June 11, 2007

Misery or Poverty: Is That the Question?

So often when I talk to clients about what holds them back from pursuing a career of their dreams, it is the perception that they will need to take huge pay cuts. While in the short term this may be true, often times in the long run these people wind up making more money than they could have ever imagined. So how can you make a career change while maintaining a decent level of income? Here are a few tips.
  • Research Before You Make a Move - While the frustration of going to work may seem unbearable, it's important not to make any rash decisions. As I mentioned in my previous blog, take some time to discover what fires you up inside. Don't just take another job, because it's something different. Remember, a new job means that you'll have to work that much harder at proving yourself and your work, even if you don't necessarily love it.
  • Find a Mentor - As you pursue a new career path, you may find it helpful to find a coach or mentor who can help you when times get tough. After all, a career change is a pretty life altering decision that can occasionally get overwhelming.
  • Understand Your Financial Needs - Again, before you make a move, find out how much (or little) you need to live. Of course, you'll need to cover basic things like mortgage/rent, utilities and food, but you should also deeply consider how you can cut the fat from your budget. Sacrificing those daily $4 lattes could bring you faster career satisfaction. At the same time, you should learn what average salaries are for the career(s) you are interested in.
  • Build Your Skills Before You Go - While you are still employed, you can start taking night, weekend or online classes that will be important for your new job. The added benefit is that you will be moving forward and taking action towards your happiness.
  • Network, Network, Network - One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to make a career change is to tell everyone you know (even people you don't know) about your interest in your new field of choice. You never know when you'll meet someone who can help. You could also join or attend meetings for local trade associations in your desired field.
  • When You're Ready, Take Baby Steps - If possible, look at starting your new career as a part time job. As you make more profits with your new career, you can cut back hours with your old employer or quit completely. If part time is not an option, then try to save 3-6 months of income in case of emergencies.

Making a career change can be one of the most rewarding things possible, but make sure not to make the most common career change mistakes. In the next blog, we'll cover great career change books.


AJ said...

Great suggestions! I've been working with a coach for 6 months now, and it was the most impactful decision I've made in my entire life. I don't even recognize the person I was 6 months ago. I'm moving closer and closer towards my passion, further and further away from my J.O.B. and my quality of life has never been better! A coach can really help you gain crystal clarity on your true goals and passions, and make sure you keep after them. I like to view my coach as a "personal trainer for my mind" :)

Tiffany Westrich said...

Rosemary is right on... I was making great money at a job that made me want to pull my hair out. I complained every day and became extremely stressed out. My pursuit of opening my own company seemed distant, although in the works for 5 years...it was ready, but was I??? I had enough money saved to give it a go, I had over 200 networking contacts from my career, I certainly had the company ready to go and the expertise to do it... but should I take the risk? Especially when another job offer from an even larger paying job was on the table? I decided it was now or never so I went full force, taking on a couple part time jobs teaching to get by. I have cut my salary by 50% and now I am "too poor" to go anywhere and I'm back to eating like I was in college...very little and very cheap! But, I find inexpensive ways to hang out with friends and family, I've lost 10 pounds and I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. Sometimes struggles become your biggest successes. I'm living proof!