Changing careers with changing times
We meet people on a daily basis be it our friends, acquaintances, or family members. At the same time, our interactions are not just limited to them as we come across outsiders as well. When we meet someone new, we often think about, ‘how they come to be here’. No, I didn’t mean the mode of transportation, but ‘how did they come to be here at this point in their life’? More often than not, the answers are compelling and unique from each other because we can never foresee how things would unfold – being in the current situation, doing what we are doing, and meeting people.
When we’re kids, we hardly know what we want to do while growing up. We want to be a teacher on a particular day, a scientist on the next, a doctor or a homemaker on the following days. Life is all about finding the balance between what you really love and what you are really good at. As simple as that sounds, it’s not easy to attain that balance.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’ talks about 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert or master performer in a given field. Even if one doesn’t denote 10,000 hours, it surely takes years and years of experience to get really good at something.
However, no one in today’s day and age has a lot of time to waste. This article isn’t for those who’re looking to quit their job because they don’t like their bosses, or because they had a long day at work. This read is for those who are ready to leap into a brand-new career if they are not happy with how things are currently shaping up for them. Here are a few tips that might help you as they helped me during my career switches.
Firstly, there are three things to think about before you’re ready to move on:
1. Professional life is about learning. If you’re not interested in learning anymore, it’s a big red flag that there might not be a future for you in that industry.
2. Trust your gut. Career changes are often gut-driven. If you are constantly having sleepless nights where you’re wide awake staring at the ceiling and thinking ‘Oh man, I can’t live with myself if I never try to make this change or if I don’t even investigate’, then trust your gut. It is time for that much-needed change.
3. Pain shouldn’t be a factor. On the flip side, one reason to not move on is short-term pain. If you don’t like your boss or people at the office – it’s not a good reason to switch careers. Because when you change your career, most likely, you’ll have to start from scratch. And then, you’ll probably feel a lot of short-term pain – whether it’s through a lack of salary or lower designation. Pain at any job is inevitable.
After this, if you are convinced that you still want to switch, then here are three things that must be done:
1. Network. Network. Network. Meet as many people as you can. No one builds a good career without a good mentor or good support system. What I mean by networking is getting all the great advice that you can possibly get. Technology has made it simple to reach out to people and say “Hey, I’m thinking about making a career change, do you have just five minutes to talk about it with me?” Passion, hunger, and the ability to be a sponge attract mentors and they will readily give you their time and useful advice. So, go out there and meet new people!
2. Figure out your finances. The reality is, when you change your career, you’ll start a job with either a lower designation or lower pay or maybe even no pay, especially if you’re starting your own business. So, making sure that your finances are in order to make the transition less painful is very important.
3. If you’re not ready to take the big gamble at the moment, then get your side hustle on. Side hustles could be anything from volunteering with an organisation that has been in the industry that you want to switch to starting your part-time business on the weekends. It’s an easy way to know whether or not you really like working in the new field that you had been planning.
So, you’re ready to make the move or maybe you already made the move. In that case, here are three things you should consider doing:
1. Do not burn bridges. I repeat, do not burn bridges. You spent years building those bridges, why burn them now? The world is such a small place and with everything so closely connected through social media and online platforms, that believe me, you will see those people again, and probably in the most inopportune times.
2. Take an account of what you’ve learned in your previous career or careers. Remembrance is key. Most likely, a lot of those things are applicable to your new job and your new career. Whether it’s interacting with people, playing on a team, or dealing with unwelcomed people. You’ll find annoying and intrusive people everywhere, no matter which industry you work in. No one’s immune to it, everyone’s got to figure it out, and you probably already know how to get it done.
3. Lastly, when you start a new job, you’re going to be nervous. It’s normal to freak out. But don’t worry, take a deep breath. You’re now part of a new team and everyone around you is rooting for your success because your success would result in their growth. So, welcome to your new career and give it your best.