LOVE MONDAY: Featuring Ryan Deal
At Painted Turtle Partners, we believe that every individual should be able to fully utilize their interests, skills and experience in a work setting that they will enjoy. In our weekly post, “Love Monday”, we will be highlighting individuals that have made a major career change and now love what they do. This week, you will gain insight from Ryan Deal who went from Actor to Account Executive for Expedient. Learn what career changes he made and how he got there.
What was your past career(s) and what are you doing now?
In my previous career, I was an Actor. I worked semi-regularly in TV, Film and on Commercials. During my time between acting jobs, I did side work in Entertainment Compliance (for television game shows) and also worked in restaurants to supplement my income.
Currently, I am an Account Executive for Expedient where I provide Infrastructure as a Service to businesses.
Was there a point when you just knew that you wanted and needed to go for this new opportunity? Can you describe that moment? What pushed you to move forward?
Yes there are two moments that always stand out. As with most actors, I worked in restaurants and did other side jobs. I remember when I first moved to LA., I was waiting tables and was told by a customer that if I kept up my attitude I would go extremely far in life. This always stuck with me- that I had talent with people.
Fast forward to February of 2015, I was working on the Steven Spielberg produced show starring Halle Berry in “Extant”. I was a co-star with 10 lines with Halle and Goran Visnjic. The show was in disarray, and I was called in to film my scene at 6 am. After sitting around the set for over 12 hours, I finally filmed at 7 pm. It was excruciating as any actor who is ready to work on a show of this caliber to just sit and wait for so long. Once I filmed my scene, I was treated like an extra, with the director hardly even taking time to acknowledge my presence. It was in this moment that I kept thinking back to the restaurant guest who had complimented me years earlier. I knew in this moment that being an actor would never make me happy as I was starting a family and yearned for a more consistent career. I also wondered with the talents I have what could I do in the “real world.” So we packed up our two bedroom apartment and moved East, to my wife’s home town of Columbus, Ohio.
Upon first coming to Columbus I had landed a job immediately in IT staffing which was a great job to reintroduce me into the professional world and out of the entertainment industry. I enjoyed the people I worked with and really enjoyed helping people find jobs. However it wasn’t a challenge and lacked the professional atmosphere that I wanted.
Then one day, I noticed Expedient on the Job boards. Now you have to remember, I looked at job postings all day being that I was in the Staffing industry. But this one had something different about it, so I thought, “why not apply.” So I did, and I also wrote the CSO of the company Bryan Smith and also called the HR department directly.
After interviewing, I was determined to get this job. I could just tell it was an amazing company to work for with a great product. I had no reservations, I knew this was my job to have! And I got it!
What helped to prepare you for this career change?
To change my career was years of mental preparedness, I had to take a very deep look into my life and come up with goals that I wanted to attain. I knew since a young child I wanted to be a successful actor, but I also have always had a deep urge to be a family man. Once I mentally focused on the latter goal, the successful actor part didn’t matter as much. It was more important to me to be a successful person with a challenging and rewarding career. I knew I was talented, I knew I could succeed in anything I did, and trying to make it as an actor just wasn’t worth it anymore. And to be honest, it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted either. I just wanted to be a successful, happy person who could have success in everything I did. I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be as an actor, so I needed to focus on my talents and use them elsewhere, which is what prepared me to move away from LA and focus elsewhere.
What have been the biggest struggles and/or hurdles that you have encountered with this change? What are you doing to overcome them?
Being that my job is extremely technical, it has been a learning curve, so I try to self-teach myself as much as possible. Also sometimes, I look back and miss the excitement and potential of booking that next great acting job. However, I try to remind myself that I don’t miss the career of an actor, I more miss that time in my life where I could live by the seat of my pants and pursue it. And to be honest I really don’t miss it, I am very happy where I am now with Expedient.
If you were to offer one piece of advice to individuals that are contemplating making a major career change, what would it be?
Do IT. Don’t wait for life to pass you by. If you are a sales rep for an IT company and dream of being an actor, then do it. Get acting classes where you currently live, get head shots, take classes, and try to work in the market you live in while you work at your current job. If you decide you want to move to LA to make it big, just know that it is extremely difficult and competitive and it will take 100% of your every waking hour to work towards, but if you want it bad enough then do it!
The same can be said for someone transitioning out of acting into an IT career. If you are contemplating doing something else or have other things in life besides just a far off dream, then make it a reality. I think the biggest mistakes people make is they are too afraid to make a change and would prefer to live in their current job that they are unhappy with. I think this is the worst mistake anyone can make. Making a change is possible, if someone did it before you, then you can do it as well.
If you are unhappy where you are or just simply want something different, then do it! If making that change just scares you too much, then change your mind set and know that anything is possible if you go for it. Yes I went for acting and in many ways I succeeded and in many ways I failed. But I think the greatest success I ever had was realizing that for my overall happiness and to achieve the life goals I have for myself was to move on from that industry and into another.
I know so many people that are afraid to leave their current career and in speaking from my experience, I think it is scarier to get trapped in a career than to start a new one. Take some time to self-reflect and look inwardly. I feel a great exercise is to write out what you want on your tombstone, to better understand how you want your life to play out and want people to remember you by. In doing this, it helps you better understand the best way to make your life goals come true and if that is by changing your career then by all means go for it! Because if you set a life goal for yourself and everything you do is to achieve that goal, then it will be much clearer of what path you should take in your career.
Expedient is an infrastructure as a service, and they are family owned and operated by some of the smartest people in Technology. You can check out their website and learn more about Ryan by viewing his LinkedIn profile. He would be happy to talk to you about Expedient and the transitions he has made in his career.