How to Reskill Yourself and Quit Your IT Job
'It has been over 2.5 years that I have been a full-time Digital Marketer. Though it still feels a bit scary to look back at decision to quit my IT job, in terms of work, I have never been happier.'
Re-skilling has been the catchphrase over the past few months. And if you are a twenty-something working in an IT company in India, that very word is tormenting you.
People predict that by the end of this year a lot of people will be getting laid off. But this is true not just in IT, any job can drop you without notice. So don’t be hard on yourself. It is how the world works and it is not anyone’s fault.
A few years ago, I was working for an IT company. From the very beginning, I knew that it wasn’t my thing and I had to switch to a domain that I was comfortable with. I used to have a lot of frustrating days. But when my frustration got to a point where my manager’s enthusiasm started becoming irritating, I gave myself 3–4 months to quit IT.
Now wait, don’t worry. This isn’t the story of that dedicated guy who transformed himself in a day and ended up with a job in Google. No, I am not that guy. I am not Rohit Sharma(read ‘talented’) in any particular skill to fetch myself a job. I am also an expert procrastinator with very little motivation. So I am sure at least a few of you would be able to connect with me.
Looking back at the period when I made the switch from IT, I just did three simple things right. First, I dreamt about having a job I loved(at that point, I had no idea what that job would be). Second, I engaged with loads of awesome people and I worked under them for free! Third, I spent time on the web researching about how I could convert something I love into a job opportunity.
Again, this isn’t a peculiar case, before writing this article, I spoke to a few people who successfully changed their career streams. Almost all of the people I spoke to pretty followed similar patterns.
Write down the details of your dream job
Writing down your thoughts is a definite game changer. Though I never wrote it down, in hindsight, I should have. When you write down your thoughts instead of just thinking about it, you dig deeper and introspect about a lot of things — the environment you perform best in, the nature of the job and the things which you wouldn’t mind doing on a day to day basis.
Writing down helps clear the clutter and helps you zero in on the details that matter. For me, my work had to directly impact the company or the clients my company was working with. My work had to involve writing, creative thinking, interacting with people and making a lot of them happy at the same time.
Talk to people and barter your time for their knowledge
I engaged with people that had absolutely nothing to do with my previous line of work. Speaking with people from different walks of lives gave me a lot of fresh ideas. I would pretty much use to socialize with anyone and everyone. During one of my socializing nights, I became friends with a complete stranger, Rohan. We instantly connected and exchanged numbers. Rohan as it turns out worked for a super cool startup in Pune.
The only other thing that I remember from that day is that I bitched about hating my current job a lot and described the sort of a job would make me happy. I am sure that without thinking about it myself, I never could have articulated it to Rohan(that’s why to write it down is important).
A month later, he called me up and invited me over to his office. I politely said that I would and didn’t(those were the days when startups weren’t cool yet). A week later, he called me up again and asked me if I could write a funny invitation card for one of his friends.
That evening after the assignment, he went on to explain about something called — Digital marketing and how I would enjoy being an online marketer based on the interests I had. The more he explained about it, the more things started to fall in place.
Do the research
Still very early days, I didn’t know much about anything in detail. But I did know that something of this sort existed. With the new found confidence, I read through a bunch of articles on the internet to see how much an online marketer got paid. I remember reading about it for a day. Once I knew that if I get good at it, I would be paid enough, I started diving in deeper and deeper.
But since Digital Marketing in itself was a vast subject, I decided to choose a niche — content & social. Choosing a niche is very important to land yourself a job. When you are great at a few things, the employer knows that given an opportunity, you will be able to learn the other aspects of your job role. But if you looking to work for a startup, it would make much more sense to be good at a lot of things rather than being great at few.
Build momentum before you quit
Again I fell back on the people I knew to help me get my first gig. I wanted to the try out a few gigs before I actually did quit my IT job. According to me, momentum was everything and it also gave me the confidence that if I could do it once, I would be able to do it again.
Now when you are putting in the efforts, people popped out of nowhere to help you out. I landed a few freelance assignments from a friend of mine and boom and I was up and running.
It has been over 2.5 years that I have been a full-time Digital Marketer. Though it still feels a bit scary to look back at decision to quit my IT job, in terms of work, I have never been happier.
So, I am not here to paint a success story because I think my journey has just now started. All I am here to tell you that you can take the leap as well and that it’s never too late to start.
Once you evaluate your situation and do the research to find a career journey that suits you, there are a number of free and paid online resources to help you get you on track.
If you are afraid to take the leap, remember the below line from the movie ‘We bought a zoo’
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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