Switching Careers Midway – How to Deal with the Dilemma

There are very few things which can be worse than being stuck in a unsatisfying career. Let’s check that. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being stuck doing something you absolutely don’t love. Unfortunately the social structure of our country is such that it is an exception for children to grow up to do what they truly want to. As a norm, their careers are imposed upon them – most popularly, medical or engineering. A lot of us spend a lifetime stuck in careers and jobs we detest or hardly relate to. However, many a times, even as individuals, one might end up choosing a career path only to realize later that (s)he is better off doing something else.

It takes a great deal of courage to acknowledge the fact that everything you have been working towards has been in vain because it hasn’t made you happy. The good news is, things get better once you have accepted it. The decision of switching careers midway is a bold move.  We have worked with several courageous professionals who decided to make the switch and understand how difficult and confusing this decision can be. Through this post, we have captured some insights to help you through the process of switching careers midway.

Validating the Need for Switching Careers Midway – 3 Signs you shouldn’t Miss

  1. You hate doing what you do

    This is the most obvious sign, which you will miss only if you are a master of self-deception. Take a hint if you wake up every morning absolutely dreading the idea of doing what you do. If you come back home miserable and weary. It is understandable why a shift would seem scary and overwhelming. It is not easy to give up a steady job for a completely new dimension without the security your present job offers. However, while this might sound like a struggle, at the very least you will be happier at the end of the day.

  2. There has always been something else you wanted to do 

    You secretly dream of becoming a photographer, or working in the area of child rights or of becoming a journalist. What scares you is the fact that you are an engineer or a doctor. The fact that you are miles away from being related to your dream profession in any way. The knowledge that the shift will be nothing less than a paradigm shift is scary for. But think about how it is going to make you feel when years from now. When you realize you always knew what you wanted to do, but never did have the courage to go ahead?

  3. Your current choice of career doesn’t make the most of your skills (or any of your skills!)

    We are all born with talents and a skill set that is unique to us and that we have so diligently honed and developed. Your career should make the most of that skill set and should engage you in a manner that encourages you to pursue their further development. If your job seems to be drawing the life out of you, without utilizing your skill set or in a manner that satisfies you, it should be indication enough for you to reconsider your job.

Before you take the plunge of Switching Careers Midway:

  1. Make sure you are financially sound

    A shift is bound to bring with it some financial struggle. You will be shifting from a secure salaried job into unchartered waters. Additionally, such a change may require you to pursue further education, requiring you to specialize in a particular field. It is always advisable to ensure that your finances are in order before you take the plunge. Education, especially the pursuit of specialized fields, is expensive but is worth it nonetheless. Remember that you will not only need to pay for that education but also sustain yourself during that period.

  2. Weigh the pros and cons

    Would making this change add substance to your life? Is it a step in the right direction or is it a step backwards? Are you willing to risk a considerable amount of time and energy into ensuring that what you do next will be successful without the surety that it will? What is the capital required to make the change? Will this investment eventually bear fruit? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge. List out all the pros and cons and play the devil’s advocate. This will ensure that you take an educated decision.

  3. Talk about it to a career counsellor or someone you trust

    Once you have listed the pros and cons, talk about it with someone. Ideally, you should aim at talking with a career counsellor, since they are best suited to answer your questions. But don’t just stop there. Find a friend in the profession you wish to pursue, talk to them. If you don’t have a friend in that particular field, hit social media. There are various forums that discuss such matters and you are bound to find some answers there. Most importantly though, talk to your family about your decision. Understand, that career counsellors are commercially motivated and social media may not be able to connect with you emotionally, but your family is one set of people who always have your best interests in their hearts! And rest assured that in India, you will find enough devil’s advocates within your own family!

  4. Research thoroughly

    Finding out all you can about the profession you wish to pursue should form the backbone of this change. Your decision to transition – to follow your dream, should be firmly grounded in reality. Remember, once you have divorced yourself from your current profession or career, and taken the leap, it might be pretty hard for you to reverse the situation. So before you do take the leap, make sure you have a very good idea of what you are getting in to. The purpose is not to scare you or to intimidate you, but to ensure that you are aware of the finer prints of the struggle. Figure out entry barriers, as well the opportunities it possesses and the best way to make the most of the change.

  5. Have a back-up plan ready

    It is always advisable to have a back-up plan ready. Having a fall back option provides an emergency exit, a fire escape of sorts. Borrowing from “Valkyrie”, this change is “like war, and in war nothing goes according to plan!” You will have to improvise as you go along and be ready to drop the entire plan if it doesn’t work out in the manner it is supposed it. Remember that while it is great to be single-mindedly focused, it is also a good idea to allow yourself to be a little flexible, you never know how you may surprise yourself by going with the flow sometimes.

All in all it is never too late to make a change to our lives. One prime example is that of the Silver Surfers Club of Bangalore whose members, all above the age of 55, have found their true callings even at this age! It is all about taking charge of your life and deciding that it’s time for a change. Take the plunge, let life deal its cards, hold yours close to your heart and with a poker face on, beat stereotype at its own game!

Have a career question ? Reach out to us at contact@obolinx.com and we will help you with it.

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