In Nigeria, employment paths can be accidental just as much as intentional. Most Nigerians in their mid-30s to 40s, have been in a certain sector or job for five, ten, or fifteen years. We often find ourselves, at one point or another, taking a job for the necessity or pure availability. Sticking with an unsatisfactory job for that long can only mean two things –either sticking it out to the end or rising up to a new calling and reclaim your colour.
Making a career switch takes work. And nerve. You current career probably feels safe and pays the bills. But if you ever consider a career switch in Nigeria, let’s suggest a few ways to find your mojo.
1. Get experience and training.
Instead of just letting the idea of a new career bounce around your head, get as much experience and training in the potential career as possible. Take courses, volunteer, do it for free for friends or family—all while you still have your regular job. Test the waters first by doing easy and free stuff for people.
This will give you the confidence you need and reduce the risk of you having regrets later. That way, it becomes easy to make a switch at something other than entry level.
2. Get the right people to brainstorm with.
Find people who are in your dream career and will not only inspire you, but share valuable info with you. You can ask your connections on LinkedIn to make email intros to people who inspire you. Not everyone will have the time to offer you an extended period of mentorship, so just have short questions ready.
In any case, it’s always wise to discuss ahead of time with close family and friends, especially if income will decrease and budget will need reworked. Even if it’s a crazy career move, they often know you better than you think and will support you if they know it’ll make you happier. Hearing them tell you what they feel can be totally encouraging. And hopefully, they might be gracious to help open plenty doors of opportunities for you.
3. Don’t commit too much, yet.
Of course, you are eager to just launch in and take big risks, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Think about ways in which you could test the waters first without committing too much. Be aware of you point of no return.
Even if you have to start at the bottom of the ranks and take paycuts and work weekends – if it’s a better fit that contributes to a happier person, I hope you have the courage to board.
4. Invest the time.
It takes a lot more time and effort to switch careers in Nigeria than it does to find a job that’s more aligned with your past or current experience. You’ll have to really put in time to get a sense of available positions, and work on your resume so that it is appealing.
Prioritizing a career switch is time-consuming, but as long as you’re prepared for it, you should be able to carve the necessary time out of your busy schedule.
If you’re going in for the switch, these few things are what you should give special attention to.
Share your thoughts below!