Changing Jobs Mid-Career or After a Few Years into the First Job

Lateral career moves are common in the corporate world and there are some specific strategies that one can follow when making a mid career move. First, one needs to remember that changing jobs a few years into the career is not like getting the first job and hence, the expectations as well as the ambitions about the move would be realistic. It would not be like one wants the moon from the job and is all excited about the life ahead, as is the case with the first job. Having said that, it must be noted that changing jobs mid career is as challenging as finding the first job. This is because compatibility with the role and the specific responsibilities in the job one is moving to is usually not a right fit except in rare cases. Hence, compromises have to be made as far as expectations about the new job are concerned. Second, many professionals change jobs midway to get a salary hike, for greater responsibilities, and for more challenging work. Any of these motives apart from the fact that one is stagnating in the present job can be reasons for mid career moves. This means that one must be prepared to patient and persistent until the time some sort of balance and fit between one’s expectations and the realities of the new job is achieved.

The third aspect about changing jobs midway is that there are always chances of landing that dream job that one missed when in campus or the first few years of one’s career. For instance, Investment Banks and Consultancies are examples of firms that are very choosy when they visit campuses but at the same time have roles and positions for those in niche areas and having some years of experience. This has been the trend in firms like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs that have hired people from different sectors and niches having a few years of experience. So, for all of you who would have missed your dream jobs, take heart and keep on trying until you make it. Fourth, one has to find one’s company where one is comfortable and this takes time and an understanding of how the corporate world works. This experiential aspect is actualized after a few years into the career and hence, the mid career move might be greatly beneficial if you play your cards well.

Fifth, the cliché about being a small fish in a big pond and a big fish in a small pond applies as one might want to work in a big ticket and reputed company or one might want to work with more responsibilities in a smaller company. Hence, the implication here is that the choices one makes often determine the career progression of individuals. Apart from this, the sixth aspect is literally the sixth sense working for one’s benefit. In many cases, if one perceives intuitively about whether it is time to quit the present job and look for alternatives, then one must trust one’s gut feelings and intuition and make the jump. Of course, this is not to say that one must not be rational in evaluating the prospects of a mid career move. Rather, the key theme in this article is that it takes time (a few years) to realize what one wants from the career and whether one is getting it and what does it take to realize one’s ambitions. As all these factors and motives depend on a mix of rational decision-making and gut feel based intuition, it is better not to discard either in the quest for the job that one wants.

Finally, mid career moves are becoming the norm in sectors other than IT and Services. These sectors typically had the highest attrition rates and hence, mid career moves have always been part of the game in these sectors. This trend is catching on in Banking, Consulting, and Senior Management positions across sectors.


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Career Development