updated 21 Apr 2011, 11:00
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Mon, Apr 18, 2011
The Star/ANN
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Not too late to start anew

Dear Thelma

I AM in my mid-thirties and have not been happy with my job for a long time. After graduating, I worked for a couple of months before starting my own business.

In the early years, I was happy doing what I did. I wasn't passionate about it but the money was good.

Although I had a handsome income, I wasn't wise financially. I got into the habit of gambling and that chipped away what I had. After almost a decade of working hard, my savings are stagnant.

Basically I am a good person; I don't smoke, I'm polite, I contribute financially to my family. The only black spot was my gambling.

I finally decided enough was enough - I didn't want to throw my hard-earned money away anymore. Sometimes when I look back and think of the huge sums I have lost, regret overwhelms me. I feel stupid and chide myself when I see my friends buying property or going overseas for vacations. I'm struggling with my job and haven't gone on a vacation for years!

Another problem is that my business has not been doing well in the last two to three years. I've lost interest in it and even started hating my job. This career is wrong for me - it isn't something I want to do. I once liked it and thought I could learn to like the job but, alas, I never did all these years. I can't see myself running my business till retirement!

Surely everyone has something he likes to do. I can't seem to figure out mine ... I'm actually lost.

I wonder if a change of career and direction is still possible for someone my age, who does not have much work experience. People often tell me it is impossible, but I only live once. I cannot do what I don't love and regret later.

I always envy people who love their jobs and proudly tell others that they do. As much as I want a change, I'm afraid to step into unknown territory and start anew.

Average Joe

YOU can make any change in your life because you are in control. It is pointless forcing yourself to do something you hate because your business will surely suffer.

However, think carefully and do not act on impulse. You are at a crossroads because you feel disappointed in yourself and your achievements to date. You have lost a lot of money due to your gambling and you hate yourself for being foolish.

Your peers appear to be doing well but you seem to be caught in a limbo. You have lost the passion for your business and you think a change will help you feel rejuvenated and recharged.

Yes, it is worthless wallowing in regret and remorse over your past. Instead, consider what you can do in the future.

Having been an employer for almost all your working life, what job opportunities are there for someone like you? Check out headhunters or scan recruitment advertisements for something to mull over. Go for some job interviews to get a better idea of how you will fare in the job market.

In the meantime, reassess your own business. If you are still making money, how can you make it more interesting and diversely profitable? When we are emotionally and mentally tired, we always look for options and change. We want to do something different and forget that we can always do more with what we have.

Do not be hasty as you do not want to do something you will regret again. You have learnt some sharp lessons, so put them to good use. Do not repeat past mistakes; think ahead and plan for the future. Talk to people who are investment-wise and savvy.

Life is a continuous learning process. You are only in your thirties and you have time and opportunities to start again. Why be so negative?

readers' comments
Mid 30s? Still got chance. I have been receiving resumes from applicants ranging from 40s to 50s. Most important, ask yourself are you willing to start all over again, and giving yourself a chance to prove that you can.
Posted by mystrawberry on Mon, 18 Apr 2011 at 15:40 PM

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