What To Consider If You Want To Change Your Career Path

Last updated 11 Aug 2016 . 7 min read

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It happens to a lot of us; there are times when we take stock of our lives, we find what we are doing or want from life, there is an abyss. An incessant need eats us up to change our course and path--especially, where we are in our career gnaws at us.

Various reasons can bring about this void: Personal, i.e. marriage, birth of children or death in the family; Financial, i.e. the requirement to build greater monetary security, assets or debts; Health, i.e. serious ailments, complications or sheer fatigue; and Philosophical, i.e. the desire to follow one’s calling, pursue a dream, passion and greater purpose.

Yes, all these grounds can bring about that need to change one’s career path.

Daunting, uncertain and perilous--a change in the career path can be all that, especially when the shift is to a new arena; not something which one may have spent a lifetime studying or where one has accumulated experience over years.

So, should one look at changing their career path? Absolutely, yes.

That satisfaction, success and contentment is the sweetest, when one can ceaselessly fight, rise and win after taking on a challenging journey.

Here are things to consider if one wants to change their career path. This is the prep work:

Take into account your natural, organic skill-sets and talents

In India, the motivational given to children for studying is that the value of formative education is to find a well paying job.

Regrettably, that narrows down the choices to pick from, as the mass-scale jobs are limited to some age-old industries and sectors. 

One studies a discipline to land a plum job. It necessarily isn’t that person’s innate talent or skill. This kind of education system doesn’t encourage, harness or give avenues for a lot of creative and innovative talents and skills. They remain as hobbies and dwindle away with time or get swept under the carpet.

When one is considering a career change, the foremost thing to do is to go back and look at one’s natural talents, skills and flair for things.

Delve inside: is it writing, innovation, robotics, cooking, entrepreneurship, painting, music, design, theatre or scientific research? Or something else which has been your area of inclination for ages and you didn’t follow or discover enough?

Steer yourself towards that natural skill and build things around it.

The imprudent thing to do would be to choose an option which is a current trend friends/family coax you into doing, or an option which promises a quick financial gain but doesn’t relate to your natural skill-sets. It is vital to go for what drives, inspires and pushes one forward organically.

Aditi Krishnan, 33, a chef says, “For a decade, I worked in the IT industry; it was the safest bet as a career choice when I was in college. My family believed this would ensure I have a stable job. I did well, but when I had my child, I wanted to spend more time with her and do something which I really liked.

I have been into baking since childhood, and it has always been very well appreciated by everyone. I decided to turn my passion into my own business. Now, I have a successful home-run business, and work doesn’t feel like work because this is what I love to do.”

Your career is a part of who you are as a person.

We spend hours, years and decades of our life at work. Our personalities lend to it, and the work we do shapes us as a person. Symbiotically, they are intertwined.

If it takes so much of our time, energy and life, if it is just a job, then it will tire, exhaust and dull us eventually.

When one wants to change their career path, it has to be something which is not just a task or ritualistic chore.

Pick what compliments your personality, world view and life choices; pick that which reveals your highest potential and brings out your true self.

Ria Singh, 37, an HR manager, says, ”I did my MBA and got to work with the best of financial organisations; I was at the top of my game. But after a while, the whole thing didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t fit in that world. It was a desk job and involved hours of working on my own. Even though I was successful, I didn’t enjoy it anymore and was immensely stressed.  

At this time, I took a sabbatical to think what I really wanted to do. I like working in teams with people. I liked interacting and motivating others. I decided to focus on these personality traits. As I was a top performer, I spoke to my management and moved from core financial services to HR. I feel truly fulfilled now.”

What really holds meaning in your life?

Answering these questions truthfully to oneself is imperative:

What is propelling me to make this career change in life?

What juncture in life am I at?

What’s in it for me?

What is at stake?

How much do I really want this?

Am I a quitter? Will I give up when the going gets difficult?

Am I patient enough to wait through those lean periods?

Can I handle it financially, emotionally and physically?

Honest answers to these questions will prepare one to deal with reality, and develop a vision. This clarity is essential.   

Blueprint and Action plan

Finally this is the list of action points one needs to follow after that clarity.

First, find and seek counsel from mentors in the new industry to understand how things work technically and at a ground level.

Second, does it require some kind of basic course/study to even begin?

Third, is there some kind of financial investment/backup plan which one needs to prepare?

Fourth, read, research and talk to industry experts to brush up knowledge base.

Fifth, what actions do I need to take in the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?

Sixth, have blueprints for 1, 2 & 3 years with monthly/quarterly/annual reviews on progress.

Seventh, don’t give up on your dreams.

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Piyali Dasgupta
A writer and an educator with expertise in experiential learning,capacity building, counselling & content development. A feminist, wit addict and time/life traveler. She loves trees, water bodies, vintage,cooking and arts

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