When it comes to changing careers, many working class people are at a crossroads. Indeed, the fear of the unknown has cost many an employee some juicy opportunities embedded in other endeavours.
It is understandable that switching careers, especially when one is older and already established, takes a lot of guts. Many people with steady jobs would rather stick to such callings and remain with their employers than leave for an uncertain future. The thought of changing jobs is strong enough to scare some persons to the bone marrow. Sadly, some employees end up sinking with the same cherished jobs.
At a recent interactive forum, a banker-turned-farmer, Mr. Olusegun Esho, explained how to successfully cross from one career to another.
The forum, tagged “Man-to-Man, Frank Talk,” is a weekly initiative of the 1982/87 Class of Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti, Alumni Association, parading participants from all parts of the world.
Esho left Fidelity Bank as human resources manager and head, learning and development. He was at various times group head of HR administration and performance management departments of the bank.
He quit banking and went into farming, which he described as his first love. He is currently CEO of 3T Esho Integrated Farms, Mokoloki, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
A graduate of Agriculture from the University of Ilorin, Esho holds a master’s degree in Agric-Economics from the University of Ibadan and a second master’s degree in Business Administration from Lagos State University.
Explaining that changing careers takes courage and determination, Esho noted that an individual must know why he was changing and what he was moving into.
He asserted that it was of utmost importance for one to weigh the prospects and constraints of the change, conduct feasibility studies, and ensure that there are enough facts backed with needs of the target audience. He said there must be needs or gaps the change must address, otherwise, the person might run into terrible challenges that might consume him. He warned against running with the crowd, saying many people ventured into businesses merely because their friends were thriving in the said trades, without considering geographical and environmental factors.
Encouraging Nigerians that many people have made such a switch in the past and become successful, he admitted though that the decision was no piece of cake.
Esho, ia Fellow of Institute of Strategic Human Capital, Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), Associate Member, Nigerian Institute of Management, and Member, Chartered Institute of Cost Management, stated that there were tips, requisite skills and techniques that one could explore that could make one’s career reinvention more fruitful.
In his lecture, tagged “How To Reinvent Yourself Mid-career,” the accomplished HR specialist harped on the importance of planning, which he said would go a long way in helping one thrive in a new career. He said there was the need to go back to the basics and write down as many facts as one could gather pertaining to the career.
Also of help was identifying the skills necessary to survive and succeed in the new terrain. To better do this, he recommended taking formal classes, including online classes. He added that getting a sideline job when there was free time to do so would cushion any pains during learning stage.
Said he: “Is money a big factor? If not, then there is more room for you to take greater risks. If otherwise, then maybe you will have to take things slowly, step by step.
“If you have a decade and more ahead of you, then you can be more flexible on your reinvention and can make bigger changes. If you only have a few more years before retirement, consider opting for a smaller reinvention.
“Set a deadline for each goal/task, and reward with little things whenever you cross a certain number off the list. Such habits boost motivation and determination to face the other tasks ahead.”
Esho advised people to learn from the stories of othes, noting that many people tend to underestimate the power of listening to the stories of others. He stressed that these people are not only a good source of motivation and inspiration, but they could also serve as a guides as one plans on a new career path.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions from those that have succeeded in the same field and draw from their wealth of experience,” he said.
He also identified networking as a vital tool, saying, to succeed in a certain field, especially one that is new, one has to find the right people.
“This is a necessity; you’ll need a lot of people working for and with you, and networks that can fill these positions or at the very least help you find qualified people who will. Networking is not as difficult as you might think; in fact, it is a practice you can do on a daily basis,” he said.
Esho, who is also a deacon with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, explained that, beyond certifications and past experience, persistence, enthusiasm and dedication are attributes that eventually pay off.
He encouraged anyone considering a career change to accept that there would be rejections and failures on the way. He advised that, instead of seeing them as mere setbacks, such ‘failures’ should be perceived as stepping stones towards the realisation of goals.
On how to increase one’s chances of succeeding, he said: “You have to stop doubting yourself and start believing in your capabilities. Stop thinking it’s impossible, everything is possible, if we keep on thinking it is. This is perhaps the most important step because you have to be confident and project this confidence so that others, family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, and other networks, will be even more willing to help you get to the top. Surround yourself with people who will support you and at the same time are willing to correct and guide you along the way.”
On the appropriate time to start thinking of a career change, Esho said the moment one notices that he is not fulfilled in his current endeavour is the right time to begin to make the move.
He said: “Irrespective of benefits and paraphernalia the current employment is giving, still make a move. If you are in a paid employment, from the day of resumption, begin to think of what you would like to do should your employer ask you to go or you are tired of working for someone else and assisting them to push their own vision. Have your own vision and vigorously pursue it. My honest advice is, the earlier, the better.”
When asked about the restrictions to a career change, he listed a few: “These include the fear of the unknown, the lion-in-the-street syndrome, inability to recognise opportunities and measure strength level, illusive comfort, lack of confidence and willpower, lack of creativity and not understanding the dynamics of money making.”
On why he decided to quit his well-paying bank job for an uncertain terrain in farming, Esho replied: “No matter how great the banking job was or is, remember it is not your company. You are an employee and might be asked to leave any time. Or a time would come when you are tired and want out for an easier life. More so, my first degree is agriculture and my first master’s was also in agri-economics. So, it was like going to my field to practise, and God has been wonderful.”