Changing careers is a big decision for many of us, from an early age we may funnel our energy into a chosen discipline only to find that somewhere along the way something changed: it wasn’t what we expected, we lost interest or maybe just discovered something else we feel truly passionate about.
Sometimes we can feel like clockwork toys, wound up and set on a predetermined path, destined to work for as long as the coil wrapped around our cold metal hearts will turn. It can be hard to break this metaphorical inertia, to wake up, smell the coffee and make for better horizons.
The statistics aren’t clear on career changes either, which can be disheartening. However this isn’t due to failure of ambition but rather because of the subjective manner in which the term “career change” is interpreted. For the purpose of this article we focus on people changing careers within the Fintech sector, e.g. a developer moving into marketing.
Despite the lack of data many people do successfully change career especially within a familiar industry, so don’t let your dreams be dreams, change your reality. Weigh up the pros and cons of a true career change and make an informed decision on whether or not it’s for you.
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So what are the pros and cons and is it worth it overall?
Are you sure?
This is the first question: the question of certainty. How can we know that what we are running from is not the same as what we are running to? Will working in a new discipline be any better than the last? Are you moving for the sake of it or because you are bored? How much time are you willing to commit to achieving your dream?
To try to answer this dilemma, focus objectively on what is making you leave. Are you sure it’s the work and not just the people or the organisation that irks you? Check out our article on planning your next career move to know the difference.
If your mind is made up on changing career then it’s time for the practical considerations.
How hard is it?
The main disadvantages are fairly obvious and the main limiting factor for most people: money and time. How much this will limit you greatly depends on your age; generally the older you are the more responsibilities and commitments you have up until retirement so the harder it can be to change career. Even so the average age of career changes is 39, ten years above the age at which most people start a family, so don’t lose hope if this is you.
If this is only a slight career change you may be able to channel your experience within the industry to find a similar position, for example, a developer isn’t hamstrung if they are only changing from frontend to backend, but the same person changing from a tech job to operations, would find themselves at a severe disadvantage to start off with, both in terms of lacking the experience to command anything close to their previous salary and in the amount of time it might take to build that back up.
Again, age and responsibility are huge factors, if said professional had dependents and financial commitments such as a mortgage or car payments then it just may not be feasible. This is the greatest hurdle for most people, with 42% of professionals unwilling or unable to commit to such a step back financially. But if we flip that statistic on it’s head we see that the majority persevere, 58% can just about make it work, are willing to downsize their life for a while and just hang in there, for the chance of a better future in the long term.
Is it worth it?
How much do you value your own happiness? If you know that your dream career will bring you the joy and satisfaction that day to day is missing from your work-life, then you should take every chance you get to make that dream a reality. Consider these statistics on changing your career: only 15% of people are engaged at work, job satisfaction has fallen by 10% in the last three years, 83.6% of people think enjoying what you do is the most significant indicator of success. The statistics show you aren’t alone, valuing yourself is important, after all your career is where you will spend the vast majority of your day to day life, so best to make it something worthwhile. However it’s one thing to feel that a career change is what you need, quite another to actually make it worthwhile; you need a plan.
Ok so how do I actually do it…?
Got any tips?
If you are looking to plan your next career move in Fintech then definitely read our full length guide, but here are some tips:
SWOT - The best thing you can do is sit down and perform a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat analysis (SWOT). This self assessment tool is a great diagnostic to find out where you really stand, providing you with a full picture of whether a career change is plausible and your transferable skills.
Network – Use your current network and reputation to explore options. You may well know people who already work in roles that you admire, reach out to them for advice and if they are in a position to hire submit your resume and ask for a candid call. Someone who knows and respects you is far more likely to give you a chance, the old adage “It’s who you know, not what you know” applies here, allowing you to get your foot in the door.
Communicate – Don’t be afraid to talk to people you trust, it can lead to all sorts of novel opportunities. Talk to your line manager to see if there is a possibility for you to shadow or work with another team in a role you desire. This will allow you to both build useful experience and see if the job actually appeals to you.
A realistic plan is a worthwhile investment
If you have properly done your homework, then you will know what kind of work you are moving to, what kind of experience you will need to get to progress, how much of a pay cut you will be taking as well as how long you might be waiting before you earn something approximating what you did before. If knowing this you are still determined and willing to make the sacrifices to chase your dream, then steam on, because new experiences happiness and prosperity await you; the light at the end of the hard work tunnel.
Looking for new opportunities or just want to see what's out there? Feel free to check out our latest jobs for Fintech & Payments professionals