Discovered a great second career tip from an interview I read recently with Masi Oka, who plays Hiro Nakamura on Heroes on NBC-TV. He had been discouraged and thinking about leaving acting. Then the casting request for Heroes went out, and they were looking for three things in a young actor: comedic flair, experience in television and fluent in Japanese!

That unlikely combo was his ticket to stardom and financial success. And acting is his second career!

After he graduated with some sort of degree in mathematics or computer science, he went to work behind the scenes at Industrial Light and Magic and was very successful there. But that didn’t mean that was the only path he could take.

In my work with executives and professionals who are trying to figure out what they want to do next in their career, often it’s the unusual combo of lifelong interests and passions that give us the clue to an unusual and exciting second career that they are uniquely qualified to create.

So what about you? If you were to pull together an unusual combo of 3 of your interests and skills, what does that suggest about a potential new opportunity for a new job or a new business for you?

You can do this if you’re in your twenties and already ready for something different or if you’re close to the time for retirement, but too young to retire and not wanting to stop working completely — and ready for work to be on your own terms.