The Struggles of Changing Career Path in your 30s

If you are among those lucky ones who woke up one morning somewhere between 10 to 16 years old overly conscious about your talents and passions, casually announcing to your parents what you will become when you grow up and firmly standing by your choice until retirement, I raise my hat to you!

However, this article is neither a right nor a safe place for you to stick around. This article is devoted to this vast majority of people who have no idea what they are doing, why they are doing it and how the hell did they end up here. It is devoted to all those people who made career choices based on all the wrong reasons – society, parents, know-it-all neighbor, grocery lady in the corner – and got stuck into this notion that “now is the time to step up my game and show how passionate I am about my job otherwise I will stay a junior assistant for the rest of my life”.  

And this, my friend, is the breaking point. This is the point of no return where you either fully engage or you bail out. Fight or flight mode. Both acceptable, both equally challenging. Whether you do it quietly, with caution, strategy and patience or you just rush out of the office with no plan B, the result is the same. There is no driving ahead anymore, there is only a crossroad with no signs and you in the middle. Occasionally with no fuels as well, so you need to walk to the nearest gas station and then get back and start the engine.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

Lao Tzu

Full disclosure, that’s exactly where I stand right now. I got back from the gas station and I’m trying to figure out how this engine is supposed to start. I now exactly which turn I need to take in this roundabout but this car is just giving me a hard time!

For real now, changing career path in your 30s is a tough decision that comes with several practical issues to address. But you know what? You were brave enough to roll the dice, you can definitely handle a few practical constraints. Because the real challenge lies in finding ways to preserve your sanity, your self-esteem and your self-confidence throughout this graceless phase of re-branding yourself.

Below are three of the toughest mind battles people are facing while pursuing a new career path along with an honest effort to deconstruct them and put them in their real dimension. In other words, this is an insight in all the conversations that take place in my head:

The Identity Crisis

You’ve spent thirty years building up your persona. You won and lost battles, you studied and worked hard, you started low, you compromised a lot and now, what?

You are re-branding yourself, that’s what! No big deal,really. It is not like you are going back to zero. All the life lessons learned, all the experiences and the skills are still yours. They are just redirected to new channels to create an improved and more fulfilled version of you. You are a work in progress. You are updating not rebooting!

You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.

C.S. Lewis

The Self-doubt

It is there all the way, never shuts up and always puts up quite a show in your mind. It is your new best friend, your valuable companion,questioning your every move and every thought all day long.

Ignore it. What we cannot turn off, we ignore. Let it be there, let it do its part and then go and do whatever you were planning to do anyway. Do not try to rationalize it. Thinking might be a great tool for humanity but over-thinking can be the source of evil!

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

Sylvia PLATH

The Others

It’s you against the world. The others. The “enemy”. Well, most of these ”others” have no bad intentions at all. They just want to understand or even have a small chat. It is even possible that they only ask out of politeness and they completely forget all about your enthusiastic, in-depth analysis of your future plans the moment they turn the corner and they go back to their own problems.

Well, get over it. People will talk, people will judge, you do it as well. That’s what got you here at first place. Paying too much attention to the “others”. Now tough up and get out there to share your vision with the world because this is the shortest way to reach this one “other” who will actually believe in you and offer you an opportunity to pursue your dream.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou
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