Reset, reboot and restart your career
Think long term when you plan your second career, says Devashish Chakravarty
You want to reset the career button because you are either fed up with your current role or your industry has gone into a tailspin. Or you want to reboot your personal and professional life because you have just retired or have moved into a new country or family where your needs and demands have changed. Maybe you are returning to work after a long break. Here’s how you to make a success of your second career.
PLAN FOR 10 YEARS
Don’t work to a planning horizon of a few months or a year. A second career is not to be tried out for a few days. Think about the goals that you are likely to achieve over a period of 10 to 20 years in the new career. Only then will your decision make sense. In the short term, expect the journey to be tough and the challenges seemingly insurmountable. Showing up at work daily and slogging through the bad days will get you the skills, control, success and income.
PLAY TO YOUR SELF
Your first career was probably a result of coincidences, constraints, family influence, peer pressure and a limited understanding of possible options. This time make it about yourself. What are your core life values? What kind of work do you truly enjoy and are also good at? What kind of environment or people energise you? What provides meaning to your days? Find which domains and roles match you best.
If you are returning to work after a break, know that the professional world has moved on. People who worked with you earlier have a few more years of experience under their belt and are now senior managers. Do not benchmark yourself against them. Your past reputation and previous achievements do not count as much because they are a few years old and the relevant skills have not been used for a while. Be realistic about what to expect.
To begin with, it will be difficult to find relevant or good opportunities in a new domain or while returning from a long break. As you are not plugged into the eco-system, you do not have access to right and timely information on opportunities. Get out and meet people. The more interactions and conversations you have with connections and their references, the greater is the probability of stumbling upon opportunities.
PLAY ON THE FRONT FOOT
While meeting people do not feel guilty for taking a break or diffident because you do not have relevant experience in the new domain. Operate from a position of confidence arising from your expertise in your primary career or past achievements before the break. If you don’t feel confident, simply act the part. Your positive body language will rub off on both you and your listener permitting promising interactions.
ASK FOR HELP
Though you are more experienced, in your new career you are still a fresher. So, like a newbie, ask for help. Keep an open mind from where help may come from.
BEYOND THE BEATEN PATH
Think beyond obvious brands and opportunities. Explore options in nonprofits. Before you apply for jobs, consider gaining free experience by volunteering or doing internships. Also consider working part time in a second job.
GIVE BEFORE YOU ASK
When you meet potential employers, discuss outcomes you can deliver. Discuss your own needs only after they see value in what you offer. No employer likes to start a discussion with how he can meet your requirements. If your past skills are not relevant, seek education or freelance opportunities to learn new marketable skills.
The writer is Director at HeadHonchos.com and QuezX.com