Source | LinkedIn : By Ravi C Dasgupta
Another sporting icon , German football captain Bastian Schweinsteiger had a teary farewell in a friendly game with Finland. At the age of 32, with 24 goals in 121 appearances for Germany over a 12 year international career; the midfielder had certainly made his mark on the football pitch.
Sporting careers are notoriously short, but these days corporate careers are getting shorter too . By the age of 50 ( a generalisation ), ennui begins to set in for many professionals, and the corporate role that you were so proud of a few years ago, loses its charm. Having done 25-30 years of the same thing, you find yourself in a dilemma : whether to go on doing the same thing until you reach the age of retirement ( 58-60 in India ) , or whether to call it quits and follow your passions ?
A variety of factors can decide the outcome : how financially stable you are, do you have dependents relying on your continued income , have your kids got through college as yet are all the obvious factors. Beyond them are other fears that most of your acquaintances will not even know about : are you comfortable just being yourself, without a flashy visiting card to hand out ? Do you need to have a group of fawning acolytes at your beck and call to make you feel important. Do you have an answer for the nosy question when meeting someone for the first time “What do you do ?”. But the most important factor by far is do you have an alternative planned out.
These days, more and more corporate professionals reach a point in their career when they realise that upward movement is highly unlikely and continuing in the current role ( or a similar one in another organisation ) is no longer something they want to do.
Having an alternative planned out does not happen by accident. It calls for foresight and planning. It also calls for you to be in touch with your passions and your innate strengths, for out of these is most likely to emerge the plan B. Many professionals unfortunately put all their time and energy into their plan A, working long hours at the office, and carrying work home on the weekends and so have no alternative planned out when the charm of the initial career peters out. The long working hours, and the ever increasing commute leaves you jaded and mentally fatigued. The more unlucky ones find themselves shown the door when their salary has reached such stratospheric heights that they are no longer attractive in the job market. Most employers would prefer to take their chances with someone younger, more motivated to succeed, and costing much less , even if the younger person has not yet had an opportunity to perform at the highest level.
Should you find yourself in such a situation, the best thing to do is to take time out to sit back and think about what else you are capable of doing. Is there something you have always wanted to do, but never got down to doing ? It might take a year to think things through and finalise on that elusive plan B.
But it is often time well spent. 2 years into my “second innings” if I may call it that, I find myself brimming with confidence and eager to take on new challenges. The spark that had faded away after 14 years as a HR Head is back and I no longer dread Monday mornings.