How old is too old to change your career?
It’s daunting to make big shifts and changes in your 20s, let alone at 47. We chat with Philomena, a style coach, about making the big moves at mid-life and how she’s reaping the rewards of making changes for herself.
Hi Philo, how different has your 20s been from your 30s and now, your 40s?
My 20s has been an exciting experience in the hospitality industry. When I was young, green at work and inexperienced, and the world was indeed your oyster! I learnt about building a brand name and marketing within a short period of time–steep learning curves and all. I enjoyed being in the industry so much that I was there for 23 years!
I was a first-time mom when I was 30 and even though I was a working mom then, I devoted as much time to raising my kid as I did with my job. I enjoyed every moment of being in marketing and branding in the hospitality sector, which is challenging and at the same time, fun.
Now at 47, my priorities have changed. It wasn’t until two years ago that I quit my job to focus on my family and health that I realised I wanted to build something on my own.
What convinced you to have a career switch at 47?
While some friends dissuaded me to enter the workforce again as an entrepreneur at 47 and retire early instead, I was excited to start my image consulting business and utilise what I was good at during my hospitality career–conversing with people, building a brand name for myself, and apply product branding concepts into branding a person and their personal style.
So six months into my break, I enrolled in a style coaching diploma course and I’ve never looked back upon my decision to have a mid-life career switch. It was a natural fit; I was able to approach image consulting with my personal brand perspective and philosophy to style, brand guide and coach my clients.
What do you like about your new career?
I like that I’m able to work with my passion on a daily basis and call it my job. I enjoy my weekly routine of attending styling appointments for Style Theory’s subscribers in addition to delivering corporate styling workshops, as well as meeting new people daily.
How do you describe your personal style?
I’m very inspired by my mom and her strong sense of style. She was always well-groomed with a strong sense of confidence. I enjoy dressing up since young and even till now: I would say my style is experimental– girly and serious during the week, jeans and casual approach during the weekends. It’s very different from my previous guest-facing days where we had to be in dark suits!
What is your greatest achievement?
My son! Two years ago, I left my job to spend more time with my family and focus on health, and while it’s one of the most difficult decisions to make, it was also the most rewarding. I’m glad to have been there during the crucial times like streaming examinations in secondary school and being able to communicate with him and his friends who came over to our place. I would have missed out on so much should I have been at work then.
He’s 17 years old now and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for his enlistment in 3 or 4 years.
What do you do during your off days?
Even on my off days, I’m working with people! On top of my current job, I’m also working full-time alongside a charity, Dress for Success, which helps underprivileged women re-enter the workforce. The charity promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women, providing them with coaching, image services and work attire for job interviews and career advancement. It’s a meaningful mission that I can really get behind.
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