SINGAPORE: Is age a barrier to switching careers in Singapore? Ms Priscilla Pang, a career coach at talent development firm General Assembly, doesn’t think so.

She acknowledged that mid-career transitions are challenging and require grit and determination, but she believes they are possible. She said this journey can be filled with learning experiences and moments of self-discovery.

Noting her own experience, she said, “I myself successfully transitioned into a new career path with the help of a career coach, and I did it when I was 50!

Believe in yourself, be humble, learn and work with your coach, and take ownership to work hard during the entire process. You will get the job you want.”

Yahoo Finance reports that although switching careers in one’s 30s or 40s can seem daunting, stories like Jeff Bezos, who left finance to start Amazon at 31, or Vera Wang, who founded her fashion label at 40 after a career in editing, debunk the notion that it’s too late, but with things needed considering.

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A mid-career change has no right timing but is “congruent to what they really want”

Ms Pang says there is no right timing for a mid-career change.

Motivations can vary from personal growth to better work-life balance. She advises individuals to introspect, considering their values, interests, personalities, and skills (VIPS), to ensure alignment with the new career venture.

“They should gear themselves up for big lifestyle changes”

Financial considerations are crucial, Ms Pang emphasises. A mid-career switch may entail lower pay or entry-level roles, necessitating careful financial planning for a sustainable transition.

She said, “A sustainable, lasting, fulfilling mid-career transition can occur with less stress only with careful financial planning.”

Research! Ms Pang suggests leveraging resources like SkillsFuture’s Skills Framework to understand industry trends and skill requirements. Skill gap analysis and upskilling plans can bridge the divide between current expertise and desired roles.

Pros and cons

Switching careers in one’s 30s or 40s has pros and cons. Young adults in their 30s who are still exploring what they want have a longer career runway but may lack experience and networks; however, they have more flexibility in a new career track.

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Conversely, those in their 40s often have better, more definitive decisions on what career they want but face higher financial obligations, so it may be more challenging for them to transition to new rules when they ask for higher pay and are less flexible on entry roles. However, their wealth of experience can be an asset.

Take decisive action and leverage your professional network

Taking action is key. Ms Pang advises leveraging professional networks, seeking guidance from career coaches, and attending networking events to explore opportunities and gain insights from industry professionals.

While switching careers later in life poses challenges, with determination, self-awareness, and strategic planning, “You will get the job you want,” as Ms Pang said. /TISG

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