My husband was 32 when he changed careers. It wasn’t just a sideways step to develop skills in a new division, it was a full blown throw it all in & start an apprenticeship. Michael became a chef. Becoming a chef is not what you see on MasterChef, it’s a 3 year apprenticeship, 1 day week at school & countless hours in the kitchen. Not such a hard path when you are starting out at 16, but at 32 it’s tough.
What’s so tough about it? Firstly, your peers are half your age & it’s likely that it is their first real job. As much as they are learning the craft, they are learning how to work. Plus, taste buds aren’t even fully developed at that age. Second, your managers are so used to dealing with teenagers that they treat you like one too. Third, your managers are likely to be younger than you, significantly so. Fourth, there is a serious pay cut in throwing in your previous career & starting an apprenticeship. Fifth, a brand new career in a brand new industry means starting from scratch in the networking department.
I campaign for more women to join technology, to study technology and to change careers and join technology. As I think about Michael’s experience, I am reminded that changing careers isn’t easy and have explored what it was that made his move possible, let alone a complete success.
Michael had a very clear view of what he wanted, his vision for his life. His decision wasn’t limited to what job he wanted next, but where he wanted his life to lead. He also had a clear view of his interests & his strengths. He purposefully chose a career that would enable all of these. Every time things got tough during those 3 years of apprenticeship, he was able to link back to his reason for being there in the first place.
Margie Warrell, author of Brave, Stop Playing Safe & Find Your Courage says: “For the sake of what are you willing to get out of your comfort zone, to risk failure, to put your ego aside and truly show up?”
Understanding your why is a powerful tool indeed.