There are 3 Chefs vying for NYC win in the Sears Chef Challenge. 10+ year software sales veteran turned personal chef, Matthew West, is one of them. Matt's story is just the kind of thing we LOVE to hear at CAREEREALISM.com. I interviewed him recently to learn how and why he made such a dramatic career change.If you find his story encouraging, feel free to vote for him so he can win the contest.

How did you know it was time to make a career change & what gave you the courage to make the change? I lost two jobs in two years. I was unhappy and realized I couldn't put my dreams on hold any more. Life was passing too quickly and I was afraid to spend the rest of my days worried about finding work that I didn't enjoy. So, with the support of my wife and friends I decided to make the change.

What are the 3 most important things you learned about yourself by changing careers? I realized I didn't like Corporate America, I could be happy earning less money, and anything worth doing takes plenty of sacrifice, passion and attention.

What practical advice would you give job seekers who are afraid to make a career change? Don't wait until you are too old to make the leap - do it while there is time and if need be you can fall back to previous experience.

Why did you join the Sears Chef Challenge?
I thought it was an awesome resume builder and would provide me/my business a certain stamp of credibility.

Why should complete strangers vote for you? Because I believe I provide the best live demo's; entertaining as well as educating my live audiences and imparting my love of food and cooking - a love that I have finally turned into my career.

If think Matt is a true Careerealist like I do, then please vote for him now!