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NEWS


Career Tool

Switching Careers



By: Donald Patrick Lim          

A reader wrote:

I’ve been teaching Basic Computer in a school in Batangas for the past five years, and am now nearing my thirties. I decided to quit teaching and I now feel that I am at the crossroads of my life where I don’t know what to do or what kind of work I want. Do you think people will still hire me even if I switch careers?

The question isn’t about whether people will hire you or not, but what’s more important is that you find out what you want to do with your life. Your years of work being a teacher will definitely give you an advantage versus those who just recently graduated. Your life experience and work skills would be valuable to any employer, but your indecisiveness will not. The most important thing that I expect them to ask you will revolve around why you are switching careers, and what it is that you really want to do with your skills.

I sense that you are having a hard time figuring out what you want. That is fine. I have met people in their 40s and 50s who still don’t know what to do with their lives, even if they are already married and have kids of their own; extreme cases include those with children who are successful in their careers already. I think it is good that you are stopping work now to soul search, but do take this time to reflect and finally find your passion in life.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to guide you towards your reflection process: What work excites you that you do not mind doing every day? What work have you done that you do not mind working on without pay (because it makes you happy)? Finding what makes you excited is important so you can excel in it, as I find it rare for people to do well on work they are not passionate about.

Think back on the time you were teaching: besides teaching, what were the activities you enjoyed doing outside of work? Do you like cooking, taking care of children or engaging in a particular sport? These can be indications of what you inherently enjoy doing.

If you can’t decide on your passion, look back 10 to 15 years into the past, and think of the time when you were younger. What was your dream then? When you were in high school, was there a dream vocation or job you wanted? It would be good to revisit that as during that time, your intentions were pure and you did not have any special considerations or societal pressures to contend with. Also, who were the role models you looked up to when you were a kid? Was the person a nurse, a businesswoman or a teacher? Sometimes your childhood dreams are a reflection of your future.

There are no right or wrong answers to the questions above, except that you just have to look deep within yourself to find what truly makes you fulfilled, and what gives you purpose. If not, you can just choose the highest bidder or the highest paying job, and let that decide your work. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with that. I remember having an MBA classmate who was very successful in his career. But every class, he would tell me how much he hated his boss and his job because his boss would scold him every day. But he was paid very well and he said he endures it because it is practical for him to keep that job.

In the end, if you do not want to find your passion, what excites you and keeps you motivated, then it will not matter what work you get.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to guide you towards your reflection process: What work excites you that you do not mind doing every day? What work have you done that you do not mind working on without pay (because it makes you happy)? Finding what makes you excited is important so you can excel in it, as I find it rare for people to do well on work they are not passionate about.

Think back on the time you were teaching: besides teaching, what were the activities you enjoyed doing outside of work? Do you like cooking, taking care of children or engaging in a particular sport? These can be indications of what you inherently enjoy doing.

If you can’t decide on your passion, look back 10 to 15 years into the past, and think of the time when you were younger. What was your dream then? When you were in high school, was there a dream vocation or job you wanted? It would be good to revisit that as during that time, your intentions were pure and you did not have any special considerations or societal pressures to contend with. Also, who were the role models you looked up to when you were a kid? Was the person a nurse, a businesswoman or a teacher? Sometimes your childhood dreams are a reflection of your future.

There are no right or wrong answers to the questions above, except that you just have to look deep within yourself to find what truly makes you fulfilled, and what gives you purpose. If not, you can just choose the highest bidder or the highest paying job, and let that decide your work. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with that. I remember having an MBA classmate who was very successful in his career. But every class, he would tell me how much he hated his boss and his job because his boss would scold him every day. But he was paid very well and he said he endures it because it is practical for him to keep that job.

In the end, if you do not want to find your passion, what excites you and keeps you motivated, then it will not matter what work you get.