June 10, 2014
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life - Confucious
Do you like your current job but dream of something better? Or perhaps you go to work and are constantly thinking about your side project, or hobby. This could be a sign you are in desperate need of a career change.
This happened to me. I was a successful retail manager, first at store level and then managing a group of stores for a large electronics chain. Life was good. I was earning great money, being challenged and building high performing teams. But I would get home in the evening and program my computer. The next day, I would be thinking about how to improve the program I was writing. In the car I would listen to podcasts about programming practices and freelancing. This went on for years.
I had worked for this company for 18 years. I was regarded highly and sent to ‘Future Leaders’ training programs to further my career. But towards the end, I had begun to imagine a life out of retail. About being happy doing what I actually loved doing. Programming computers. I wasn’t unhappy in retail. Or regretful of the opportunities it had given me. I was just beginning to be mindful that it perhaps wasn’t my destiny.
One day I just did it. I just typed out a resignation letter, gave a lengthy period of notice (I didn’t want to leave on bad terms) and finally, left. It was a sad day. I was leaving the known and entering the unknown. Out of my comfort zone completely. I had a family to support and did not really have a solid plan on replacing my current income. I had decided to become a freelance web developer. Out of a handful of contacts I began to get some minor jobs. These progressed to major projects and eventually to my current role. Today I manage a web team and code most of the time. Its pure bliss, combining my love of programming and system architecture with my experience in developing people. It would not have happened had I not realised that I could change my career whenever I wanted.
I realise that for a lot of people a switch like I describe may not be financially or otherwise feasible. But don’t give up. Pursue the job of your dreams. One that you bounce out of bed for in the mornings.