Switching careers can be a stressful and exciting time for all of us. Some of us no longer enjoy our jobs and feel as though we are trapped. With these feelings, we want to make a pivot towards something that is more aligned with our interests. While you may immediately want to go onto LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job hunting sites. We advise that you consider a few factors and influences to help mitigate some risks and common pitfalls that people often face when switching careers.
Why do you want to switch careers?
Asking yourself the simple question of “why?” is important. This may seem simple and redundant because you may strongly dislike this career path for a variety of reasons and probably already know that there is a career out there that is better suited for you. However, do not overlook this factor, as a simple method to assess your reasons for a career switch is writing down a pros and cons list. This helps identify that you are not simply being emotional about this career switch based on a few bad highlights in your career. A fairly common problem with newer employees (6-months to 1-year) who feel tired of their career because things become stagnant or were simply not what they expected it to be. Secondly, this list helps to identify where your interests reside. When you figure out what you value and what fulfils you the most, then it becomes much easier to filter out the right career path from the thousands of job postings during your career switching process.
Assess Your Financial Situation
Many are worried about swapping into other careers because they will be left without income during that transition period. It is essential that you determine all your fixed and variable expenses. In addition to your expenses, there are also debt repayments. For instance, car payments, insurance, loans, etc. A big concern for many is how to pay their debt without income. Thus, it may seem like switching careers is not ideal. However, one great and simple tool is a budget sheet. This is incredibly helpful in tracking your expenses, sources of income, and savings. We have a great resource that further explains how to create a budget sheet!
Additionally, once you have determined which expenses are recurring, you should prepare for at least six months’ worth of expenses. This is what we call an emergency fund. There are no shortcuts when looking for a new career. It will likely take somewhere between 6-18 months to find a suitable career. With this emergency fund, you will have a cushion to fall back on during your search.
Lastly, consider utilizing your company resources or government benefits, such as employment insurance, as another means to lessen the stress as you look for a new career. There are many financial resources available but making sure you find and make use of them will greatly help your financial situation.
Compare Careers in Detail
As you scroll through job postings, you most likely found a few positions that interest you. However, many only look at higher salaries as more ideal and will often pass up on jobs that may bring you a lot more joy and fulfilment.
Firstly, we want to acknowledge that we are not saying that salary is not an important factor in determining your career choice, it is. However, you should consider other equally important factors such as company culture, work-life balance, company benefits, PTO (paid time off), unemployment resources etc. Many companies offer varying benefits that go beyond the job posting. Looking at online employee reviews like Glassdoor or Indeed can help give you a better idea about the kind of work that you will be doing in that position.
Many workers feel trapped in a job when their only source of motivation is money. The famous saying “money can’t buy love” or “money can’t buy happiness” is very true, as material things will never make up for the unhappiness in a career.
Address Financial Anxieties
Mental health is still a commonly overlooked issue in present society. This is also the case when it comes to personal finances. Many of us experience anxiety when we look at our bank accounts and think about our long-term financial situation. However, when you are about to embark onto another career path, these emotional discomforts are amplified because we do not have any income. Some symptoms of financial anxiety include:
- Fear of spending
- Anxiety when thinking about money
- Lack of confidence for the future
- Lack of sleep or depression
These are just some symptoms that are often overlooked and not properly addressed. However, mental health is very important in maintaining level-headed thinking when looking for a new career. Some of these financial anxieties can be addressed by utilizing a budget sheet and creating an emergency fund as we had previously discussed. But it is equally important that you reach out for help if you need it. For instance, a financial advisor, financial planner, or your creditors who can refinance your debt. Do not lose sight of these anxieties, address them immediately, and recognize that help is always available.
Ensure that you not only learn to identify financial anxiety, but also create healthy practices to reduce these feelings of anxiousness. By doing so, you will make better career decisions instead of making impulse decisions to temporarily relieve these anxieties.
A career switch is very stressful but exciting. It can feel intimidating to look for another long-term career when anxieties or lack of income hold you back. Determine why you want to switch careers, your financial situation, compare (in detail) careers, and address your financial anxieties early on, you will be able to find a new long-term career and reduce the chances of transitioning to another uncomfortable career
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