This month you may have noticed a little flurry of posts from some lovely guests here on The What Now Blog and today I bring you the last (for a while) but by no means the least. Bella is a fellow blogger over at The Other 'F-Word' where she writes and shares regular and inspiring lifestyle posts. As she puts it, 'musings of one perpetually seeking happiness', so certainly a girl after my own heart on that one!
Having made the tough decision herself to leave a career in finance behind and concentrate on her writing, Bella is certainly well-placed to offer advice for those considering making a big change in their working lives. So today she shares some very useful and practical tips that are well worth considering if you too are sat at a career crossroads trying to decide which direction to head in next. Over to Bella ...
Many of us have been at a point where making a professional change seems to be the only viable solution to cure the anxiety, uncertainty or dissatisfaction with our jobs.
Today, I wanted to discuss some practical points that I had to consider, when changing my work and switching from a steady and lucrative career in finance for the bohemian and uncertain freelance writing field.
CRUCIAL CONSIDERATIONS AND TOP TIPS FOR MAKING A CAREER CHANGE
1. Be Honest And Figure Out ‘Why?’
Are you genuinely hearing a calling that can’t be ignored or are you simply dissatisfied with your current project, team or manager?
From personal experience, I can say that had I been a little more honest with myself a year and a half ago, I would have started writing earlier. Instead, I switched jobs within my industry only to find myself mentally writing my resignation letter a few months in.
On the other hand, the sheer volume of enticing calls to become an entrepreneur on social media can tempt you to make unnecessary and very drastic moves.
Get some distance and decide what kind of change is right for you.
2. Money Talks
On the assumption that starting over is your heart’s desire, planning for it financially is the most important consideration for most, as the uncertainty over paying bills could nip your life makeover in the bud.
Firstly, talk to your family, not only to ask for help but also to allow them to plan for this eventuality too. In the absence of a trust fund or “family money”, it is best to take at least 6-8 months to prepare for a drastic move that will cut your household income in half.
I tend to believe that the very moment you get an epiphany to free yourself from the shackles of a hated job will be the precise moment some unexpected event occurs that will need serious spending power. Hence, I would aim to save up for roughly 8 months of expenses, in ‘emergency mode’, not the usually recommended 6.
Figure out ways to make money, whilst your big dream is cooking.
Leverage your existing professional network to get freelance projects doing what you know best. Typically, such projects are only ‘advertised’ informally, so let it be known that you are looking.
3. Out With The Old, In With The New
You are planning a completely new life for yourself and it will require you to change a few things, including the people around you.
Networking is probably the most important factor in any field and is what really gets you the best job, project, brand name. If you are going to make it in a new industry, you need to network with the people already in it. Make time for them at the expense of your other time commitments if needed.
These are the people that you can learn from, develop new habits with, get fresh perspectives from and thus, help you advance. Having someone lead you by example is imminently less time consuming than ploughing through the mass of information out there on your own.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn
4. Prepare For Mental Warfare
The biggest issue with starting over is the uncertainty. It is always there, rearing its ugly head and making you doubt yourself. Make sure you are mentally tough enough not to fail before you give it an honest shot.
Prepare to buckle down and wait out the dark spells. Because they will come.
Similarly, prepare to curb your enthusiasm because any little win will heighten your expectations to no end and that’s a painful high to come down from. I'm not saying do not celebrate your gains but be prepared for the very real possibility that they are temporary for now.
There is a great article written about this particular quality that I love reading. ‘Duck’ references aside, very valid points through and through.
5. Take Inventory
Of yourself, that is.
You might think you are starting over and have nothing yet to add to your new chosen field but in reality you are already more equipped than a newbie getting out of university. Most jobs have a technical aspect acquired via training and a personal one, which is part-inherited and part-practiced.
If you have worked a job for a significant amount of time you already have quite a few personal skills that that are transferrable. Find out what they are and find ways to apply them. For anything else, there is the internet.
And the most important practical step of all is as simple as this:
Planning is essential, analysing your decision is critical but eventually, the most important step you will take is actually getting up and making the move. Don’t wait another year, month or week, unless there are valid reasons to stop you. Because another year, month and week will pass by and the only thing that you will think is where would you have been now if you’d made the move right there and then.
I'd like to thank all of my lovely guest bloggers for their contribution this month. It's been a great experience to collaborate in this way. If you missed any of their brilliant posts then you can catch up here.