Mid-Career Transition: Changing Job Lanes


blog2When switching midway through your career makes sense. 

Follow your passion. It’s the new mantra when it comes to managing your career.

Almost everyone has that one passion that we wish we could turn into a full-time profession. Words like ‘self-actualisation’ are in the air and more & more professionals are wondering whether it’s time to do ‘what ‘brings you happiness’. But it is a hard decision.

We offer you a look at why people change their set career path and a set of tough questions that tell if you are among those who can make your career switch work, in conversation with Executive Coach Anamitra Chatterjee.

Can you identify your true interest?

A choice of career could be based on any of three factors – our Interests, our Motivation and our Skills. Work and Career Leader Professor Timothy Butler of Harvard theorizes that we usually choose our careers based on one, at most two of these factors. He has changed the way we look at careers by suggesting that for most of us, careers are based on ‘Skills’ i.e. – what we demonstrate we can do. In other cases, the choice of a career is determined by ‘Motivation’ – that which we find aspirational & inspiring based on the situation around us (think cricket). But this may not necessarily be a person’s true ‘interest’. Your Interest, instead is that which has your complete mental, physical and emotional involvement and this is what needs to drive the choice of career.

The trick to switching over and making a career out of your Interest is to find a sweet spot between your Interests and Skills. If necessary, you may have to seek additional qualifications to ensure you have up-skilled within your Interest area.

Is it OK to fail?

Making a new beginning always carries with it equal chances of success and failure. As it is like ‘starting from scratch’, it can bring financial pressures and extended work hours. You will also have to be able to deal with societal pressures well as familial expectations. Yet, irrespective of talent or qualification, there are no guarantees of success.

Change job lanes only when you have looked at the risk of failure, and understood & accepted possible consequences on both the personal & professional front. Consider whether you can reverse the decision – even plan a possible exit strategy before you switch.

Anamitra advises, “The higher the success in your early career, the higher is the fear of rejection or failure. If you are not prepared to fail, then making a career switch is not meant for you.” He does not usually advise people with high personal responsibilities & obligations to make a career switch as these are realities that can take away from your chance at success.

Can you live with dissatisfaction?

Almost everybody reaches a point where everyday work seems to get mundane. Is this just a temporary phase of discontentment that might be resolved when an exciting project that comes your way? Or is your boredom or unhappiness almost continuous?

Research says that those who make a successful switch are those who cannot accept their feeling of restlessness. They are propelled by their discontent in their current career or the fact they are not doing what they truly want, to change over to something else. Are you ‘not ok’ enough or just hungry enough to switch and make the change work for you? Most of us are in the mode of self-denial, with an ability to come to terms with the present. If you are ‘ok’ with this discontent, making the switch will be hard.

There are no right answers to these questions and they will vary for each one of us. But if you do decide to make the switch here’s the last word from Anamitra ‘The important thing to keep in mind when you decide to change your career is that life is like a river that takes a different course for each one of us. The shores we reach and the way we reach them cannot be the same as anybody else. We should stay true to our own dream and do our best to achieve it.’

Let’s talk careers. We’re keen to hear from you.

Interested in being a guest blogger? Write to us on lounge@headhonchos.com

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