Career change is a difficult process which takes months, even years. Believe me, I’ve done it. More than once.
While still a high school student, I started doing websites. In the beginning, I did my personal website, hosted on GeoCities (who remembers that?). After that, I started doing websites for small local companies in my hometown. When I came to college, I got a job as a student doing programming for a local export-oriented company. At some point, I realized I don’t want to do programming for the rest of my life. It was fun, but I realized I needed something else. So, I started learning about computer networks and servers. While being Microsoft Student Partners Lead at my university, I really put all my energy and effort into becoming better and better. I became a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), which is a title Microsoft gives only to a handful people. In Croatia, there were less than 20 MVPs, and in the whole world, there were around 50 MVPs in my category (Virtualization). That was huge and really promising career was ahead of me.
How I met your moth… er, something new?
Then, I met social media. I was still a student and I started doing social media campaigns for various clients. I was at a turning point of my career: to continue with IT stuff or try my luck in a completely new area. That is the decision it took me around a year to make. If I leave IT, I would leave everything I built in three years. If I start doing social media, I would have a new challenge and a possibility to do something on my own. A possibility to do something on my own was a key factor I decided to do a new career change.
I’ve been doing social media / digital marketing for the last four years. I am managing partner at digital agency Kontra. And I love every second doing what I do. Sometimes, only sometimes, I think about my past career and think about what would happen if I decided to ditch social media and stay in IT. Would I be making more money? Probably. Would I become a “big name” in that world? Perhaps. Would I have freedom as I have now? No way.
I actually don’t care what I’m doing as long as I do it with a joy and as long as I control stuff. There is only one category in the world for people like me: entrepreneur.
Why am I telling you all this?
All this story so far was to prove I know what career change means. It is not a simple process (it might sound like that from the first part of this article, but I’ve tried to make it as short as possible) and I would like to share a couple of insights from my own experience.
- You should do a career change only under two conditions: when you see a bigger opportunity in a new industry or when you feel like you’re stuck with your current career.
- Take as many time as possible to do a complete research about a new industry and opportunities.
- Get as much support from your friends and family as possible.
- Be prepared to take as much time as possible to learn everything about the new industry.
- Be prepared to forget almost everything you learned.
- Be prepared to slowly separate from your previous colleagues. You will always be “friends”, but as you won’t see them as before that won’t be like before.
- Be prepared for a huge “hate” and laughing behind your back. People don’t understand your intentions and will think you’re crazy.
- It will take a year or two before people around you really realize you are doing something different. I remember people still asking me questions about Windows Server and virtualization even after two years I stopped doing that.
- Always consider a career change as a new possibility and a move forward. For me, it would be boring to do the same job for the rest of my life. I always try to move forward.
- Be prepared for a risk. For me, this last career change was a huge risk, but I was willing to take it.
How many times did you change your career?
Image credit: LinkedIn