You’ve been on the job for quite some time already, and your work is falling into the same old boring routine. Being stuck in a rut is no fun, you start questioning the point of doing the same tasks over and over again, wondering whether you’re wasting precious time you could be doing something else, something meaningful or something that follows where your passion lies.
You desire new challenges, new purposes, and a new career looks like it’s time for a mid-career switch! But the question is, are you prepared?
Stepping out of your comfort zone and abandoning your safety nets can open new doors, but it takes a lot more than just “passion”. Before you dive into the unknown waters headfirst, consider these:
1. Have You Done Your Research?
Or is this a leap of faith? If you are jumping into a completely new industry, ask yourself how much do you know about the industry - role-related duties, career path, pay and benefits, the outlook and challenges of the industry, potential barriers for entering, and the competitiveness of your intended role.
Some industries will have no issue hiring an outsider, and some even especially appreciate outsider experience. Looking into transferable skills that will put you in a good position during the transition, and later to excel in the future job.
ManpowerGroup’s 2018 Talent Shortage Survey found that 56% of Singapore employers expressed they were finding it difficult to fill positions in their company. The report revealed sales representatives, IT and engineers are among the top 10 most in-demand skills. If you happen to look for a career change in these sectors, you might be off to smoother sailing.
2. Ready to Start Fresh?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a career. In most mid-career changes, if you have no relevant experience, you are likely to start from the ground up again. Prepared to be under the supervision of a recent university graduate? Can you lower your pride and ask younger colleagues for advice? Do you enjoy learning new things? Ready to take on whole new workplace culture?
A lot of mid-career switchers find themselves lost and struggling in the early stage, and it is easy to question the initial move. Not all hope is lost, though; this is an excellent time to pull out those transferable skills and see what you can bring to the table.
3. Are You Ready Financially?
Today’s dream could be tomorrow’s nightmare.
If you can make the same salary or even higher while switching your career to the field of your dream, great! In most cases, starting fresh in a completely new position or industry will cost you some benefits and a dramatic cut in pay.
Do you have a dependant or other financial responsibilities - education loan, retired parents’ healthcare, children’s tuition, or medical and household expenses? On another hand, calculate if this switch will affect your Central Provident Fund and other retirement plans.
Those leaving their current jobs without securing a new position should also be prepared for the uncertainty in the job-seeking process. It can be hard to say how long will it take to land a new job.
4.Have You Got a Plan B?
Even with well-thought plans and promising assurance from the new company, anything could happen. It is especially true for those looking at starting a business.
If business plans don’t work out, what will you do when the business fails to meet goals. Will you be able to go back to the original career if the new one proves to be falling short of expectations?
Prepared for the worst and draw yourself a contingency plan will be a lifesaver if things go south. With backup measures, you can make sure you won’t fall jobless with all your savings depleted.
5. Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?
Ask yourself this, are you switching career because you’ve found something you love? Or are you escaping or avoiding certain issues in the workplace? Check your motivation and how realistic your expectations are before switching careers.
Be mindful every company comes with certain structures and policies, and every work environment will have some sort of politics, and all careers and jobs will have a “negative” side.
In Singapore, The Employment Act states that an employee is not supposed to work more than 44 hours per week, most find themselves clocking overtime work. It can add pressure to family life and cause stress or even burnout.
Clearly, there’s a lot more to a career switch than just a bigger paycheck. Some good reasons for a career change may be to pursue a better work-life balance, better growth opportunity and psychological wellbeing.