Not satisfied with your work profile? Can’t seem to enjoy your job even after trying hard? Can’t imagine yourself doing your boss’s job (nor the one his boss has)? Then, the idea of a career switch must be floating around in your mind.
India produces the largest number of engineers in the world. Over the years, being an engineer has been turned into a prerequisite for completing your education, much like clearing your board exams; once you complete your engineering, you then become eligible to pursue your real interests. And, it’s not just the engineers who are switching careers; this is slowly becoming common in all the fields.
However, there are certain things which one should keep in mind before going for a career switch:
- Don’t misinterpret a passing hobby as your passion: Just because Madhavan did it in 3 Idiots and you seem to have a DSLR, you won’t become a fashion/wildlife/wedding photographer. You need to introspect whether it’s just a passing hobby or a real passion; whether you really want to do it or are you just following it because you found the idea shown in the movie fascinating.
- Similarly, don’t follow the herd either: Remember how you took engineering just because everyone else did? You know how that decision turned out for you! Just like you won’t fit into someone else’s suit, you won’t have the things turned out in the exact same fashion. When you enter a field just because it’s hot, burnout isn’t far behind.
- If you are not sure about your passion, take some test drives in the new field: You are never too old for an internship, a volunteer experience, or a contract assignment in a new field. You can take internships in different fields- some you will like, while some you might detest; what you will essentially gain is the insight into different ideas and crossing off possibilities rather than leaving them as open questions in your mind.
- Don’t get an MBA just for the heck of it: “When you are not sure what to do next in your life, get an MBA” is an overexploited cliché, especially in India. An MBA is an expensive proposition, both in terms of money as well as time, and don’t go for one unless you have a very specific goal that the MBA degree would help you achieve. The last thing you would want is landing up with another unsatisfying career even after your MBA. (Read MBA vs. Internships – which one is a better tool for career switch)
- Don’t let money be the deciding factor: With your present job, you must have understood that mere salary can not bring happiness if you are not satisfied with your work. Workplace stress and job dissatisfaction are the no. 1 health problems for the working adults. When you switch careers, you may earn less but don’t let that hamper your decision. Once you set in, money will follow.
In a nutshell, even though there are few points to be taken care of, one must not be averse to the idea of a career switch.
We only get one life to live, and we must not let others dictate its terms to us. As Ralph Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
If you have ever experienced changing career tracks and would like to add to the article, please comment below.
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