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Be realistic if you want to change your career

Published on Friday, 31 Aug 2012
Christopher Aukland

I’m a 34-year-old tennis coach who works on average three hours a day and earns around HK$20,000 a month. I’m free from 9am to 3pm so I want to get a job, make more money and possibly look for a way out of tennis before I turn 40.

My current résumé, though, isn’t going to land me any jobs. I could do a two-year part-time postgraduate degree while I continue to teach, but what should I study? I’m open to any ideas, as long as after two years I can take that degree and get a decent-paying job with career prospects. Or should I just continue to teach tennis and make ends meet? Tennis coach

Your current situation is very common in Hong Kong. You are still young and you need to remember that you are never too old to continue to study, change your career or challenge yourself.

The Hong Kong job market is highly competitive, however, so if you are serious about changing careers, you will need a positive attitude and seek solutions rather than focusing on  possible barriers. You will also need a huge amount of persistence and very thick skin as you will likely suffer rejection before you succeed.

It is impossible to advise you on which furthereducation courses to study as there are so many options. Before you spend money on further study, you need to decide exactly what type of job you want to secure – and make sure it is realistic. For example, paying to study an LLB without relevant work experience or contacts in the industry will cost a lot of money and is unlikely to help in the long term. You need to be honest with yourself and realistic about your goals and career aspirations.

My suggestion is not to quit teaching until you have a realistic goal and plan of what you want to do. You should consider a variety of different careers and look at a range of vocational qualifications and part-time evening courses. Visit the Vocational Training Council’s (VTC) website,, to see what is available.

Ask yourself if you can extend your tennis coaching job to other types of coaching, or turn coaching into a viable business with add-on services for your clients. There is no magic solution, but if you take positive action, you will be well on your way to making it happen.

Christopher Aukland is regional director of Michael Page International and Page Personnel in Hong Kong, one of the world’s leading recruitment companies operating in 161 offices in 33 countries worldwide

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