My friend wrote an article after several interviews with me and another friend.. I’m just posting my part of the article.
Making a Significant Career Change is Possible
Many go through life feeling stuck in a dissatisfying job or without a creative release, yet few actually take action towards a change. Now could be the time to take up the challenge and drown out thoughts of “It’s too big a step”, “I have spent too long establishing myself in this field”, or “Who will support my decision”. These interviewees may love their careers now, but that wasn’t always the case.
Sales Manager in Printing to Business Manager in Education
Blueberry (I swapped my name here), 38, worked in the printing business for twenty three years as it was family tradition.
“At one stage, there were twelve members of our family in the trade. I performed the odd-jobs during vacation since I was 15”, he says.
Blueberry gained his first full time position in the industry in 1997 and steadily climbed the corporate ladder thereafter. Over the years, he advanced from client servicing to project management and business development. As a sales manager by 2000, overseeing portfolios in Australia and Singapore, he experienced the complexities and stress involved. His phone was never switched off.
Assessing the Time for a Career Change
“I felt dead in my job and hated it.”, Blueberry says. “I told myself to stop and evaluate where I was heading. I began thinking back to my university days where I formed a passion for the education sector.”
Blueberry was an international student in Australia then. He received assistance from International Students Services in his first semester, and subsequently volunteered with them as a student mentor and accommodations assistant. After graduating, Blueberry formed connections within the education sector at networking events held through the university alumni program.
In late 2007, he decided to take the plunge and research job opportunities. However, leaving the printing industry meant stepping out of his comfort zone, facing family criticism and giving up a large pay check.
“My partner, now wife, was supportive of my decision. That was enough for me”, Blueberry says.
“I started contacting people I met through the university alumni and finally made a humble start at a college in Malaysia. There I helped obtain accommodation for 120 Botswanan students, but noted the lack of professionally managed student accommodation. That made me more determined to start one on my own”, he says.
Today, Blueberry is a Business Development Manager for a Private Education Institute (PEI) in Singapore that runs science and healthcare courses for affiliated international universities.
In his two months with the PEI, he has implemented a new online marketing initiative, worked with government agencies for workforce development funding, and initiated new programs that provide employment and free skills training to individuals above the age of 40. He is currently securing a larger premise for the PEI to convert into office space, classrooms and accommodation for international students.
“My work keeps me busy but I feel engaged and fulfilled”, he says.
Edit (25 Nov 2015): Wow! I re-read this article and realised how far I’ve come since 2010. From a small PEI of only 6 people, I moved on to the National University of Singapore and then to Nanyang Business School (NTU) and finally to the CEO of an Education Management Consultancy. Such exciting days we live in..