Career change at 36 scary, stressful but exciting

Career change at 36 is it possible, Career change at 36 how does it feel, Career change at 36 sounds scary and crazy, Career change at 36 worth it?

If you are over 30 years old and had been working in the industry that you master for many years, most probably you are not considering a career change at this age.

Many that in this age think that changing career at this stage is not practical or too late. Base on my personal experience, this is somehow true.

I was confused about what job to do after giving up the job that I work with for many years and has been my comfort zone.

Let me share with you my work background quickly, so you can understand me better in case you are new to this website. So let us begin!

My name is Katherine, a Pinay ex-pat of more than 13 years in the United Arab Emirates. That count was until 2020. Due to the COVID Pandemic, I have given up my ex-pat life for various reasons.

Anyway, let us back to my work history. All my jobs revolve around a similar industry either in Tourism, Hotel or Events company.

My degree will tell why my work focuses on this industry. Simply because I finished a course in Tourism studies. After my graduation, I am fortunate to always get a job that in line with my studies.

Why I took up the Tourism course?

The main reason was that I was bad at math. I knew this course wouldn’t have those hard math subjects, I was hiding from the math curriculum as much as I could.

My Work History

I started my career as a front desk receptionist from a provincial resort, then jump to a reservation and sales executive at a well-known travel agency in the Philippines.

After that, I decided to try being an entrepreneur and start my small travel agency business at 22. But due to lack of experience, no business mentor, I realize later on that venturing to business was too early for me.

A simple tax issue shakes me. That makes me feel unmotivated and decided to stop pursuing my dream to be an entrepreneur.

After a year of operation with the full support of my parents, I shut down my small business. I felt like a failure and loser, after that, I grab the opportunity that I found with the help of my friend in UAE.

At 23 I flew to Dubai bravely and determined to start again my career journey, but this time to be a regular employee.

I worked in two 4 star hotels in the reservation department for about 4 years.

Then move to travel agency under the sales division. I was thinking that all the new learnings I can get from here would be beneficial if in case I decide to open up again my travel agency.

But I was wrong because the agency I was working with deals with a very different market. And that style is not applicable in the Philippines.

I haven’t learned much from here like I was expecting. For years I was only working because I need to secure my working visa, the employees there was working like a machine.

Our day was like a routine, only answering inquiries using their mandated format.

Not allowed to explore and work freely. We are literally under surveillance in all our movements. Sometimes the owner is listening on the other line the way you speak with a client. And the worst was, they can freely access our laptop any moment they want to (like a team viewer).

Working in that kind of environment was toxic and unbearable. After my two years contract, I quit, then join a sales & marketing division at a hotel apartment.

I love the nature of the job so much. This is very different from the recent one, I got to meet different people at all levels of life and always learn practical things from them that very useful in life and career.

My focus market then was in the corporate sector. I was handling in searching new companies and convince them to stay in our hotel apartment.

We have a quota for daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly stay,

The career was so promising. After a year of working with them, I tried to apply for a higher position in other 5 star hotels.

Because of my Fear

I was not expecting that I will get the job as sales manager. Though I was so excited so much at that time, I let my fear stop me from joining the company.

I was scared that maybe I couldn’t meet their expectation. The hotel general manager was very confident with me during my interview. He was very sure that I can help their hotel to be in the right position to have many corporate clients since I am handling corporate accounts with the hotel apartment.

Deep inside, I am doubting myself. And again I was scared with the big responsibility that they are trusting on me. I am crazy, right? I am the one who applied and did the best I can to impress the panel. After hiring me I let my fear to lose the chance.

The salary then was almost double the amount I was getting from the hotel apartment. But due to negative thoughts, I let it go. And decided to join an events management company where my friend was working.

The company that molds me

There, I was assigned in the events division to work as an events specialist. My main task was looking for the best venue for each event. Negotiating the prices from all the suppliers, then preparing a quotation for our client. Looks easy but if you will analyze how we get each detail you will realize that the task was very challenging.

We need to know and understand well the venue details, capacity, and possible setup to ensure that it matches to client’s need.

I would say that from all the companies I had worked with UAE, this is the company where I learn and improve a lot. My boss’s methodology and way of dealing with suppliers and clients were impressive and inspiring for you to do your job better.

Aside from all the learnings, the given salary was a good-paying amount in UAE.

Though it was not the same as the suppose I got from the 5-star hotel. However what I consider that time was the job stability. My event specialist job was more stable than in sales job where the stability depends on your sale production.

My contract has been renewed twice in the event company and always had a yearly salary increase. In my 3rd contract, I already exceeded the salary that I should have in the 5-star hotel.
But sadly in my 4th year, COVID happens.

COVID changes everything to Career change at 36


My husband lost his job, while mine was unstable since all our events move to unsure dates. My company implements a temporary salary cut that is understandable because of the situation.

Though I don’t want to leave UAE, and most especially my recent company since our boss was really great and helpful I had no choice but to give it up. I left not because of the money, but due to other complications brought by the pandemic. And at that time the best decision was to go back here to the Philippines.

Now I am here in the Philippines for almost 7 months. The first few months were fine as we are so busy fixing some stuff and accompanying my old father to his medication.

I felt the pressure in regards to deciding about what to do in my career was on my 5th month. At 36 I felt that I am too old to start again here in the Philippines. I don’t even know where and how to begin.

Some may think I am exaggerating, but those sentiments have roots. Every time I was applying until I got to join a very reputable company I felt that there is an issue about my age.

Career change at 36

I decided to consider applying to the real estate industry thinking that I can do this work even I get older. That is what I thought. During the hiring process, my age has been an issue.

As per the Director of sales, the acceptable age was up to 32 years old. However, he will try to convince HR since I have the potential in closing a sale. After days the HR personnel called me and discuss a lot until I got in.

I am not sure if I should be thankful for that or see it negatively, I felt it is age discrimination.

But I let it passed since I really want to try working with a real estate company. This time I am willing to face my fear of working with high pressure in achieving sales quota.

Some of my friends even think I am a fool to join real estate in this time where everyone is in an economic crisis. But it is ok, I don’t want to waste my time at home without any concrete plan for my career. I know I need to start now quickly.

So here I am at 36 trying to learn new things, adapting to a new job, and fitting myself in the bit younger generations of Real estate salesperson in the Philippines. It is stressful and hard, but if you are willing to try new things and improve for the better, I and you can do it.

In your opinion guys, do you believe that there is what you called “too late in starting a new career path”?




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