Contemplating a Career Change?

Quite a few friends and clients have recently shared that they are contemplating a major career change.  They have a passion for something other than what they are currently doing 40 hours a week.  Before making the plunge, consider the following:

1.   Be honest with yourself about why you are contemplating the change.  Did you recently get overlooked for a promotion?  Is there a new co-worker or manager that you don’t get along with?  Have you been overworked? If the urge to flee is due to something that is temporary, consider sticking out your current situation for another 6 months to see if conditions improve.  Consider moving to another department or similar company if you feel you may be happier in another setting.  On the other hand, if you are convinced that you are destined for something else, keep reading…

2.   Start volunteering or working part time in your new career choice before leaving your full time job to make sure you actually like it.  After gaining some experience, you may realize that being a dog walker or personal chef is not all it is cracked up to be.   Or, you may love it and confirm that you are making the right choice. 

3.   Price re-education and / or internship costs.  Estimate how long it will take for you to start earning money.  Start researching this information so you and your financial planner can create a meaningful exit plan.  Be realistic and conservative.  Include the extra cost for babysitters if you will be attending school nights or weekends.

4.   Begin networking and making contacts.  While living in Pensacola, Florida with my husband, I decided to make a career change to become a financial planner.  I researched the CFP® designation and contacted every CFP® in Pensacola, asking if I could meet with them or help them around the office for free.  Only one person responded.  He didn’t have any work for me, but he became a great mentor.  He sent me books to read and helped shape my future path in the field.  I am so thankful for that experience and always encourage others to reach out.

5.  Start building up a transition fund.  It is unlikely that you will go without any gap in earnings unless you do all the training for the new job at night and are able to land another job before quitting.  Start automatically saving to a taxable account, and leave it liquid so you will have access when you need it.  Besides money for basic living expenses, assess whether your cars are in good shape and if your house needs any major upgrades. 

As with everything, you can do it with or without a plan.  Have a plan, and increase your chances of success.  Good luck! 

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