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As you get older, there can often feel like a lot of pressure to have a stable career, especially when it seems like everyone else has got their lives figured out. But it is important to remember that it is not a race, nor is it worth staying in an unfulfilling job. In fact,some of the most successful people in the world, such as Mori Building Company CEO Taikichiro Mori and KFC’s own Harland Sanders, did not get their head start until later on in life.
Of course, changing careers is never an easy plunge to take. So, before you make the shift, here are some questions you might need to ask yourself:
Stress is probably one of the first reasons behind your move. Some people find certain industries more stressful than others but something you have to consider is that stress can be caused by the gap between your preferred way of working, and the type of work you currently do. For instance, freelancers or contractors have to deal with financial pressures and managing a work-life balance, as opposed to full-time employees who get to enjoy the stability of having a set time to be 'at work' and 'not at work’, especially in an office environment which has a culture that is aware of the importance of its employees’ mental health and wellbeing'. Verizon Connect’s Sergio Barata’s post on the gig economy highlights the ongoing struggle between engagement and feeling disconnected that employers have to deal with when working with remote workers. This, in turn, impacts their performance and productivity. In the long run, it can lead to greater stress and anxiety, as warned by organisational psychologist Cary Cooper. On the other hand, freelancers can manage their own time and often work from home whereas office work can be restrictive.
The choice is between the freedom and life style enjoyed by a freelance working life vs the comfort of the structure, team work and security afforded by being an employee. The more your work setting is in harmony with your natural style and preference the less stressed you will be. While feeling tired is normal in any job, if you’re feeling stressed at work, you should know when to draw the line, and when all you need is a refreshing break.
If you are shifting careers, then you have to be prepared to start at the bottom. This includes your new salary.Fortunately, you probably won’t have to drop back to an entry-level position,as soft skills and experience are still valid no matter where you go. However,you have to manage your expectations with regards to the salary and perks,which are likely offered based on tenure and industry experience. Before deciding on a career change, you need to have to weigh up if you are willing to risk your hard-earned wage for career fulfilment and satisfaction.
Perhaps one of the ‘3 Things Stopping You from Changing Careers’, as discussed in a previous article, is the logistical barrier surrounding your coveted career. For example, moving into a new role might mean that you need to up-skill yourself and earn the necessary qualifications and experience to be successful. This means having to go back to basics, or even getting an entirely new degree for some high-profile jobs. Ask yourself if you are ready to go back in to education especially if you are in the latter half of your life.
Given your age in your current job, you are probably used to mentoring your recruits. However, are you willing to humble yourself and learn from someone younger than you who has been in the industry for longer? Can you look beyond their age and take their expertise as it is? For instance, Millennials have now started moving into managerial roles so it's possible that your new boss could be a lot younger than you. If this is something you aren't comfortable with, then you will have to decide if changing careers is right for you.
The main thing to focus on is ‘what are you hoping to accomplish by shifting careers’? Is it the money, the job, or other personal reasons? All of these are valid, but it's important that you consider your motivations.
Overall, it is never too late to make a career change. As long as you calculate your steps wisely and make sure youhave a safety net in case things don't go as planned, then you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.
Article written for the use of careersindepth.com
By Jada Dorothy
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