6 tips for a mid-life career switch in Singapore

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A mid-life career switch in Singapore could be a chance to finally live your dreams and explore options for a job you love, but are you ready to take the leap?

But it isn’t as easy as it sounds, of course. You’re back to square one, possibly with a pay cut, and you’re not even sure where to begin.

Related: 6 ways to jumpstart your career in Singapore

While this new career may be a long-time dream that has rejuvenated your enthusiasm, you may have considerably less formal experience and education to draw on.

What is a mid-career switch?

It takes years of hard work and commitment to build a stable career. For some professionals, the idea of giving up that effort for a mid-life career switch is unimaginable, yet many others are eager to move on to new and exciting ventures. Take for example, former lawyer Tan Min-Liang from Singapore. He quit his job to develop the Razer Boomslang, the first high-end gaming mouse.

His success wouldn’t have been possible without extensive market research and his unwavering belief in the potential of his product. Years later, the gaming peripherals industry is booming, with Razer leading the charge.

Related: Time for a career change?

So before you ditch your current job in search of more exciting career opportunities, it’s wise to consider the pros and cons first.

1. You bring your network with you

A mid-life career switch doesn’t have to set you back completely; you may have access to a network of contacts, and can rise more quickly than a fresh graduate would.

Your professional network can stay with you wherever you go in your career if you make the effort to preserve those network advantages.

2. Some skills are transferable

While you may be lacking in industry-specific experience, you’re well-versed with the ins and outs of the corporate world.

You might also have soft skills that can stand you in good stead for this new challenge. For example, great presentation skills count no matter where you are.

Related: Making a lateral career move

3. You could potentially earn more

If you’ve reached a plateau in your current career, making a mid-life career switch could allow you to transcend your current pay ceiling - maybe not immediately, but in time to come.

In the meantime, you’ll have the fresh burst of motivation and enthusiasm that a mid-career switch can bring, and the prospect of being in a job you love brings its own rewards.

4. Family issues

You may intend to start a family, or have already started one, and you don’t have the time or the money to make this risky career move.

Be sure to take on a new role only where there is a demand for your services, as well as a clear career path ahead of you.

Start looking for opportunities before you leave your current position, and prepare a backup plan just in case. If you need professional help finding opportunities, submit your resume and contact a recruitment consultant.

Related: Temporary work as a career option? 6 myths, 6 realities

5. Steep learning curve

Though it's a fresh start and a splendid opportunity to learn new things and tackle a job that inspires you, you might take time to adjust to your new career choice. The learning curve could be steep, and you may find yourself hard-pressed to keep up with your more experienced colleagues.

Don’t lose hope because history has shown that perseverance pays off. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, only came across a computer for the first time at the age of 33. He started his first business building websites for businesses, yet had never written a single line of code before that.

6. Smaller pay cheque

Nobody likes taking a pay cut, and making a mid-life career switch could mean turning your back on your current more lucrative job.

If you’ve been disciplined in the area of personal finance, you should have at least 6 months of savings in your bank account. With a bit of careful budgeting and planning, money should not be an issue.

Related: How to be happy in your career: 9 tips that don’t involve money

All too often, people in the workforce start out with the only jobs available to them. Should they find that their talents and desires lead them elsewhere, a mid-life career switch is a great opportunity for those willing to embrace change and embark on a new journey of self-discovery. It could be the first important step that leads to your dream job.

Want more career development tips and career advice for Singapore? Visit our career development hub.