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4 minute read

Why it’s Easy to Forget Your Mental Health During a Mid-Career Switch

A career change can take a mental toll especially when you don’t recognise the factors that contribute to it. These are good places to start.

After contemplating for a while, you may decide that perhaps it’s better to head towards a fresh path. All the tell-tale signs are enough to push you to make a career switch.

However, the act itself can be daunting. After all, embarking on a new terrain means putting yourself in unfamiliar environments. From fresh skills to learn, to new people to meet and be trained under, you’re basically starting from scratch.

The process can put some stress on your mental health, and that’s understandable. It is thus worthwhile to pay attention to the factors that easily contribute to this. This is so that you can find a solution, whether that’s to comfort yourself or make a practical move to reduce the stress.

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1. There is a constant worry about not getting a job

It goes without saying that for anyone considering a mid-career switch in Singapore or anywhere else in the world, getting a job in a new field is the biggest worry. Since you have minimal experience, even with the basic qualifications, it can be quite a feat to join many freshers in the job market again.

The apprehension of not getting a job and the constant struggle day in and out may put pressure on your mental health.

What you can do

For a start, it’s good to accept that there will be challenges when searching for a role. Well, who doesn’t?

From crafting a relevant resume to nailing an interview for mid-career change, it’s common to face some hurdles along the way. But, you don’t have to experience this alone.

As Australian-based HR consultant, Cameron Norton, shares, “The best athletes in the world engage coaches and a support team to help them achieve success. It’s no different with your career.”

Get in touch with career coaches to help you streamline your job search process. You will be able to narrow down suitable roles, the certifications you need to take and even the part-time jobs you can consider to gain some experience.

At the same time, leverage these tips to find a new role when switching your career.

2. You are anxious about stability

A mid-career change often entails a dip in salary. It is common knowledge that expecting pay you drew from your previous role is an ambitious ask since you don’t have the requisite experience. You may then begin to rethink your plans.

As Lim Chai Leng, Senior Director at Randstad Singapore, notes, “A career switcher often needs to start from the bottom, taking large pay cuts. If they are switching from a supervisory and high-earning role, it may be a bit of a shock for them.”

Needless to say, the anxiety here stems from the lack of stability. Having a family to support is one of the many important reasons to seek a good income stream. When that stream is stalled, panic and anxiety will follow.

What you can do

Taking a page out of Norton’s book again, setting up a transition fund before you leave your current role will help you tide through this journey. Like a savings account, you can set aside as much money you can per day or month, and let the money accumulate.

“The purpose of this fund is to give you choices when it comes time to make a move,” Norton adds.

This will give you some space to think through your choices as you navigate the change, instead of diving straight into a role just for the income.

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3. There is fear about catching up

You got the job, and you’ve also sorted yourself financially for the transitory period. It does feel good for sure. Yet, after a while, however, you may begin to feel fearful about the whole move.

You ask yourself, “Can I keep up?”

This is normal and part of the growth process. However, letting it get to you can be crippling. You won’t be able to focus on the learning and may also end up second-guessing yourself. The impact of the latter is more telling — over time, you may lack the confidence to even pursue the career.

What you can do

Firstly, understand this fear. It is justifiable to experience this emotion — anyone would when they step into the unknown. Instead of letting this fear take control of you, use it as a motivator. It will give you a purpose — to work consistently with determination, be assertive and willing to take risks, and carve a growth path for yourself.

Of course, having some concrete goals to achieve along the way makes this significantly easier. These goal-setting tips will help you make a successful mid-career switch in any industry you head to.

Keep the conversation about mental health ongoing

Discussions around mental health at the workplace in Singapore today are seeing a rise. For mid-career switchers like yourself, you may also seek help from your supervisors or human resources team if you need more assistance in navigating a mid-career switch.

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