Embarking on a career shift in your 30s can be a transformative and fulfilling journey. Numerous factors drive individuals to pursue career shifts in their 30s. These could be for seeking greater work-life balance, exploring new interests, a yearning for personal fulfilment, or adapting to shifting industries or economic circumstances is essential for building a strong foundation for a successful career transition.
For Gurugram-based HR professional turned IT professional Garima Dhingra, it was serendipity, while for Kolkata-based IT professional turned professional photographer, Sanhita Sinha, it was an opportunity to follow her creative passion. It was the desire to fulfil that elusive dream of turning an opportunity into a lucrative career goal by breaking away from the set norms that made Mumbai-based former air hostess Deepa Padda and Hyderabad-based former government official Chandrasekhar Singh zealously pursue entrepreneurship and with aplomb.
Singh was greatly dissuaded when he quit his well-paying and secure government job to become an agripreneur and start a mission to milch the silage business in India. “But it was a more intuitive decision to take that giant leap of faith and start SAGO Speciality Feeds in 2019 to build a fodder ecosystem among the dairy industry for feeding the dairy animals, thus driving increased milk yields, says Singh. On the other hand, Padda knew that being a flight attendant was just another ‘job’ and she needed a career. “I served in the aviation industry for six years, completed a certified training course while serving in the system, and that small step was a leap forward to make me a corporate trainer in the learning and development space, and establish my business, Burgeon Skills in 2015,” adds Padda.
Embracing a creative profession proved a welcome break for Sinha, founder of Sanhita Photography, who needed creative time out to look after her only child and all by herself after her divorce. “I worked off hours during my stint as a software developer and started hustling as a photographer after Mithi was born. From then onwards, I was itching to switch to full-time, and my perseverance paid off. I run a small business with a diverse creative portfolio with a mixed bag of work,” Sinha says, beaming with pride.
A well-executed career shift in your 30s can open doors to new and exciting opportunities. It can lead to personal growth, professional fulfilment, and job satisfaction. Career transitions also offer a chance to leverage existing skills in a different context or develop new expertise in emerging fields. Embracing change can ultimately result in a more fulfilling and meaningful career trajectory.
IT graduate Dhingra started off in the Human Resources domain in her early career years, but fuelled by self-will, she did a certification in SAP HCM. She worked as a SAP consultant, moving to bigger and better opportunities in her new-found career zone. “I am a Project Manager with TCS, managing a team of techies today. My HR background comes in handy in delivering the job responsibilities in the current role, and always,” Dhingra emphasises.
Navigating the shift
Successfully navigating a career shift requires careful planning and deliberate actions. Dhingra found the transition challenging because of a lack of relevant work experience but managed because she stayed put at it. “My desire to learn and adapt helped me stay afloat,” she says. At the same time, Singh calls his shift manoeuvring a risky bend on a mountain terrain that he could navigate solely with his family and friends’ support. “I had financial stability, zero liabilities and resilience and core inner faith,” he says.
One can navigate this transition with confidence and success by understanding your motivations, exploring popular career switches, and implementing effective strategies. Like Sinha, who knew treading the path wouldn’t be easy, but it would surely be creatively satisfying. “Birthing a small set-up was a deliberate choice, and my penchant for the craft and knack of business sense made this tough choice a cakewalk. I am glad to have done it,” she says.
Embrace the opportunities that come with change, and approach the career shift with a growth mindset, adaptability, and a commitment to personal and professional growth can make the career shift a refreshing and transformative experience, allowing one to pursue newfound passions and achieve greater fulfilment, both in life and work.
“My love for learning is a constant feature, and quite inbuilt in my system, has always stood me in good stead, both in the professional space as a biz woman, and personal zone as a mother. I am a seeker and learner, and a good at leveraging my strengths that have helped me all through,” states Padda.
For those willing to switch, Singh has a piece of invaluable advice to offer. “One day, your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching,” he concludes.
Strategies for transition with aplomb:
1 Self-reflection and Assessment: Evaluate your skills, strengths, passions, and values to identify potential career paths aligned with your interests and goals.
2 Research and Networking: Conduct thorough research on your desired field, connect with professionals through networking events or online platforms, and seek informational interviews to gain insights and build valuable connections.
3 Skills and Knowledge Development: Identify gaps in your skill set and pursue relevant training, certifications, or further education to bolster your qualifications in the new field.
4 Transferable Skills Highlighting: Identify transferable skills from your previous experience and effectively communicate their value to potential employers in your newly chosen field.
5 Mentorship and Support: Seek guidance from mentors or career coaches who can provide valuable advice, support, and encouragement throughout your career transition journey.
6 Volunteering or Internships: Gain practical experience and make industry connections by volunteering or taking up internships to enhance your credibility and expand your professional network.
7 Adaptability and Resilience: Embrace the challenges and uncertainties of a career shift, and maintain a positive mindset while staying flexible and adaptable in the face of change.