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Career change in a pandemic? I got you.

This pandemic, we were not only introduced to the new normal, but we were also reminded that life is too short to be stuck in a job that no longer resonates with you. Most working adults discovered that they do not favor their job during the pandemic. Hence, sources from HRMalaysia, Vulcanpost and The Star stated that most millennials are quitting their jobs to pursue entrepreneurships or a different career path. In America, this trend would be called “The Great Resignation” and I too, as a millennial, am a part of this trend.

I had thought that leaving my current job in the midst of pandemic was the biggest challenge I would have to face. Upon resigning, I found out that the real challenge just began. My work experiences involve business development and account management, the two big guns of the e-commerce industry. But I have come to realization that it is no longer the profession I want to be associated with. Well, not exclusively at least. So, where do you start when your first career ended? What kind of industry or what kind of job do you want to be doing for the next few years? Is there a company willing to take a risk on an employee who has no prior background in the field but has a working experience of more than 1-2 years? Questions and doubts started to pile up. Therefore, major research was initiated and these are my findings:

  1. Passion
  2. Talent

Now you might think “duh” but no, it’s not duh when you entered your working life at 19 and just grabbed whatever was available. Thus, I want to highlight on the community who began their career when there was an opportunity despite having any interest on it. This is for you.

Do not confuse passion and hobby. At times, they do interlap. Passion goes beyond hobby. Passion is a crush you had on someone when you were a teenager. You invest your time and effort getting to know them. You want to grow with them.  You like them so much you want to marry them in the future. That’s passion in your career.

However, for this to work, you need to have the set of talents for it. Passion and talent are the duo you need to survive. Let’s say, singing is your passion but you always struggled with the notes. My friend, it takes two to tango. I would suggest you find a karaoke booth and let singing be a part of your hobby. I am an advocate of staying positive but I am also an advocate of being realistic.

I kickstarted my career in the e-commerce industry at 19 years old and by the age of 25, I felt the burn out. There was no longer passion in the things that I used to love, no more motivation and truly, no more willingness to reach the set KPIs. Yet, with all the negativity, the biggest challenge was that the job had placed me in my most comfortable bubble of my working scene. I realized that I was suffocating my future if I do not initiate a career change immediately.

The term burnout refers to employees who are either stuck in a loop with their daily tasks or have overworked themselves to the skeleton. Take your pick, either way, it does not end well. Hence, the decision to change my career was not only necessary but it was urgent amidst the pandemic situation.

I have a degree in linguistics and have always favored writing and reading. My major discovery during my first career was that I am not a bad writer. Sure, I am not yet a great writer but with hard work and determination I could end up being one. Therefore, I have decided communications or PR is something I would be interested in.

When you go into these interviews, always remember honesty is the best policy. Tell them what you want and tell them what you can offer. Also, tell them the things that you lack. In my case it’s the lack of experience and a solid skill set. I began applying for the roles that I want and ended up being employed at a company who is willing to take a chance on me. Now, I am writing this as the communications and marketing manager at a new company with a new career.

In summary, yes, quitting a job is hard during a pandemic. Yes, it is also a huge risk due to the obvious reasons. Yes, your parents or partner might disapprove. But do not forget the long-term plan, the investment and the growth you will gain from it. So, yes, I re-discovered my career passion. Yes, I am now happier doing the things I love. Yes, the change was worth it.

If you find yourself reading this and agreeing, I wish you all the best of luck finding your passion. Remember “if you are not willing to risk the unusual, you have to settle for the ordinary”.  And if you ask me, that is no way to live.

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