“I am a Software Engineer. My job is not interesting. So I am thinking to quit my job to learn music. Please guide me”, one of my readers wrote to me.
Jumping from one field into another is a big decision.
You cannot take such decisions simply based on your emotions or desires. Changing into another field is not as simple as taking another job. It involves a radical change happening in your personality, identity and your life.
If you are also in such a dilemma, consider the following points before taking the leap. You will know why it is crucial to take a smooth transition instead of taking a sudden jump.
1. Downgrade from expert to student
As a software engineer, you are already an expert in a field. When you leave it to pursue another career, you are downgrading yourself – From being an expert to a student.
This affects your psychology in many ways. For some, money may not be a major factor. But, when entering into another field, where you are a beginner. You will have to work hard towards keeping your confidence level high.
Remember, you will not recognize the psychological downgrade happening within you immediately. But, handling that while focusing on learning is strenuous. So, it is better to transition from your day job to your interest in a smooth way.
2. Can you give 8 hours to music a day?
Secondly, as an engineer, you are working for about 8 hours a day. When you quit the job, you cannot put all those 8 hours in learning music. Because it is relatively a new field, you cannot focus for long. Even if you practice music for 4 hours, the other 4 hours will be spent on less productive works. This drains your focus and eagerness.
It takes time to tune yourself up to this new journey. Your body, mind, and your routines need to be tuned.
What to do instead:
Apart from the 8 hours you give to your job, you have another 16 hours. Isn’t it?
So, instead of sacrificing your 8-hour job, try doing this – Sacrifice an hour or two of your sleep, an hour of TV and an hour of social media. Now, you have 4 hours a day to practice your music.
Then slowly increase the time.
3. Dealing with the changed self-image
There is another thing you should keep in mind. That is your idea of yourself – your self-identity. Now you identify yourself as an engineer. As a software engineer, you have a self-image – the way you present yourself, communicate with others and also the people you meet and admire.
When you change your field of interest, you might undergo a radical shift in your self-image. Now you will stop reading the tech news, meeting or following those tech personalities. You will begin to read about musicians, meeting people with similar interests.
So far you were identifying yourself as a software engineer. And changing that identity does not happen immediately. It takes time to engrave the new identity in your mind.
That is why you need to transition smoothly.
4. Are you serious?
People are crazy. One day they dream of becoming movie actors. The next day, they dream about going back to the village and becoming agriculturists.
The problem with people is not the lack of energy. It is the lack of focus. It takes at least 6 months to know if you are serious.
So, when you go for a smooth transition, within 6 months, you will know how serious you are. If you are doing it because ‘others are learning music’, you will see soon your interest evaporating day by day.
5. Creativity and hard work
As a software engineer, mostly you are doing the same thing every day. But with music, after a level, you will start experiencing creative juices flowing from within. And the joy pushes you to go deeper/higher. It is a hard journey. Are you ready for it?
So, what is a smooth transition?
Think of an hourglass. The sand starts slowly moving from the top part into the bottom one. This is how you should change your career.
Now, you are interested in learning music. Instead of leaving your job, make the best use of your free time to learn music. Also, develop your interest, reverence towards the art. Can you devote yourself to this completely? Like there is nothing else in your life? Even devotion takes practice. So, practice it.
Start practising music. Read about music and musicians. And do Satsanga.
No, I am not talking about Bhajans.
Satsanga is when you spend time with people who energize you towards your goal or greater ideal.
Talking and reading about tech titans is Satsanaga for a software engineer. But, to become a musician, you should start having Satsanga with great musicians.
Also, build a long-term plan for your new field of interest.
While doing all this, observe how you undergo a change in your personality. This helps you understand yourself better.