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  • Writer's pictureAtul Holkar

Are You a Prisoner of Your CV? 6 Reasons Why it’s Great to Make a Career Transition?

I created my first CV at 8 PM just one night before my first corporate interview with the help of my ex-boss then a serving colonel over a few drinks in an army officers mess. It was the starting point of my transition from an army officer to a corporate honcho. I got the job not because of a great CV but because of a successful interview by a person who had a reasonable understanding of the military logistics. Going purely by the CV, I would still have been searching for a job.

Over a period, I worked on my Supply Chain CV under the expert guidance of industry stalwarts, everything I did was to consolidate my identity as a supply chain professional, be it my jobs, my education qualifications, my teaching efforts, my writings nothing but only supply chain. I had to live up to my Supply Chain CV which I created.

Slowly the supply chain started replacing the codes of my career DNA to match my Supply Chain CV. I was perplexed, was I creating the CV or was the CV creating me? I had indeed become the prisoner of my CV. Is that the same with you, are you too a prisoner of your CV, be it sales, marketing, finance or HR?

Do we create the CV or the CV creates us?

Everyone needs a career path, a field to be an expert in, to grow and thrive in that field, but also is it right to restrict oneself just in one field of work and that too because one’s CV says so. We all very well know as to how are our career paths created in our formative years. Majority of us are pushed into a career and mostly because of our circumstances prevailing at that time; be it cut-offs for the admissions, scores in competitive examinations, financial constraints or limited or no exposure to other fields of work. And, by the time we realise that we’ve already reached a mid-career level. With increased liability and fear of uncertainty, we more or less reconcile and start consolidating in our field of work, chosen or imposed upon us. And, now we truly have become the prisoner of our CV.

Over a period of time, many things change, our values, desires, dreams, job satisfaction quotient even external factors like the plateauing of the industry we work for. This pushes us to seriously relook at our career and consider for a career transition.

As per Career Research in the US, it is estimated that approximately 5% to 10% of Americans change occupations each year. Despite the notion that mid-career is a time of stability and consolidation, these figures indicate that for many Americans, that is not the case. It’s also estimated that the average person will change careers between five and seven times throughout their working life.

A new career, a new job, new learnings give us a spectrum of experience and keep us young, healthy and a life truly fulfilled. Post COVID19 career change will not be an exception but a new normal.

Six reasons Why it’s Good to Have a Career Transition?

If one has reached the mid-career level and developed a reasonable safety net, it’s not unreasonable to think about a career transition. This will not only give a boost to one’s work-life but will also bring in more balance in the career. One will get a chance of doing exactly what one always wanted to or desired to do. In any case, in career transition one is not starting from scratch, years of experience is not a waste, in fact, it is the very foundation of a new career.

1. One Life

You cannot just live and die without actually living it. Every career transition serves as an essential milestone of life, it helps one make their own career story. It is also an impetus to much happier and satisfying work life. These milestones make us feel more satisfied and accomplished in our working life. Out of your comfort zone, it also encourages us to gain new knowledge and skills which spices up life.

2. Career Transition is a New Normal

Much before the COVID 19, the millennials had already started the unique pattern of career transition. Moving from a regular job to a start-up then maybe entrepreneurship and at times, back to a 9 to 5 job. Such career transitions are no longer seen as an inhibitive trait, but in fact being recognised as a sign of agility, learnings and adaptive development. Some people also change careers not because they necessarily want to but because they have to.

COVID 19 and new geopolitical challenges are making industries redundant with fewer or no jobs in that field, switching to another field may be the way to go. The fast-changing nature of work means that a career change may be more feasible now than it was just five years ago. People are also increasingly working in new ways, be it flexibly, remotely or part-time, heard about the GIG economy?

3. Unshackling of Knowledge

COVID 19 and its mandate of physical distancing has done what great scholars of education have been demanding for ages, unshackle the knowledge. Over a period of time, the knowledge had become highly restrictive to a selected few, be it the cut off marks, limited seats in top educational institutions, reservations of various natures, or the economic cost to name a few.

Knowledge gaining should be a human right, and it’s time to challenge the restrictive environment of the premium educational institutes. Of course, scores after the knowledge gain can be the deciding factor for employment but not the learnings.

The line between onsite and online learnings is blurring very fast, and anyone who can certify their knowledge should be considered at par. Online education has given a big boost to reskilling, upskilling and multi-skilling and has made career transition much more comfortable than before. Online education will eventually become the mainstay and current premium institutes just the places for research.

4. Looking for Second Chance

We picked our occupation in our formative years all dictated by the circumstances prevailing at that time and now we are stuck. The best time to change is now and switch to something you always wanted to do. Also, if one thinks that one hasn’t succeeded in the current career or hit a career ceiling, there is always a second chance.

5. It’s Rejuvenating and Life enhancing

The toxic effects of stress in many dysfunctional work environments are impacting millions of people across the globe. During my counselling sessions, I interact with so many professionals, including some industry-leading lights who just want to leave everything and run away.

If you are working in an organisation where you regularly feel a misfit, changing a career might be an excellent way to find your balance. Whatever may be the case, but you can always start fresh anytime in life. I am not advocating a career change at the smallest of discomfort, but if you feel compelled, then do so without any hesitation.

6. Dare to be Contrarian

It requires guts to be a contrarian and succeed. One’s entire social network be it family or friends is riveted to certainties of life. We as society frown at anyone who challenges stability. I myself have faced so much opposition while transiting from the army to the corporate world and to being a career transformation coach now.

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die and go to heaven. Transition is indeed painstaking but then so is growth. Every transition needs deletion of old cookies or rebooting or sometimes even complete replacement of own's operating system. Having faith in one’s ability is the key to break the prison of one’s CV.

Many factors indicate that the speed of career transitions, both voluntary and involuntary, will accelerate in the future. Post-COVID 19, the world would be very different, so would be the job market. The industries, the jobs, the skillsets required for the new jobs is changing rapidly. The certainties of family occupation, government jobs and the long stints in a single corporate are now truly over. It’s just the right time to relook at your CV and plan your elaborate prison break.

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