“I can’t take this monotony anymore,” she admits to her co-worker over some after work drinks. “It’s the same old song and dance; wake up, shower, skip breakfast, head to work, and hardly ever get anything done because of how disorganised everybody is. There’s no clear direction, and I feel like a headless chicken. Maybe I should just consider changing my line of work, or becoming my own boss. It’s the same thing everywhere!”
Like her, there are countless working professionals who may be tired of the run they’re in, and are even considering a change, professionally. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do something different. “I had had enough of those late nights, insane deadlines, and an unreasonable boss,” says 37-year-old marketing professional turned entrepreneur, Leanne Andrade*. “I’m divorced and don’t have any kids, so the decision to quit my job and start something on my own seemed fairly straightforward. And it’s the best decision I’ve made.” Andrade began baking cakes and has even started taking orders for confections and sweets. “I have a small setup at home, and since I live alone, I can make my own hours without any interruptions,” says an excited Andrade.
Of course, everything begins with that first step. But the decision to take that leap of faith should not be taken lightly. According to Dhaval Shah, founder of Holistree, a career guidance firm in Mumbai, “It’s indeed daunting to consider a career switch, given that there are multiple parameters to consider, but the biggest is tackling the ‘why’. Why do you want to consider a switch? Is it boredom? Is it stress? Is it because you have lost that sense of purpose? One’s thirties is considered a very critical age with respect to exploring and sustaining a changed career. However, if you’re unable to involve yourself creatively and emotionally at work, you find yourself stuck in a loop, you’re unable to find that trust and respect in your work environment, there’s no financial or professional growth, and you’ve noticed that you’re part of an otherwise toxic existence, it’s best to make that switch.”
So what are the things to keep in mind? Let’s break it down for you:
Plan of actionWhen should one consider switching careers? Says Shah, “Making a career switch involves a thorough analysis across various parameters of an individual’s life. From understanding their current job situation, their previous employment, mind-set, lifestyle, ideas and beliefs, priorities and responsibilities, emotional space as well as their existing skill set and experience. Then, their finances and industry knowledge have to be looked at. To be honest, there’s no ideal time to switch careers; one simply needs clarity of thought, as well as a holistic understanding of what they want out of their professional lives.”
Don’t be rashYou need to thoroughly analyse your situation and finances, and decide on a course of action before taking the plunge. “Another great way of proceeding is to move from a fulltime role to a part-time profile, especially if you need some amount of stability. Take that available time to learn all you can, figure your entry, and slowly but surely understand what a full switch can mean for your career, finances, and stability,” explain Shah.
Play to your strengthsPerhaps one of the lesser-known facts of a career switch in your thirties is that experience serves as a great teacher. You’ve learnt a few tricks along the way, and these can be used as leverage when making that career switch. “While you can’t expect yourself to be in field of sports or fields where technical know-how is mandatory, at 30 and over, it doesn’t mean your skill set can’t be used to your advantage. After all, experience is the best teacher. That said, you need to think wisely and use who you are and what you have built with time, rather than choosing something that will pull you in a completely different direction. I’ve noticed that when people use who they are and what they have gained with years, they can creatively channel that into work they can look forward to,” says Shah.
Update your knowledgeIf you don’t learn, you can’t grow. This particularly holds true for when you’re switching careers. Upskilling is the best way to stay relevant and on top of your game, even if you’re switching fields. “Upskilling plays a very crucial role as that is what will reflect your potential to your employers on a daily basis. A degree will let you in the door, but your growth depends on how your conduct yourself in your chosen field. However, your qualification is very profession dependent. There are professions where academic qualifications are mandatory and provides an easy entry the job you want. However, if you’re looking to switch to a creative field, or take that entrepreneurial route, it’s your skills, experiences, and the people you know that will play an important role.”
The takeawayEvery big career move is invariably a calculated decision. This means, you’ll have to fully understand how this change will impact your life, and the lives of those around you. “A career switch should be a thoughtful, well-planned, and structured process. It needs to be a holistic decision that accounts for all internal and external factors of one’s life. This means great time management along with the right support and guidance. But ultimately, the decision has to remain one that makes you happy,” advises Shah, signing off.