I started my career as a teacher in a college.
I loved teaching, and when I first started it I thought: This is it. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I counted my lucky stars that I found a career that I am passionate about, and it meant the world to me. I gave everything into it.
But as the years gone by, my perception of it grew more and more jaded.
I was bored of going through the same thing every day. And I was fed up of so many things; rude students, the endless paperwork, teaching subjects which I had no love for, of being underpaid.
Did I also mention rude students?
What I was initially excited about begun to fade and was instead replaced by dread.
What made things worse was that I began talking to some friends and I saw how cool life was at their companies. I had many friends who worked in advertising agencies, and their workplace environment (with the parties and the alcohol) seemed much cooler than mine.
So I quit, and I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in marketing and advertising. But alas, it really wasn’t what I expected at all.
Here’s some advice on what to expect, if you have a career change.
Expect to be Uncomfortable
Any kind of change is uncomfortable, and this was certainly the case with my career. While I was enamored with the glitz and the glamour of the #agencylife, what these agencies fail to mention, is the crazy long hours which comes with their job.
When I had a career change, the transition period wasn’t easy. I went from a 30-hour work per week job to working from 9am to 9pm at night, and that is if I had a lucky day. The rest of the days it was much longer. Getting used to the long hours was definitely hard, and most evenings I kept thinking ‘wow I could be home right now.’
Everything about the new career will make you uncomfortable, from the new job scope, to adapting to company culture, to even adjusting your personal life to suit the job. It’s a good challenge to try something new, but be aware that it takes a lot of toughening-up on your part.
Expect to Start from Scratch
I was a manager in my previous job. Having had more than 5 years of hard work and gaining specific experience in one industry has made me climb up the academia level at a good pace. Everything was easy for me to do, but of course, it was that very thing that caused me to be bored at my work. I knew that changing careers would set me back, but what I didn’t realize was the extent of it.
When I changed careers, I started back at an executive level. It was like a punch to my gut, knowing that I worked so hard, and now I have to do it all again. My ego certainly took a bruise because of it. I was used to having the minor coordinating tasks done for me by my ex-executives, that I never realized how detailed I needed to be in coordinating. When I was first asked to book a meeting venue and calling the client to arrange a meeting, it certainly gave me a newfound respect for coordinators. I found myself feeling bad that I didn’t appreciate my executives in my previous office more.
However, knowing that all this will happen, I took it as a challenge, and swept away my ego to do the nitty gritty tasks which I was assigned to do. I was ready for it. So tip Number 2 is be prepared for some ego bruising ya’ll!
Expect to take a Paycut
I’m not gonna lie here, out of all the bitter ‘career-change’ pills to swallow, this was the hardest of them all.
I took almost a 50% paycut in my new job, which was a serious bummer when you have been making financial commitments better suited with your old salary. I remember the day I received my first paycheck at my new job, I stared at it for 5 full minutes.
I couldn’t believe that I worked so hard and learned (read: suffered) so much in my first month, just to get that salary. It hurts even more when you realised that you didn’t work as hard in your old job, and still got paid more. I thought to myself: Kim are you possessed? This has got to be one of the stupidest things you’ve done. But still I stayed.
Be financially prepared and have savings if you are to change careers. Remember your commitments and not make any reckless changes just because you want to.
Expect to realize that maybe, you don’t need it after all.
After a year of changing careers, I suddenly decided that I had enough. I had my fill of challenge, and I am ready give this industry the skip.
I realised that I loved teaching after all. No matter which job I had, nothing was as fulfilling, or more suited to my character, than the job which I had left behind. I also learned that every job and industry has its ups and downs. But the most important thing is how do you deal with it.
Knowing that, I went back to education, with a twist in my role; I am now teaching, but also negotiated to handle some marketing in my company. it’s the challenge I need while still being fulfilled in my career.
Sometimes it doesn’t require a change in career, just a fresher job scope.
Do I regret changing jobs? Not really. It taught me so much and gave me a new-found appreciation in life. Truthfully, it is these kinds of experience that you need in order to show you what works and what doesn’t.
So if you’re considering a career change, my advice is to first consider if you can broaden your job scope in your selected field. If you can’t, then go for that career change; Because you do not want to live a life of regret. Just remember to manage your expectations while you’re at it.