A generation back, when ‘one job for life’ was pretty much the accepted philosophy for the conservative working class, a career change at 30 or 35 in India was taboo.
Unless there was a lay-off (another less frequent phenomenon), Indians employees wouldn’t even be thinking of a career change after 30.
The benevolent company ensure that all their needs were taken care of. As the employees crossed 25, 30, 40, 50, a change of career became not only less relevant but also less practical. Not any more.
Now you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t proactively evaluate the possibility of a career change after 10 years (or even 15, 20 years) of working.
Why a career change at 30 or 35 in India makes sense
The basic career story for most professionals in India is similar and it’s quite likely that it might apply to you as well.
You were forced into getting a degree that you never wanted. You did not choose your first job. You took whatever came your way during campus recruitment. You came for the salary and made job switches primarily for the salary. Now, you’ve reached a mid-career crisis much earlier than you expected.
Career Change Reason 1: Your qualifications don’t match your jobs
Your basic graduation degree might be in chemical (or mechanical or aerospace) engineering, but you’ve been sitting in a cubicle managing software and other outsourced business processes.
Your plight is shared by thousands of other colleagues who have been pulled into the vortex just like you.
Career Change Reason 2: Your interests don’t fit your jobs
Your right-brained creative preferences have been pushed into the shadows by all the left-brained activities you are expected to do at work. or Vice versa.
You’d love to work with ideas, dream of new possibilities and connect with people. But you get paid to record, quantify and analyse what’s already happened.
Career Change Reason 3: Your personality isn’t aligned with your jobs
Your boss wants to see you as an outgoing, aggressive, back-slapping, in-your-face marketing person who’ll use the gift-of-the-gab that the Lord almighty provided you to get new business for the company.
What they don’t know is the introvert who lurks behind that mask, waiting to go home and enjoy the silent me-time. Round peg in the pentagonal hole!
Career Change Reason 4: Your salary & compensation package don’t match your expectations
The compensation package seemed very lucrative when you joined. But within a couple of years, you’ve realised that the market salary range has grown much faster than your companies HR policies like.
So, fresh faces with lesser experience pouring into your company are getting salaries that are getting too close to yours.
Career Change Reason 5: Your skills are rapidly losing their market value
This one is the killer. Think about this.
What got you into this company? Your skills.
What’s keeping you in this company? Your skills.
What’s stopping you from getting better jobs? I think you know the answer.
It’s in your employer’s interest to make the most of the skills you were recruited for. It’s in your interest to outgrow that role as quickly as you can.
Career Change Reason 6: You are getting too comfortable in the current job
This one sneaks up from behind and you don’t even suspect it. When it ain’t broken, why fix it, right?
Let’s be clear here. Being comfortable doesn’t mean being happy. You might have tons of complaints against your employer – the culture, politics, salaries, policies, how the canteen food has altered your once-enviable silhouette.
But you’ve accepted it as an unchangeable fact of life. That’s the comfort factor we’re talking about, of sticking to the known evil rather than venturing into the unknown.
If after working for 10 years, you have the maturity to evaluate your career growth trajectory and give it proper direction, then a career change at 30 (or 35 / 40 / 45) may still be worth it.
Try out this free online career assessment test to see how you’ve managed your career so far. Our online personality test might give you some insights into specific traits and tendencies you project. Be aware of the limitations of such tools though.
If you are under 35 and prefer a personalised 1-on-1 session, check out our career counselling option. [Disclaimer: This option is not a magic wand either. We’ll let you know upfront if we aren’t able to help.]
Have you been thinking about a change of career after 30? What is the primary reason?
Read these related posts: Fear and shame of career change and Teacher turned Management Consultant-Career Change Tips
[Edit: I’ve launched another initiative to help folks build, improve or change their careers using a simple but effective approach. Do check it out]