While students who keep changing their course of study are seen as frivolous, early career professionals exploring their career paths should not be frowned upon in this age and time. With the vibrant buzz in tech and pulse of society today, change is the only constant in the ways we live, work and play. So, if you have already identified a new career option you would like to pursue, here are some advice on making the shift without too much heartache and drama.
1. Know WHY you are doing it
It is common for young professionals to face changing financial priorities or lifestyle needs from their twenties to thirties. Personalities evolve and having an impetus for self-fulfilment and self-exploration career-wise is understandable.
It takes up to ten years to find your ‘happy place’ in the workforce. Sounds like a search for the elusive? The Japanese concept of ikigai (reason for being) gives hope that you can be paid for doing something the world needs, which happens to be what you love and are also good at!
A young professional may wish to progress from functional to strategic roles. Trust your own instincts, even if your closest one(s) may think you do not have to rock the boat.
While you should not be a commitment phobe professionally, your job should excite you most mornings and be what you are willing to suffer for. Knowing why you are making a change means clearer conviction to persevere when the going gets tough.
2. Chat up someone who’s been there and done that
Find a senior or mentor who has accomplished a similar change of tracks. He or she can tell you what to look out for and what realistic expectations you should have. Your role model(s) will not claim to be your guru, for your journey is yours and yours alone.
3. Keep winning
Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary. Rejections and failures are part of hustling, trying to break into a new industry and wanting to excel in a new role. Celebrate your milestones but don’t cry over spilled milk.
Don’t forget to keep doing what you love outside of work. In such times of change, becoming good at a hobby such as playing music, sports or even dancing improves your sense of self-worth, which should not be determined by career success alone.
4. Be a responsible adult
Save up beforehand and be ready for pay cuts or early periods of volatility before you ‘get there’. Don’t be too affected by what you think others may be thinking of you.
While understanding from family and friends is much appreciated but not guaranteed, you will be more assured of your choices if you know that you are making them responsibly. Youth is a capital, not an excuse to always be on the lookout for something new.
5. Know that there is NO fixed path or destination
It’s perfectly OK to turn back – deciding to reverse your career change plans doesn’t make you a loser. Neither does the journey of exploration itself. Keep going with the ten-year limit in mind to find your purpose, ‘happy place’ and ikigai. Assess your situation realistically as you go along.
Your perspectives shift from your twenties to your thirties as well. Keep devising new strategies and playing the game, change your sails with the winds – there’s no need to bend over backwards if a career change is not working out!