Agnes Ng, Rookie Insurance Agency Leader of the Year at the 3rd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards, shared with us her thoughts on career switches. Whether you are thinking of making a career switch into the insurance industry, or you are trying to convince someone to make a mid-career switch, this article is a gem.
If you feel stuck in a rut.
If you feel that you are not living up to your true potential.
If you lament at having made wrong career moves.
If you are considering a switch in your career but you're paralysed by fear.
Then this message is for you: It's never too late.
I made my career switch relatively early. Three years after starting my career, first in one of the big 4 accounting firms, then in one of the world's largest investment banks, I left in search of something more fulfilling and one in which I'm in control of my own destiny.
Or maybe you are like one of the consultants in my team, who was a teacher for seven years before he made the career switch.
Each of us has our own story. While my sharing is based on my personal experience and how I've helped my team of consultants successfully made the career switch, I believe this will be useful to you, no matter what you choose to do or where you choose to go.
1) It's not ground zero
It may be an entirely new career and industry, but you are not starting from ground zero. It's a lot less scary when you can see that you are not starting from scratch.
Over the years, you would have picked up skills that are transferable wherever you go. The leadership ability you possess in mustering your colleagues to achieve a stretch goal, the analytical mind that you have in breaking down complex issues or the interpersonal skills that naturally draw people to you, these skills will continue to stand you in good stead.
And if you have been kind to people and helped people along the way, your professional network will continue to root for you and help you in return.
Celebrating birthdays with my client/friend
As an ex-accountant joining the insurance industry, my accounting skills and being meticulous and comfortable with numbers have helped me tremendously in planning for my clients comprehensively.
So if you are thinking, "I will lose everything that I've built up professionally if I leave", you will realise it is not so.
2) Money is not everything
Don't get me wrong. Money is of course important. If one can't even put food on the table or provide for loved ones, any talk of aspirations would seem idealistic.
But I'm referring to many who are "comfortable" - however you define it. There comes a point in time where having more just doesn't impact or excite you financially and emotionally anymore.
When having more is simply not worth it anymore for the stress you face at work, or the unfulfilling day in office, or all the special moments with your family that you missed because you were caught up with work.
Is this you in office?
If you cut down your miscellaneous expenses, accumulate enough savings as a buffer that will give you the confidence you need to take the plunge.
And in some careers, like the one that I'm lucky to be in, the initial sacrifice is worth the resulting rewards - both financially and emotionally.
Having fun while giving back to society - Planning for our organisation's charity event
3) You are not the first
Maybe you are a teacher and considering to be a chef.
Maybe you are an executive and toying with the idea of being an entrepreneur.
Maybe you are a civil servant and looking to become a financial consultant.
Whatever path you are considering, someone must have walked the same path.
Reach out for a chat. The fears you are feeling now, he must have felt the same way. Find out if he would do anything differently. Ask if anything about the new career option caught him by surprise, what's good and what's bad.
That's what I did. When I was considering a career in the insurance industry, I spoke with a friend of mine who was also an accountant and had made the switch.
The insights I got from someone who was in my shoes, helped me to make a more informed decision and prepared me mentally on what was to come. And I realised it really wasn't as scary as I thought.
One of my proudest moments - to be elected as the spokesperson for our company’s marketing campaign, based on the highest rank of a consultant - Master financial consultant
Whether you are satisfied where you are or considering your next move, I wish you happiness.
I hope you've found the above sharing useful. And if you are indeed wondering if you’ve missed the boat in life, remember, it's never too late.
This article first appeared on Agnes Ng's LinkedIn here.
More related articles:
Career and family. What's your choice? - Agnes Ng, Rookie Insurance Agency Leader of the Year
Rookie Insurance Agency Leader of the Year 2018: Agnes Ng
This is the time winners emerge
The 3rd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards was made possible by organisers Asia Insurance Review and Asia Advisers Network, co-organiser LIMRA, and strategic partner AIA. Winners were selected in an independently-audited judging process. Look out for the launch of the 4th edition in January. More information on the Awards can be found here.