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Alumni Career Coach Marie Parziale Talks Goals and Resolutions


MarieRunning a marathon was a goal of mine every New Year’s eve for over a decade and I realized that I needed to do something different if I wanted to to achieve that goal. I was going through a difficult divorce and needed to do something positive that would help me to keep my head straight and prevent me from plummeting into a deep depression. I was walking with friends and running in my neighborhood but that was not enough and it definitely wasn’t the training needed to run a marathon. I was going to need some real support.

I heard good things about Team In Training and went to a meeting alone one cold January evening and joined. I started running with the group the following week for the long run and ran with them every Saturday morning until race day. I still had to run 3 or 4 shorter runs each week so I recruited my friend Marybeth who was disciplined and had one marathon under her belt from her younger years. She was at my doorstep for every one of our scheduled runs at 5:30 am before we had to get our kids up and ready for school. We ran in the cold, rain and snow. It was difficult and on many frigid February mornings as I lay in my warm bed, I wished that she would cancel – but she showed up and we ran. It not only made me physically stronger, but mentally too. It was just what I needed to get me through 26.2 miles and the stress of the divorce. 

Have you made any resolutions or set a lofty goal for the New Year? According to US News and World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. We start out strong, but we go it alone and don’t get the support that we need. What I discovered was that it was not the goal, but the behaviors that I changed that made all the difference. I worked at it weekly with a proven plan, the right support and had a lot of fun too. 

Success in finding a new job or changing careers has a similar formula. You need to be willing and open to making a change and doing something different. If you are having trouble going it alone, it’s important to get the right support and most importantly, you need to start doing something everyday to work toward it. 

Designing Your Life authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans tells us that “two-thirds of workers are unhappy with their jobs and 15% hate their work.” In the U.S alone more than thirty-one million people between the ages of 44 and 70 want what is often called an encore career – “work that combines personal meaning, continued income, and social impact.” 

Most people that want to make a change don’t know where to start. That is where I can help. I’m new to the alumni career services team, but not new to Stony Brook University and definitely not new to redesigning my life and helping others to do the same.

I also discovered that when you get clear and take action, those around you see you differently and get on board. My soon to be ex-husband saw how important this goal was to me and made sure that our sons could be with him every Saturday morning when I ran with the team. He also surprised me and brought Freddie and Andrew to Washington DC to cheer me on and meet me at the finish line. 

“If what you are doing is working, do more of that and if it’s not, make an adjustment.”

If you need inspiration and you’re looking to make some sort of change to your career that brings you more fulfillment, here are 3 opportunities to help you get started:

  1. Make an appointment with me on Handshake to help you discover and plan your next steps.
  2. Sign up here to join Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Janet Masini and myself in NYC on April 7, 2020 for an inspiring event,  “Career Redesigned. ”
  3. Sign up here to join our 30-day online Alumni Career Change Fellowship that we are bringing to you in partnership with the career change experts at Mission Collaborative. This online program starts on April 18 to help alumni like you to get the clarity and plans you need to find a fulfilling career. Enroll now for early enrollment pricing and take a step forward in defining what you really want.

If you have an inspiring story that you want to share about how you redesigned your career, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at 

Marie Parziale

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  • Absolutely loved reading your story. It shows perseverance, wisdom and commitment. I am looking forward to further reading from you , please continue to share your amazing journey with the rest of us. U Sund


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