This blog has little bit of everything...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I Need A Career Change At 35 Or 40 But Don't Know What To Do

Have you ever felt that you have a good job but you are still not happy? 
Have you ever felt that you are stuck at your current job? 
Are you asking yourself: I need a career change at 35 or 40 but I don't know what to do?

By being stuck at your job I don't mean you have a low salary or you have a bad boss. You may actually have a good salary, a very good work environment and good quality of work but still somehow from within you feel that you are burnt out and you don't want to continue with the same job anymore. You want to do something different, you desperately need a 'Career Change'.

Let us try and understand it more with the below example based on true incident.

Jonathan is a software engineer. For the last 8 years he has been working for a large multinational company. He earns a very good salary of over $170K per year. Everything seems perfect except that he has started to feel burnt out since last few months. He feels that programming has taken a toll on him and he doesn't feel the same passion and drive towards software development anymore. As a result Jonathan now wants to quit software industry. He wants to explore newer opportunities in other industries and domains. But his current job is so demanding that he isn't able to invest anytime to find out/ search any opportunity which would give him the same salary as his software job. This starts to frustrate Jonathan because he is not able to give his 100% at the software job and at the same time he is not able to take any action which will get him out of this rut.

Above is an example of being stuck with a good job. After a few years of service many professionals (not just software professionals) feel the same way as Jonathan. Some people term it as mid-life career crisis. Once you are in this situation you feel miserable because you desperately want to break out but don't know exactly how to get out, whom to consult and where to go? and above all how to maintain the cash inflow while all this is happening.

If you have felt this need for a Career Change, here are some tips that may be useful:

Do your math: Manage your finance and make the right savings and investments before you plan to act on your career change plan. To be safe you should have at least six months of funds to take care of your day to day needs.

Plan a career re-fuel break: Take few days off from your job. Taking a sabbatical may be a good option because that will give you some peace of mind to think and act outside your work.

Small efforts make a huge difference: Don't underestimate the power of small efforts. If you are not able to incorporate big changes in your career/ work life then start with small changes. For example, join a weekend or online learning course which will not conflict with your working hours.

Don't wait for one fine day when everything will be fine: There will be new problems every day, some big and some small. Don't wait and wait for all problems to be solved, create a plan and act as soon as possible.

Don't undervalue or underestimate the value of your current job: Your current job still pays you enough to support your family and pay all your bills. Don't be in a hurry to leave your current job. Remember, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Network with right people: If you want to make a career change/ move from one industry to another then knowing the right and influential people is the key. Utilize the power of The Internet to create your power network of people. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Quora etc. may be useful in creating your power network.

Be ready to invest time, energy and efforts: Be prepared to learn, you may also need to invest efforts and money in re-skilling or training yourself. This will be over an above your current working hours.

Remind yourself of how far you have come: Take a look back and see how far you have come since you started working on your first job. Recollect all your memories and refresh your memory with all your past achievements. This will be your fuel and motivation to move forward towards new goals.

Ask experts/ Research: One important aspect of career change planning is extensive research. Thanks to the Internet most information these days is available at your fingertips but asking advice from an expert or consultant may prove to be very beneficial.

Focus on your core strengths: When you plan to switch from one industry to another it becomes all the more important that you focus on your core strengths. These may not necessarily be the technical skills but core competencies like ability to lead complex projects, quick learning, multi-tasking, fire-fighting or escalation management, team building, project management etc. Continuous focus on core strengths will ensure that you succeed even when you make a major career change hoping from one industry to another.

Aspiring to take up a altogether new career sounds interesting and adventurous but in real world it may take more than a few days or weeks; it may actually take months or years to make it happen in reality. But if you are really desperate you need to put all the power possible to get you out of your current situation. 

Remember: If you really want something different then you got to do something different.

Bonus tip: If you are interested in getting better at setting goals you may want to read this recommended book for setting high goals...