Career Change or Retirement at 40 years?
Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” What a quote. And it’s not only a great quote, it’s also my life … After finishing my undergraduate in Computer Science, I started working in a consulting profile. Nothing too fabulous or fancy, but it was enough to satisfy my hunger for learning and keep me busy.
Life happened, and post getting married, I continued to work. Later, my husband received an internal transfer from within his company to move to the United States. We were apprehensive about moving to a new country, but took this in a positive stride and moved to an entire new continent. I tried very hard to get back into the IT world, but things didn’t work out. At that time, I had a neighbor who was a Math Teacher in a nearby district, and she asked me to look at teaching as a profession. Since I was eager to get back to work, I thought of giving this a try. I decided to go with Science since I’d always had a knack for it. I also chose the subject because it can be fun and help us understand and appreciate the world around us, and can additionally be hands-on and interactive, with experiments and demonstrations that can be both educational and thrilling. It took me around three months to prepare for the Composite Science Certification. After passing this certification, one is allowed to teach any Science Subject from Grade 7 to Grade 12 including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science, Aquatic Science, Astronomy, IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry), and so on. Since I was eager to begin this new chapter in my life, I started teaching immediately. Below is a picture of me that a student drew while we were doing White Board Practice.
I have had the opportunity to teach various subjects, ranging from Chemistry, Environmental Science, and even IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry). Teaching was a new experience for me, as it was emotionally rewarding and I was able to interact with many wonderful students. Years flew by, and I continued to teach. A few years into this profession, I felt an empty void inside of me, and this is when I knew that I had to get back into the IT world. I still remember the day when I went on to my school portal and put in my papers for resignation. I knew it was a risk, nonetheless taking risks can lead to new opportunities and experiences, personal growth, and the possibility of great rewards. A few days later, I was on a phone call with my friend. At this point, I had absolutely no idea what to do. After explaining all my problems to him, he suggested, “Hey, you have a technical background. Why not go into cloud engineering?” When I took his suggestion seriously and started learning and exploring the Cloud world, I found that it felt natural to me. That’s when everything clicked inside my head, and I knew I had to do this.
The road to learning cloud engineering was challenging, but I persisted through it. “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” This quote by Newt Gingric became my soul drive and motivation to continue this amazing journey back into the IT world. I learned many amazing new technologies about the cloud, and in the next few months, I was a Certified Solution Architect. I was determined to learn something new and then the best thing happened. A friend of mine introduced me to Numpy Ninja, a community that empowers women to get back into the workforce, and there has been no looking back. The community there is so supportive and energetic, and it’s all about “US” rather than “ME”. I plan to contribute to the Hackathons and get some experience under my belt. This will not only allow me to grow but also instill new confidence.
If you are contemplating a career change, now is the time. Life is too short to be unsure. I went from IT to non-IT and back into IT. Make a plan, a roadmap, anything, and stick to it. Don’t let the gender bias or age bias come your way, and continue to work hard till you make it. However, women who have taken a break from their careers, often to care for children or elderly family members, may face challenges due to these biases and stereotypes that persist in the workplace. Returning to work after a gap can be a challenging process, but with persistence, patience, and the right mindset, it is possible to find a fulfilling career that aligns with your goals and values. The first and foremost advice would be to refresh your skills, and that’s what we all do here at Numpy Ninja!
Be committed and make small but steady progress each day. Follow me to know more about my journey as I transition from an Educator to a SDET/DevOps Engineer! And remember, there are many moments in life when we feel like falling to our knees and never standing up again, but to still find the strength and power to persist through this amazing journey called life is what perseverance is all about. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”-Nelson Mandela.