Future of Work

Talent Talks Vol. 3: “As Long as You are Breathing, It is Never Too Late to Change Your Career.”

Are you training to gain a new perspective on your career development? Not surprisingly, a lot of people choose, at some stage in their development, to change their career path by going after something completely new. But what are the challenges? And how do upskilling and retraining work in this situation?

Trending Topics SEE’s third edition of the Talent Talks’ talk show answered all these questions, plus many more. This time, the title for the online event was “Up-skill & Retrain: When It’s Time to Reinvent Your Career,” and the speakers were discussing when and how one should make a 180-degree career change. The event was broadcasted live from Launchee, where four people with vastly different jobs were having a fruitful discussion. 

Othmane Boumzebra, strategy consultant at Easy Exhibit, opened the event with a presentation featuring the most important things for a smooth career change. Afterward, the stage was taken by Hristo Dimitrov, who started as a legal adviser to later become database analyst at Documaster, Svetlin Nakov, Co-founder, and innovation and inspiration manager at SoftUni, the largest tech education provider in SEE, Alexander Sumin, co-founder and CMO at ClaimCompass, who initially worked as a bankruptcy analyst, and Stiliyana Byandova, who, despite having a successful career as a civil engineer, chose to become a data and analytics engineer at Musala Soft.

The panelists shared how they decided to make a significant change in their careers, the lessons learned during their career transition, as well as the fears they had to overcome on their path to succeeding. Those who missed the discussion (or would like to watch it), can see it here

A few highlights

Othmane Boumzebra talked about the importance of mental preparation before starting a new job. The consultant also stressed the need for overcoming one’s fears connected to such a transition. Aligning one’s relationships by ensuring that both one’s family and friends are on board with the change is another thing that Boumzebra advised the audience to do. 

What is the profile of the perfect job?

“If you don’t like what you do, it is a mental burden to you,” said Hristo Dimitrov from Documaster.

All the panelists agreed that being passionate about your job and having a purpose is necessary for you to feel satisfied with what you do. As noted by Svetlin Nakov, the job that is most suitable for an individual is the one whose job characteristics and specifications match one’s set of skills and knowledge, but also correspond to his/her nature. To exemplify, Nakov told the story of his cousin, who studied programming at SoftUni. “He was very good at programming and I was sure that he will become a very good professional. One day, however, he came to me and said ‘Hey, I cannot understand how you can stay on this chair all day – I have the need to move and to talk with people. I cannot do this anymore’ And he soon quit programming and became a salesperson. You need to be passionate about your job, about everything that you do on a daily basis,” the SoftUni co-founder emphasized. 

As noted by Hristo Dimitrov, liking what you do and knowing that you are making your clients feel better can give you a sense of purpose, which would ultimately result in personal satisfaction. And on the opposite, the lack of passion for what one does, or the lack of purpose at work, can become a cause for mental burnouts, the Documaster analyst shared.

And what about the challenges?

“As long as you are breathing and alive, it is never too late to change your career,” stated Stiliyana Byandova.

As it became clear, there is no such thing as “the perfect time for changing your career”, yet, according to Stiliyana Byandova, it is never too late to do so. As noted by her, one should not be afraid to make this transition, because this can only complicate the process. The fear that you will disappoint your relatives or the doubt caused by the fact that you have invested your time and money into developing in the professional area you are currently in must not stop you from chasing your dreams, Byandova shares. 

These fears can be overcome with the help of your family and friends, both Byandova and Dimitrov share. “When you are almost ready to quit, a little push from them can help you to not give up,” Byandova shares.

Of course, one has to make a lot of sacrifices in order to become an expert in his new professional sphere. A career change is usually associated with a lot of studying and sleepless nights. It often happens that one should continue working at his old position while gaining the professional qualifications required to move on. Stilyana and Hristo both joke about forgetting what sleep was while prequalifying for their new positions. Yet, they are happy that they made the choice of sacrificing their time and energy to find the thing they are passionate about.

Experiment with different fields!

“People should try many things to discover what is designed for them,” believes Svetlin Nakov.

Something on which both Svetlin Nakov and Alexander Sumin agree is that one should experiment with different careers in order to discover what their vocation is. “Try, try, then try again, until you find where your passion is,” advised Nakov. 

Sumin added that experimenting is especially important for young people. “Selling your best years is sad if you are not sure if this is your true vocation,” he said. By experimenting professionally, you can find out a lot of things about yourself, and your personality.

Ultimately, it is okay if things do not work out well from the first try. Experimenting can teach you to learn to let things go, even if they are not perfect, Sumin shared.

But how is it going to feel when you find out your thing? The answer is simple: you are going to feel the passion. Nakov, who has experience with recognizing IT professionals, can describe the process. “There is this type of programmers who stay late after work just to continue improving, to understand things, and do better. These people will later become the best in the sphere.”

Money vs Training

“Money should not be the main reason for a career switch,” said Hristo Dimitrov.

When it comes to the role of money when changing one’s career, our panelists had an interesting discussion. When left to choose between a big salary and professional training, all of them preferred the second, but under certain conditions.

For Sumin, the choice depended on the quality of training that a company can offer an individual. “A lot of organizations claim that they will provide you with the best training, yet, they only try to squeeze whatever they can out of you,” he shared. 

Byandova said that choosing professional training rather than a big salary is a “win-win situation,” as the money would come with the skills and knowledge earned. She also maintained that money, in fact, is a factor when deciding whether or not to go for a new job. “If you will not be able to maintain the same lifestyle as before, it will be a problem,” she warns.

Upskilling and retraining

“Training, growth, and learning are a life-long experience,” assured Alexander Sumin.

The four panelists were unanimous that upskilling and retraining are crucial both when it comes to changing your job, or keeping your current one.

One needs to be flexible, in order to adapt to the market, Nakov maintained, while Dimitrov added that this is connected to learning every single day. 

It appears that passion can make learning easier. As Nakov shared, being passionate about what you do makes you curious to explore your career, and makes you desire to expand your knowledge.

Of course, a little push is always helpful, especially when it comes from your colleagues. When it comes to learning, the experts around you can make it much easier for you to learn new things by helping you with complicated cases, or simply supporting you, Byandova shares.