Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On Switching Careers

As far as I can remember, I really wanted to become a writer. Now that I am a full-time writer, I must say I’m happily settled and I don’t want to veer away from this industry again. Oh, did I say again? Yes, I did. The thing is, when I was in high school and college, I was still writing on the side but then I pursued different interests. In fact, I took up Marketing in college because I actually thought that the world of marketing, advertising and public relations is for me.

Right after I graduated, I had two jobs, one for the government and one for a Montessori school. Both needed my business course background but then it took me a long time before I decided to switch careers and become a full time writer.

It wasn’t that pay was bad, it’s just that when I was working for my two previous non-writing jobs, somehow a part of me was missing, and so even when I had a great office, a great uniform and great people around me, I kept on looking at the local classified ads.

After my gig at the Montessori school as an Executive Assistant, I tried looking for different jobs. I lurked around hotel management, VISA processing, merchandising, etc. just so I can find my “happy place”. But then I cut the chase and decided to write full-time. I was a freelancer for about a month and then I made up my mind. I’m glad I did, though.

As you can see, it took me a very long time to finally decide where I should settle. Here are some things which I treated as a career-switching checklist when I decided to switch careers.

The 8-Year Test

Picture yourself eight years from now. Do you see yourself still happily settled in the job that you have now or in the career that you have in mind? Again, the key phrase here is “long term”. If you want to switch careers, that means that you want to forego something in light of another, so it better be worth it, right? Five years is too short, and ten years may be too far off. So eight years it is.

Industry Stability

When the latest worldwide recession hit, most of the jobs which were lost were connected with merchandising and finance. The jobs which weren’t that much affected were the jobs in health care and in education. How recession-proof is your chosen career? Since you will be thinking long-term, assess how sustainable your industry is. The industry I’m in right now (full time) is internet-based. I realized that the internet will only get bigger so I settled here.

Does it Make You Proud?

If your job lets you have a sense of purpose? Do you feel like you “belong” with the people around you? Does your job make you proud? If you answered “yes” to all of these, perhaps it’s really a good choice to switch careers. There’s nothing like having a job which doesn’t feel like a job at all to make you realize the better things in the professional world and in life.

Switching careers is not as easy as it happened for me or as easy as how this article makes it sound like. Decide wisely, weigh your options well and never forget that the key phrase is “long term”.

Got some career-switching stories? Email me at


Rommel said...

read this one on Times. Kinda got myself relate to it. Keep writing! :)

bitchvarsity said...

Thanks Rommel! :)

which career did you give up for your present career? and what is your present career? :) i'd love to hear about it

Rommel said...

it's about giving up a career because of some principles. I got employed somewhere with a mission and now I am planning to go back to the first one because my principles say I am now prepared. hehe :)