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Why you should change your job!

#HRLADYSHIP Travel Heather Gupta • February 4, 2017
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No, I don’t mean right now. I have enough on my plate without a bunch of mass resignations, thank you very much.

What I mean is, that at some point in your life, I believe that you should change not only your job, but also your entire career.

Things have changed drastically when it comes to job hopping. The old days of finding a job and working your way up through the ranks of a highly esteemed corporation are gone.

Now, the opposite is happening. Our so-called “Millennial” generation have taken job hopping to a whole new level. Impatience with a role sets in early, and ambition often overtakes ability, when it comes to wanting more responsibility.

But I’m not talking about moving jobs within an industry for more money or more (apparent) benefits. Anyone can jump for a few thousand rupees or the label “Senior” tacked onto their designation.

I’m talking about a serious career change and the fresh perspective that can give. I’ve changed careers three times in my 20 odd years of working, and each time I’ve done it, it’s given me a kick in the backside and a new determination to succeed.

The first time doesn’t really count – I moved from a marketing role with a major MNC (which I hated) to an advertising agency (which I loved). I guess that was a choice born of necessity rather than a proactive choice, but it still felt pretty exciting at the ripe old age of 25.

The second time, I moved continents. Again, cynics might discount this as a bone fide career change, as although I moved half way around the world, from the UK to India, I was on familiar territory client and agency wise (I was working with my old agency JWT, on the client I’d handled back in the UK, Unilever).

The third shift was the biggie, when I moved from client servicing into HR, at Lintas in Mumbai. This is when the magic really happened for me. As far as I was concerned, I was completely unqualified for Human Resources, knew nothing about the complexities of Indian payroll, salary and taxation, and was only just scratching the surface in terms of getting a handle on how India works. However, my CEO at the time saw something in me which inspired him to offer me a role heading HR for his company, leading a team of 15 HR “experts”, and partnering with him to drive a new and exciting agenda for the agency. It turned out that I was an “HR natural” (who knew?!) and the move was exhilarating.

In retrospect, my shift from Client Servicing into HR was an obvious one, given that I’m pretty good with people, have decent communication skills and am a fast learner. However, at the time, it seemed random. There’s usually a method behind any madness, so here are the 3 requirements for making an “out of the box” career shift:

1. You need to be absolutely open-minded

If I’d been more of a traditional, closed minded type, I would have rejected the suggestion of HR as being way too lateral. Had I been preoccupied with climbing the “client servicing ladder”, I would have seen HR as a diversion. Instead, I saw it through a lens of possibility. The best that could happen? A brand new career. The worst? A year of so of realizing that I should go back to Client servicing again, with some new skills picked up along the way.

2. You need to work for an organization which sees beyond the “obvious”

It takes a certain kind of company to recognize transferable skills in an individual, and encourage them to shift internally (or even externally). I like to think that we do this at The 120 Media Collective. We have examples of people working with us today who we’ve interviewed for one role and offered another, and who we’ve moved internally between verticals.

3. You, and the organization, need to be a little brave

There’s no guarantee that shifting to a new role will work out. It might be a huge failure, as you’ve no “safeguard” of directly relevant experience to fall back on. On the other hand, it might work out brilliantly. You’ll never know until you try it. I was also handed a huge paycut when I shifted into HR because I was “proving myself”. While that’s not a prerequisite for a job shift, in my case it was fair because I was really getting into brand new territory. Happily, and perhaps because I had no financial responsibilities at the time, I channeled my energy into being great at the new role rather than worrying about the money, and quickly managed to surpass even my earlier salary.

Most folks reading this will be in their twenties or early thirties, if our employee population is anything to go by. You’re in a brilliant position, with most of your career ahead of you. Think about the now, but also contemplate the future and where that might take you, if you allow yourself to think out of the box.

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