
I'll leave the article to you, but add that "selling" is not just selling products or services, but it's also persuading, reading body language and other buying signals, pulling out objections and hesitations, presenting concepts, learning to find and fill needs (needs that often the other person isn't really aware of, so part of "selling" is showing the need and how you can best fill it). All of these abilities pay off many times over if you move from sales per-se to management, customer service — even to setting up your own business and marketing your skills, perhaps as part of career reinvention, or electing for self-employment as your new career option.
Link to article in Fast Company
"Twenty years ago teaching people how to start their own businesses was a
sideshow at B-schools, of scant interest to future consultants and Wall
Streeters. Today entrepreneurship education is everywhere. More than two-thirds
of U.S. colleges and universities — well over 2,000, up from 200 in the 1970s
— are teaching it, and they offer it to all comers: social workers, farmers,
and even musicians. The field is thriving, but have we figured out yet the best
way to teach this stuff? If not, are we at least getting better at it? And can
you even teach someone to be an entrepreneur?"— from the Fortune article, "Can you learn to be an entrepreneur?"
The article generally comes down on the side of "Yes, you can learn entrepreneurial skills and traits. It doesn't get into just what those traits are (other than developing a "proper attitude toward risk") but the sidebar, "Small-Biz U" gives an overview and slide-show of five programs on small business and entrepreneurship.
The article seems more oriented to entrepreneurship in the larger sense — developing business plans and setting up firms — than it is to opportunities in self-employment, consulting, and free-agency.
Can you learn to be an entrepreneur? Fortune article
Link to related article and slides in Fortune: "5 schools for entrepreneurs"
The Wall Street Journal runs a regular section, "Career Journal" — nowadays often focused on career transition, and getting started in your new life.
"You Just Have to Do It," by regular Alexandra Levit, points out that "people in the midst of a career reinvention
Continue reading Your new business venture: getting started