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Exploring new options

Today a mid-career professional is no longer obliged to take what comes his or her way, says Sonali Majumder.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 17:04 IST
in focus | Sonali Majumder
in focus | Sonali Majumder

Chances are you have been out in the working world for some time and are now considering changing your job—either because you feel that you are stuck in the wrong job or because the vibrant economy has opened up other exciting options for you.

Whatever be the case, the prospect of finding new employment can be exciting. After all, you can now focus on what you want, and find the job that suits you best.

A mid-career professional is no longer obliged to take what comes her way. With experience, well-developed skill-sets and a sincere desire to work hard, you have a better chance to prove yourself.

Points out Dr Satish Pai, Chief Consultant, Organisational and Knowledge Development, Aptech, "There are several reasons as to why people want to change their careers mid-track. First, they might have achieved competence for a higher responsibility role, which they are not getting in the present organisation. Second, they might develop a dislike for a particular area and might want a career shift or they might have reached a saturation point in their current profession and would like to stretch their boundaries."

For others, it might be a realignment of financial goals that tempt them to change professions mid-way. "They could be looking for an area which is high paying or they could have developed a fresh perspective towards their career or they could be looking at a correction in their roles," says Pai Echoes Bhaskar Das, Vice President (HR), Cognizant, "For many, it is a career progression or an extension of their career into a new and happening industry."

As TN Hari, Vice President and Global Head of HR, Virtusa clarifies, "It is a common argument that most people consider at least three career shifts in life—one in their twenties, one in mid-life and one after the sixties. Usually, it is when they realise that their work has little connection to the things they really care about, that they feel like taking the plunge."

Most professionals evaluate their life goals only when they are in their late thirties. The market may promise much higher monetary rewards and several such alternatives are available these days. For instance, many journalists have moved into areas such as corporate communications, technical writing, and instructional design. "Along with their communication skills, their strengths in obtaining, assimilating and analysing information and presenting it to uninitiated audiences in engaging ways stands them in good stead in these careers," says Das.

Engineers, too, are increasingly opting for a postgraduation in Business Administration and entering fast-track managerial positions.

In the IT industry, too, we see a greater accent on leveraging technology to solve business problems. So, a technical skill is not the only attribute that sells.

"People with specialised knowledge, say in the banking, retail, healthcare, or manufacturing sectors can also get into the industry as domain specialists who can understand business problems and help translate them into technology requirements," explains Das. Cognizant, too, has recruited several doctors and banking professionals as domain specialists for its healthcare, banking and financial services practices.

"In fact, we have multiple career paths for employees to choose from at different stages of their life cycle. This programme allows technical professionals to select different career options such as project management (management track) or build on domain competence as well," says Das.

In addition, the company also enables its employees to pursue higher education opportunities while working with Cognizant. "This helps them meet their career objectives without switching jobs," Das concurs.

Initially, professionals do find it a little difficult to adjust to the new conditions. Some companies even give rigorous training to their employees to help them grasp the right techniques. Whatever it is, you need to have the right attitude in order to make the right move.

First Published: Sep 19, 2006 15:52 IST