It does happen to many people when they have been working in the same industry for a decade or longer. In your younger days, you were brimming with energy as you met new people, learnt new things and was recognised for the efforts you put into your job.
Yet in the past few years, things that used to keep you going have slowly waned off. You are no longer as enthusiastic as you used to be and the thought of spending another 10 years at your current job, or even within the sector itself, is no longer something you see yourself doing.
You are now thinking of a mid-career switch.
But before you pull the trigger and decide to quit, here are some important areas you should first consider.
1. What are your aspirations?
At a mid-career age, your reason for joining a different industry needs to be compelling. It's no longer enough to just say you are "interested to find out more."
Consider talking to your network of friends who are in the industry, both the current and the one you are targeting to join. After more than 10 years doing the same thing, it is easy to lose sight of fresh opportunities in your own industry and this is also the easiest way to give you insights in a new industry before you jump in it.
If you're keen on entering a new industry, these conversations will also guide you on how you can best do it, whether you need to attain further professional qualifications first.
2. Do you have a job lined up for you?
Finding a new job within the sector you are currently in is a lot easier than finding one in a sector that you are new to. Unless you have transferrable skills that happen to be valuable in the new role you are applying for, chances are that you would have little advantages over fresh graduates who studied something relevant to the job.
You have to be realistic on what you are asking for, or even what you are applying for. You may feel overqualified for some entry-level roles because of the working experience you already have, and yet at the same time be deemed as lacking the relevant experience to be in mid-management roles.
While it is possible to use your working experiences and skills to make a mid-career switch, you have to be smart and realistic about the roles that you are applying for. Go for positions that are more generalists in nature. It provides a much better chance of you gaining a foothold the industry.
3. Are you able to financially commit to the switch?
A mid-career switch is likely to have an adverse impact on your personal finances. Even if you do secure a job before you quit, there is a good chance that your new salary may be lower than what you were previously taking home. If you don't find a job prior to quitting, you certainly would need to think about how long your savings can hold up.
Aside from savings, you may need to relook your monthly expenditure and spending habits to ensure that you can adapt to this change without causing financial stress on yourself and your family.
If you are going to pursue further education before making a career switch, make sure you have sufficient funds, and then a little extra, to commit to it fully before you start. The last thing you want is to be running out of money before you can complete your education.
4. Keeping yourself mentally active
If you do quit without securing a job first, it's important for you to keep yourself active. And we don't just mean staying fit (which is also important), but also mentally fit.
What this means is that even if you are taking a short break from work to ponder over your career options or seek a short adventure, you need to ensure that these few months are spent in a meaningful way. For example, you could spend some time helping out a friend's SME business or even to start your own small business.
Alternatively, you can also take some courses to upgrade and better prepare yourself for a future role in the sector that you are looking at.
The important thing here is to make sure that your time is well spent even though you are not working. Keeping yourself active is a good signal to your future employers that you are someone who is aware of what he or she wants, and who would make meaningful plans to work towards your goals.
So have a plan set out for yourself before you quit or consider a job switch. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
Our saving plans can help you prepare for a mid-career switch. Find out more here.