Working Class is a series by CLEO where we ask experts and real women for job, career and salary tips. Have relevant advice to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A career switch can be scary, but people take the plunge all the time anyway in the hopes of making more money or pursuing better career prospects. Or both.
“There were a few factors that influenced my change in career but I will start with the most practical one—I came from a lower-income family and witnessed first-hand the kind of hardship the lack of money and living space can cause. This made me determined to become financially independent and buy my own place by the age of 30,” says Naomi Chua, Executive Senior Manager at Great Eastern Financial Advisers. Prior to becoming a financial planner, she was an SIA stewardess for three years.
She adds that she also made a career switch because she saw that the “financial industry offers a lot of potential for growth and progression” and that her role is “never boring”.
But that’s not to say she didn’t have her fair share of struggles in the beginning, particularly when things got difficult. It’s just that she chose to bite the bullet.
“Instead of being discouraged, I chose to work even harder to prove myself. To me, long-term gains were more important than any short-term loss, and I eventually became very comfortable with the concept of delayed gratification.”
Naomi now manages a team of associates and curates training programmes for her agency so, suffice it to say, has found great success in a career switch. She shares five tips on how you can find yours.
1. Maintain a good attitude
“Start your new career on a positive note. It is OK that you didn’t find a career in your previous job and, instead of being bitter, you should learn from your experiences and bring it to your new role. Also, take feedback positively. When entering a new industry, there will be many new opportunities and inevitably there will be times when we fall short. Be mature about it when people highlight to you your areas of weakness and thank them when they do. They cared enough to help you.”
2. Adopt a growth mindset
“Don’t resist change, embrace it. Trust that you will grow and get better as long as you put in your best effort! Find a trusted mentor and schedule constant evaluations so that you can catch your blind spots and improve. It is said that we become the average of the five closest people we choose to hang out with. Think about who you want to be in the next 5-10 years. What values do you want to have? What changes do you need to make? Curating group of five friends will increase the chances of you achieving it your goals.”
3. Give yourself a timeline and give it all you got
“I gave myself two years to try financial planning as a career and I promised my boss I would do whatever he asked me to. I did just that and within the first year, I knew that I would be in it for the long haul. Don’t give up when you haven’t even tried hard enough. It is only when you’ve given it your best shot and it still doesn’t work out that it’s time to move on.”
4. Remember the “why”
“Remember why you choose this career, whether it is the passion to help others, the desire to succeed and provide for your loved others or to have greater autonomy over your time and career progression. Holding on to the reasons will provide you with an anchor when the going gets tough.
And the thing is, a person’s ‘why’ can evolve over time. My initial motivation was to earn a good income and make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. but as I matured as a planner, seeing my clients grow with me financially and in other aspects of life made me want to be a better version of myself for them. Fast forward nine years and I now also want to be a good example to my team of associates and help them to succeed.”
5. Know that hard work trumps talent
“Whatever pointers I have said above will not work if you are not willing to put in the hard work to see them through. Many times, we do not have control over the environment but we have full control over our thoughts, speech, and actions. You will probably encounter some bumps along the way but if you hold tight onto why you started on this journey in the first place and are willing to put in the hard work, I believe that success will not be far off for you.”