• Nat Harrison

How to have a painless Career Change

Career changes are much more common than they used to be. With over 70% of people unhappy in their current jobs, and the pensionable age rising, people are increasingly having two or three careers during their working lives. Career breaks are becoming more common earlier in life, with flexible working hours, sabbaticals and shared parental leave growing in popularity.

Sometimes, a career move is forced upon us with downsizing, redundancy and restructuring/closure affecting the private and public sectors alike. Often, these occurrences are a blessing in disguise, and an ideal time to totally change what you do, go back to college or start your own business. Here are some things to think about to make your transition as painless as possible:

=> Are you Onboard? Why are you in your current career? What choices did you make or not make? Did you fall into your current/previous job? Do you hate what you are doing now? Understand the factors driving your desire for a career change or business start-up, and ensure that you actually want to take the step. If you aren’t committed, chances are the transition will be painful and not a great success.

=> Get your Finances in order. If you are planning a transition, ahead of time, could you put some money away for a few years to finance your training/start-up? How long will the transition take?

Put a plan together and see how much you will need to live on while you may not be earning. You may want to rearrange some of your finances – e.g. fix the mortgage, take some equity from your property, cash in some premium bonds – or maybe your partner can take more of the responsibility for a while. This step is really important; it will aid your confidence about the transition and make you feel more certain during a period of uncertainty. Maybe you could go part-time in your current role, to ease the transition.

=> Enlist Support. Let all your family and friends know about your career plans and ask for their support. When you are making a major change, you need positive, possibility-minded people on your side, and to keep the fear-mongers at bay: they are the ones who will never choose to live their dream lives; it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.

What’s really important is that your partner is onboard. If they are, you will have someone readily available to refocus you when your doubts creep in. The best person to join you through this transition is a mentor (someone who has already followed the path you are about to embark upon), or a coach, who can keep you focused and accountable for the steps forward, and act as a sounding board.

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