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how to make a career change
6 May 2020

How to Make a Career Change? An Informative Guide

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Research shows that 53% of Americans are unhappy at work. Does that include you?

If you’ve been staring out of your office window and brainstorming your next move, you might feel a mix of both excitement and fear. After all, you’re restless and ready for something new, but leaving the financial security of any job can be overwhelming.

Wondering how to make a career change and land successfully on your feet? You’ve come to the right spot. Today, we’re sharing a few steps that can help you make the transition with ease. The journey to greater career satisfaction begins now, so let’s get started.

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Calculate Your Future Potential

It goes without saying that it’s never a great idea to leave your current job without a secure offer in place somewhere else. Yet, even that isn’t enough of an impetus to make the move just yet.

Before you turn in your resignation, calculate how much you can expect to make at your new job right out of the gate. While you might expect to make more money down the road, you need to know what your initial income would be. If you don’t have a new offer yet, you can check online salary calculators to get a solid idea of the average starting income in your field.

Next, you need to know how much money you’re currently spending every month. An online budgeting tool can help you keep track of all of your expenses to eliminate any guesswork. Track it for a month and see where the numbers fall.

Then, compare the difference. Does your new job pay well enough to cover your basic expenses and still leave you enough left over to live? This exercise alone can be a major eye-opener, but don’t stop there.

Consider the kind of lifestyle you want to live in five years. Will your new job enable you to afford those goals? What would happen if you had to take a significant pay cut? These questions can help you establish from the start whether your intended new path is a financially feasible one.

Create a Separate Account and Start Saving

Making a career change can be a costly endeavor. As such, it pays to set up a separate savings account to help you fund it.

As you’re learning to live on less and scale back before your big move, allocate any excess funds into the account to help make the shift easier to handle. Name the account something fun and exciting, such as “My Big Move” or “My Dream Job” and you’ll be that much more willing to sacrifice for it.

For as long as you can, try to limit discretionary spending as you prepare to change career paths.

This means cutting back on $5 lattes, pedicures, massages and fancy dinners out. If possible, try to save up between three to six months’ worth of living expenses before making the big jump. This way, if your original plan doesn’t work out or you need to change your course, you won’t be stranded with no way to pay your bills.

It might be hard to stick to this plan, but the result will be more than worth it!

Diversify Your Streams of Income

Any time you switch careers, you’re assuming some sort of financial risk. To reclaim your peace of mind, it helps to diversify your streams of income.

In short, this means varying the ways that you bring in money. Rather than relying on one paycheck to cover all of your bills, look for side gigs, a weekend job or freelance work that you can ramp up if your finances run dry for a season. This is especially the case if you’re leaving a cushy, high-paying job to pursue a passion project.

Take non-profit work, for instance. While incredibly rewarding, there might be months or even years where you’ll pay your team but might not have enough to cover a full-time salary for yourself. If you have other, more secure sources of income that you can rely on during that time, you’ll be more willing to take the leap.

Find Accountability and Support

While you might be itching to start a new career as soon as possible, it’s important to be realistic and take it slow. As you do, you might feel your patience wearing thin and your morale start to dip.

Along the way, it pays to have an accountability partner who can help you stay the course. This is someone who will help you set short-term and long-term goals and then make sure you’re on track to meet them.

If you know a colleague who is in a similar position as you are, you might be able to walk this journey together and celebrate on the other side! Otherwise, there are professional business coaches and career counselors who are trained in every step of this process. They will have access to the tools and resources you need to make this next move a successful, financially secure one.

How to Make a Career Change and Succeed

You don’t have to stay in a job that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. If you have the right steps in place, you can successfully transition into a new industry where satisfaction and contentment await.

Wondering how to make a career change without sacrificing all of your savings or assuming a massive amount of risk? The key is to have a plan in place before you begin. Save as much as possible prior to making your big move, and bring along someone who can help you stick to your goals.

In the end, you’ll be able to embrace your new role with confidence and look back with pride. In the meantime, keep checking our blog for personal finance advice. Soon, you’ll be well on your way toward saving for retirement as you finally find fulfillment at work.