You’ve undoubtedly heard that old axiom that if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. This might be true but what’s equally true is if you hate what you do every workday will be like a day in purgatory. If this is true of you, if you believe you need to make a career change you’re not alone. Gallup recently did a poll and found that 70% of Americans report feeling uninspired, unhappy and less engaged in their jobs. Some of the reasons for this are that they’re looking for more challenging work or just want to earn more money. An equally sad fact is that not many employees actually take the big step of looking for a new career.
It can be scary
If you’re young, footloose and fancy free making a career change won’t be very difficult. But if you’re older, already making a decent salary and have some debt then the idea of starting all over someplace new can be scary. In some cases, you might even have to start at the bottom of the pay scale, which can be very difficult if you’re trying to pay off a house or educate your children.
It may be completely different
Getting a new job in your current career is one thing but if you leave that career for a different one you may find things are completely different. That new employer probably won’t be paying you at the same rate or providing the same benefits. It’s possible you will have to spend money for special training or classes. For that matter, in order to get hired you may have to move to a new location. But regardless of why you want to make that career change you will need to prepare yourself for the things you might face. So, before you decide to change careers you need to do the following.
1. Create a budget you can actually follow
There are a lot of good things about living within your means. And controlling impulse buying and sticking to a fairly strict budget are absolutely critical if you want to enjoy financial freedom. Eliminating all frivolous spending can help in the event of a financial emergency including changing careers. This is particularly important if that career change may mean you will be earning less. For that matter, this would be a good time to think about how you could supplement your earnings by starting a blog, writing articles for websites, taking surveys, watching videos, driving for Uber and so on.
2. Determine your weaknesses and strengths
Take some time to sit down and make a list of your weaknesses and your strengths. Then make a plan to improve on your weak skills even if this means you will need some training or may have to take special classes. Make sure that you stay current on trends in that new industry and find training opportunities that will help you become more productive and be a more desirable employee. Don’t wait around until you’re in that new career to get new skills. Be proactive.
3. Consider your likes and dislikes before making a career change
Think seriously about what you like in a job and what you dislike. Then apply this list to any career you’re considering. Do you seriously dislike tedious, detail-oriented work? Then you should cross off a career in software programming. Conversely, if you love interacting with people and are something of an extrovert you might consider a career in sales or marketing.
Many companies now count on outsourcing or the use of contractors to lower their costs and improve their bottom lines. Before you choose a new career, take a good, hard look at what’s happening in that industry. If you see many of its jobs listed as “contract” or “contract to permanent job” that’s an industry you might want to avoid. Look instead for a career where most of the jobs you see posted are for permanent positions.
5. Try for a severance package
If you’ve been doing a good job for your employer and are honest with your manager about your need to make a career change, your employer might agree to give you a decent severance package. This could include compensation for any saved vacation or sick days and it might agree to extend your benefits for some period of time. You might even be able to negotiate a bonus by agreeing to stay on long enough to help complete a project. If your employer is really understanding, you might be able to switch to a part-time job so that you would have some income while working on your skills or getting training for that new career.
6. Increase your liquidity
Since it’s quite possible you will have no income until you get started in that new career you need to preserve the money you have. For example, you may need to defer saving for retirement or even transfer your retirement investments into moneymaking EFTs or savings accounts. Do you own your own home and have some equity? Then think about refinancing into a new mortgage. That will free up money you could use to live on, and your monthly payment should be lower thanks to today’s extraordinarily low-interest rates.
7. Find financial assistance for your career change
If the reason why you’re looking to make a career change is because you were terminated or laid off, you will probably be eligible for unemployment benefits. In addition, you may be able to find federal and state training resources and financial assistance. For example, there’s the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which among other things American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which among other things provided $650 million for educational technology. In addition, there are loans you could apply for if you’re looking to further your education. Single moms have scholarships available and there are many available to the unemployed. However, you may have to do some digging to find these programs.