Swati Salunkhe

Managing Director - Growth Centre India Private Limited

Mid Life Career Changes

Mid Life Career Changes

Ajit Ponkshe, 46, a successful lawyer, was finding it difficult to keep up to the expectations and with his past performance. On introspection, he knew that his lied somewhere else. Every time he grabbed a pen to draft a legal document, he would end up sketching caricatures and sketching characters which no one could imagine. This had continued for sometime, and when he felt, this is it!; he decided to quit and take up the career of choice – getting into the filed of Animation.

Mamta Shinde, 40, was always good at analysis and numbers, but was stuck to her job of marketing. Stocks and shares always attracted her and her personal profits at trading gave her the confidence of taking it as a career. This decision came as a shock for everyone in her family. She had to not only fight out the concept where she was entering the male dominated arena, but she was also giving up a secure job which gave her stable income.

These two above examples, are few of the many individuals who are going through mid-life career crisis. This is what we can term as Mid-life career crisis leading to career changes. These are individuals who are successful and good at their jobs, but still need to do something that fulfills their hearts and makes them feel content at the end of the day. As we are moving into a time, where individuality is considered of prime importance, and we are not only acknowledging our real selves, but also ready to go ahead and carve a self identity, this phenomena is rapidly emerging. One thing, is essential to understand, is that the career change should not be confused with changing of job or the organization merely. Its more to do with changing the course of your job and pursuing which is your true inner calling and enjoying yourself.

In retrospect, why does this phenomenon occur? The way we select our careers, is often due to influence or force; rarely do we find individuals making the right career choice for the right reasons. Most of them take up a job or career due to factors like parental pressure, peer pressure, job security, lack of information, social status, and also due to lack of proper educational backgrounds or even due to financial burdens.

Making a mid-life career change is a lot harder than making a career change when you are young. You’ve got a lot more to lose because you have already worked your way a good bit up the ladder of success at the career you are in today. There are a few questions, one should ask before deciding to do a career switch. They are:

  • Do I have the RIGHT reason for leaving my current career?
  • What is the exact reason of changing the job – financial, job profile, status, lack of recognition, lack of vertical movement?
  • Do I have enough financial backing, in case of things do not turn as expected?
  • Is there a back –up plan ready?
  • Do I have the skills to be employable? Do I have the right aptitude, educational background to start?
  • Am I ready to start afresh? Do I have the strength – physically, mentally, intellectually and emotionally to face the challenges?
  • Do I have enough contacts?
  • Do you want to work with someone, under someone or alone?

Once you have got the answers for the above, here are a few tips for one to make an informed career change:

Assess yourself:

You need to find more about yourself, as a person, as a professional. Find your personality and then try to take up the most that suits you. This is helpful, because many a times we are forced into jobs which are in contrast to our personality, which actually ends up frustrating us and results in poor performance.

Support System:

Emotional support from the family members is also essential ingredient while changing the career along with financial support system. Plan your finances well. Find whether you can go without the regular income that you have been used to. Are your responsibilities – family, socials and personal needs are taken well care of. Plan well, as an unplanned financial move may lead to more distress in life.

Get additional career ideas

Research the classified Ads – Even consider local businesses that you feel you would enjoy working at or even owning.  Then make a note of them, and add them to your list of potential careers to further research. New career opportunities are opening up everyday, and many new small businesses are emerging! Consider how you may use your skills and expertise to take advantage of this growing need in society.  Working from your home and starting out small can be fun, too.

Requirement of Additional Skills:

No matter what field you decide to explore, you will need to decide what skills you have that will help you in a new position and which you will need to acquire. If you are at mid career you will need to create a new resume, pitching yourself to employers hiring for your new career path, and you may need to prepare yourself to work in a position with less responsibility than your last. Changing careers can be a great deal of work.

Put your plan together

Once you have made out your wish list and identified your options, shortlist the one that fits you the most. Take time to put your plan together, do you need more education, additional financial resources, a new resume, support from your family members, an intermediate job? Write a plan of action and then follow it step by step.

Time Required

Patience and perseverance will be required to key to make it big. Don’t expect things to change overnight. You need to work consistently and patiently to ensure success to what you are thinking of taking up. Also you cannot afford to forget that you will be competing with more younger, aggressive, better skilled, educated and go getter crowd.

Changing your career at 40 is very possible. Remember changing your career can also include starting your own business. Focus on the skills you enjoy using the most, and build a career based solidly on your likes. Changing a career is a process that can be fun, self awakening, and can give you a new zeal for living. Get started today and ask the people who care the most about you to give you the support you need.

Swati Salunkhe ©

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