Friends, a few days back at a seminar in Pune, a participant asked me what he should do to change his career. On asking him why he wanted to change, he said that he wished to do something bigger and better. I asked him if he possessed any other skills, but his answer was in the negative. However, he said he could sing well and also played good football, but he did not want to become a singer or a footballer.
On enquiring about his present career, he said he was an I.T. professional for past two years, which he had joined because I.T. was the trend these days. In these two years, however, he had not scaled any heights, and he was not very interested in this field, either.
When I asked him the reason behind changing his profession, he said that he has read in books that you must pursue a career which you like, otherwise you must leave it. He said that most motivational speakers are also of the same view.
I suggested that he should stop reading such books and listening to such motivational speakers. I explained to him that changing a career cannot be a sudden emotional decision. It needs to have a proper strategic planning. You cannot just wake up one morning and say that you want to change your career, and your career changes. Only one out of lakhs of people will be lucky enough to be successful, after a change in their career. Maximum people will continue to struggle throughout their lives, after the change. The few people who have been successful after changing their career, have crossed a period of struggle, obstacles and difficulties, before completing their journey. When you are on one side, the grass on the other side appears greener, but it is not always true.
Friends, there is nothing bad in changing your career. If you are not satisfied with your present occupation, and you see competency and skill in yourself, which you can adopt as a career, and also if there are ample opportunities; in that case only you can take a decision to change your career.
I have spent a part of my life as a very successful dental surgeon. I enjoyed both name and fame. I was counted among one of the best dental surgeons in my area. I had a set-up with all facilities, and several assistant doctors. People wonder how I could walk out of my profession, overnight. They ask me if I was not scared to take such a drastic step. I tell them that this was not a sudden decision.
As for me, I am strongly against motivational speakers who emphasize that one day they decided, and the next day they switched their career. This is only half of the story. In fact, they must share their complete experience, the planning, the strategy involved, and what opportunities were available. Otherwise, it does not make sense that a person leaves a full-fledged career, only on the basis of inspiration. What will happen if he is not successful in his new career? He and his family will be finished. The responsibility of this disaster will be on the motivational speaker and the motivational book that inspires in a few lines without clearing the base behind the whole process involved.
When I contemplated to change my career, I first asked myself, ”what is my key skill?” I realized that public speaking and writing were my forte. Even as a dental surgeon, when I delivered lectures on dentistry, I could make them interesting. My other key skill was counseling. I could give a patient hearing to people’s problems and solve them. I could give them solace and comfort.
I explored why I was dissatisfied with my present career as a dental surgeon. My inner voice replied that it is a monotonous job from morning till night, with no scope for creativity. On further exploring my skills, I realized I could make a career in reading or writing.
If somebody tells you, that one fine day Dr. Ujjwal Patni thought of changing his profession and the next day implemented his thoughts, then he is fibbing. Shifting my career was a long and systematic process. Firstly I prepared a team of assistant doctors who could take care of my patients during my absence. While I aligned my team, I started accepting invitations to deliver talks. At the same time, I continued to visit my clinic. I began to accept invitations from other cities, but on return I continued to treat my patients. Gradually, invitations to deliver talks began to increase.
At this juncture, I started to evaluate my daily clinic value as against my invitation value. I had to increase this gap; the value of my invitations had to be much higher than that of my clinic. My next step was to slowly retrieve my name from the clinic, maintain a low profile and give away my supremacy to other doctors. In the meantime, I also started writing a book.
When you think of switching your career, the word ‘finance’ plays a very significant role. On an average, I receive about 400-500 mails daily, as well as comments on Facebook and Utube. People tell me that they are not satisfied with their present career, and that they are also short of money to change their profession. My only suggestion to such people, who are financially weak, is to first focus and be successful in their present career. Meanwhile, they should also do vigorous R and D on new opportunities.
When you change a career because you are unsuccessful in it, then there are chances that you will not succeed in your new career as well. Figures from various researches and world history also point to the fact, that all those people who are successful in their new career, were generally successful in their previous career as well. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.
I asked myself, “If I do not concentrate on my clinic for a year or two, and instead focus on writing and public speaking, then will I be able to run my home”. I thought, “am I so strong financially, that I will be able to sustain the expenses of my household?” I got the answer. I began to organize my finances and various assets. Within two years I had created a good bank balance. It was time for making a temporary shift in my career.
I did not close down my clinic. In case I failed in my new career, I would have to fall back on my previous profession and gradually strengthen it and build it in parallel to writing and public speaking. Even today, my clinic exists. It is in the hands of assistant doctors, and now I do not visit my clinic for years. Changing your career is a big decision and it cannot be taken overnight.
So, my answer to all the lakhs and crores of Indians who are planning to change their career is that, first they should assess what are their qualities, their skills and their competence in the field. They should also study the opportunities available, and whether they have adequate infrastructure. They should also have a proper back-up to fall back upon, in case they are not successful in their new venture. Think of changing your career only after you have done a detailed and planned study. Then there will be no difficulty in reaching to great heights, in your new career. But our flight towards our goal is smoother, when there is no pressure behind. The more we are planned, the lesser will be the pressure and stress, and the more we will rise high.
So friends, do change your career, not because of motivation from a speaker or a book, but after thoughtful and strategic planning.