Blog 23

Mid-Career Change: 3 Success Stories & 10 Tips

If you are planning a mid-career change, you could be in your thirties or early forties. You may have over fifteen years of experience to garner and apply in your next role. However, you may still be confused about which career to shift into, and you may find the situation rather risky both personally and financially.

The trigger may be an internal shift or a sudden change in your office or role or some other changes in your personal life. If this shift is driven by external forces and is abrupt, it can cause a lot of tension and disruption in your life.

mid-career change

This blog will focus on mid-career changes that are more deliberate and planned and the strategies that may help you transition. You will find both tips and success stories to help you plan your move.

Middle School Teacher: Age 44 years

Jeronima, was a middle school teacher. She has been in this role for over eight years now. Prior to that she was medical transcriptionist after which she took a career break of a few years to take care of her children. She rejoined the workforce as a teacher. She loves interacting with students and enjoys her job.

The Trigger for a Mid-Career Change:

In the last few months, she was asked to take a more administrative role and reduce her teaching hours. This may seem like a boon to some, but for Jeronima this meant calls till late evening and less time to teach. Jeronima’s main interest was the class interactions and when her students learnt with keen interest. Compared with that, an administrative role seemed so dry. She shared her apprehensions with her seniors. Somehow, her boss and colleagues did not appreciate her turning down the role change and made life difficult for her at work. Jeronima realised she needs to move on, but she did not know exactly what to do.

The Organic Solution:

Jeronima used to take classes at home too. In the months to come, she increased her enrolment in the classes she took at home. The word spread, and she gradually quit teaching in her school.

She made an effort to manage her finances with more care. Some months she earned more than her full-time teaching role, some she earned less. Overall, she had more autonomy and freedom. However, she made a conscious choice to work weekends and evenings as per her students’ needs. In this switch, Jeronima had the necessary teaching skills and talent. She had to work on her mindset though as she never considered the financial and business aspects of teaching and taking classes from home. A few coaching sessions helped her build this foundation for a mid-career change.

Tech Entrepreneur, Age 41 years

Ratan had made it big in his career. He lost his father at an early age. His mother struggled for a few years, and they lived in a joint family which took care of most of his expenses. However, this hard life lesson made him focus a lot on securing financial independence early. In his early forties, he was the co-founder of a tech business, and his financial health was good overall.

The Trigger for a Mid-Career Change:

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On some days, he found himself feeling a little lost and empty despite his financial success. In our conversation he asked, “So, what more can I do? Is there something that will bring me more meaning to my life?” Here was a professional who was seeking a career of purpose and passion. He was very successful from a materialistic sense, except he didn’t feel that way, he felt a little empty and lost at times.

The Coaching Based Solution:

What followed was a deeper exploration of his values and challenges in life. The question he often tried to answer was, “What brings me joy?” And he found his answers in service-related roles. He also felt very strongly about the quality of health care in India for seniors. He saw his mother struggle through her later years. He is currently trying to find tech solutions that enable better health care options for seniors and is also pursuing a short course to understand Gerontology and Ageing related issues.

Corporate Finance Professional, Age 39 years

Prabha was a successful finance professional. She has been working for over fifteen years and has even done some late evening shifts in her career. She recently switched jobs and got flextime and remote working options so she could take care of her son who was in primary school.

However, the management and leadership went through a restructuring, and she found herself reporting to a traditional boss who insisted on onsite work every day of the week. He also frequently called for meetings after office hours and was rude in his overall behaviour.

The Trigger for a Mid-Career Change:

Prabha was beginning to tire of corporate life. She worked over 12-hour days and felt emotionally drained at her workplace. Her mental health had also been suffering for some time now and she had just ignored it. Previously, she was in a good place. Her boss was supportive, and she could work both remotely as well as from office. But now with company policies changing and a different boss she is sure she needs to move out. But she is not sure what, when and how. She started to look at this turning point as a trigger for a career change.

The Organic & Coaching Solution:

A finance professional, she has saved and invested well for herself in the past two years. She also took a break year where she tried teaching, curriculum development and some academic assignments. She is considering returning to a part-time post graduate degree while pursuing her passion for writing and teaching.  She is exploring many options that are more in-tune with her current interests and values. Her coaching conversations helped her build greater awareness of her values and connect with what gives her joy. Her mid-career change will surface gradually as she completes her courses, writes and journals frequently and connects with people whom she wants to partner with.

Irrespective of your situation, there are some tips that would help you navigate a career change.

Important tips for a mid-career change:

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  • Understand the reasons you want to switch
  • Know your skill set and strengths and align with your deeper values
  • Talk and connect with professionals and grow your network, look out for mentors in different aspects of life
  • Seek mental health support and coaching as needed
  • Take a break or learning sabbatical if you can
  • Check your financial health before you plan the move
  • Simplify your life and expenses if you plan to transition to a lower paying role or job
  • Talk to your family and life partner so they are aware of your move and the implications on them
  • Find time to meditate and seek nature every day if possible
  • Be patient with yourself as these are big changes and take time

In the last few years, we have had many conversations with professionals who are seeking significant changes in their thirties and forties. We help professionals align with their deeper values and help them build mindsets that enables life and career transitions.

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Our personal and professional story is similar. We started LifeVidya after significant work in the corporate and education sector. LifeVidya is a space for coaching and counselling conversations for professionals, parents and youth. As we work towards aligning and creating joy in our life, we wish you the same. Do connect with us for more details or to book sessions. Smile, you live every day, live joyfully.

Found this useful? Are you grappling with the uncertainty a mid-career change may cause. You may also like reading Dealing With Job Security.

To understand how a senior professional changed career tracks to pursue a Green Career, view this video on our YouTube channel.

To learn how a young professional pursues her Ikigai alongside her mainstream job, click on this link.

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