If your goals can not be reached in your present position you may need to change your career. That can be exciting, challenging and scary time in your life. Before you embrace a new opportunities ahead of you will have to do some planning so you can manage the financial and psychological experiences that can accompany you’re career switch.
Prepare for the Financial Aspects of a Career Change
1. Build up your savings. Even if you’re not thinking of a transaction you need to build an emergency fund. This is even more important when thinking about a transition. Estimate how much your income may be reduced and for how long. Add in a little extra buffer to be safe.
2. Reduce the housing expense. Housing is the largest single living expense for many people. If you rent, is it possible to move to cheaper accommodations? If you own your own house you will have to think about the cost of selling your house and purchasing a new one. Depending on you equity, closing costs and commissions, it may not make sense to sell your house.
3. Eat at home. Eating out can add up in a hurry and it should be a relatively easy budget item to cut. Learn some new recipes that will provide you with ongoing variety for dining at home. You can also prepare a number of meals on the weekend to get you through the week. Some planning ahead can save you a lot.
4. Seek out free entertainment. Everyone needs some down time. Get a library card. Expand your mind with some new books or look into a topic you have never thought of looking into. Your library should have a number of self-help books, audio and DVDs. Volunteer in your community as maybe an usher at your community theater so you can see plays without buying a ticket.
5. Keep your day job. You have made your plans and are ready to quit your job to start looking for a job you love. DON’T and again I say DON’T. You still need this job to fund your emergency fund and it’s harder to find new accommodation without employment. Also once you make the decision that this is a temporary job, you may find that this job doesn’t seem so bad. Also if you are going back to school you may be able to continue your current employment until you’re ready to move on. If you plan to go back to school, talk with the continuing education office on campus about flexible schedules for working students.
6. Develop a supplemental income. Any extra income you can make on a flexible schedule is always nice. Consider freelance work or marketing your handicrafts. Take all the profit you earn from this enterprise and put it in the emergency fund.
7. Liquidate your extra stuff. You like most of us you have stuff you don’t use anymore or don’t use enough to justify keeping it. Sell it. Visit a neighborhood consignment shop, organize a garage sale or list your items on eBay.
8. Be realistic about income projections. If you are moving into an entirely new career you may need to take a junior position when you’re starting out in a new industry. When negotiating your salary, focus in on the transferable skills you bring to the job. Let it be a pleasant surprise if you successfully negotiate for a higher salary.
Prepare for the second thoughts
1. Do your Due diligence. Knowledge can be reassuring. Find out everything you can about the occupation that interests you. Read the leading industry publications. Talk with people who have relevant experience.
2. Call out for Help. To make a successful transition you must have the support of your loved ones. Your spouse and children may be able to take on more household responsibilities as you prepare for your new career. Maybe you can get another parent at your child’s school to car pool.
3. Have a backup plan. Congratulations on daring to dream big, regardless of how things turn out. Meanwhile, make sure to have contingency plans ready in case it takes longer than expected to break into a new line of work.
4. Join a job hunting club. Job clubs are popping up everywhere. Getting together with likeminded people can really be a boost to your new career search. Sharing mutual advice and encouragement with other job seekers and career switchers will lift your spirits. You may even find valuable leads.
5. Manage your stress. This could be the time to dust off that treadmill in your basement. Or maybe find yourself a relaxation technique that works for you. Meditate on a daily basis, read your Bible or listen to classical music. Engage in a physical activity each day. Find an accountability partner to keep you focused.
6. Volunteer in your new field. Volunteer positions are a great way to make new contacts and broaden your experience without the risk of betting the farm on it. Whatever your chosen field, there will be a nonprofit that needs your services. You’ll benefit from real life learning and gain confidence in your newly acquired skills.
7. One change at a time. Even positive changes are hard to make. As much as possible, keep the major changes to one at a time as your career transition is well underway. If you just had a baby, for example, you might want to wait a year until you take on another adventure.
A career transition is a smart way to keep current with a changing economy and find work that is meaningful for you. It also creates transitional skills that make you more employable. Planning ahead and take things gradually will make the transition to your new career a success.
Thinking of a transition? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can help