Considering a change of employment is tough enough if you are currently employed. Beyond that, considering a complete change of career can be overwhelming. Maybe that’s why they call it a career ‘switch’ because it’s like getting spanked with that thin little branch. It’s going to sting. But, once it’s done, it could very likely be well worth the effort. Still, there is frankly quite a lot to think about beforehand. Here are 7 things you need to process before you seriously commit to a career change.
Where is your heart?
One component is truly figuring out (at least for where you are at this phase) what you want to be when you grow up. Where will your heart eventually take you? Could it be accomplished in your current career path? Is a career switch necessary to get you there? It’s essential to establish a clear destination in your career path.
Think first about the end result of your career change. Where does it position you afterward? Consider, too, where that might likely put you on a new career ladder, and how many rungs down you are willing to accept in order to make that transition. Now work the planning steps back from there. What benchmarks need to be reached along this path to reach the targeted position?
What effort will be involved?
You know you’re not going to do anything half way. So what are you willing to put into this to make it happen effectively? Do you have the necessary education or training to do it? Do you have the wherewithal to learn it or develop it?
What foundation do you have?
Do you have the monetary resources to move through a career changeover? Think about how you will provide for your needs and the needs of those who depend on you for sustenance, shelter, insurance coverages, and care. How will it affect your retirement plan(s)? Are other life things already quite a mess?
What support system do you have and how are you using them?
Taking a giant leap such as a career shift can only be done with ample resources in place. Contemplate what your professional and personal mentor(s) think about the idea. What is your career coach suggesting? When you’re not at hand, you have advocates that fight for you. What do they say? What about those who are or have sponsored you in your career advancement? Also, look into what your broader network will tell you. Don’t leave out those who make up your scaffold –family and friends – those that hold you up while you’re building.
What are the risks?
A career change move does not need to be a ‘Gotta Quit My Job’ scenario. For some, quitting now will set you up for a spiral into chaos before you can get on your feet in the new occupation. It is considerably easier to acquire a new career while you maintain your current job. Plus, you have to consider your reputation. How are you currently honor-bound? A contract? A verbal commitment? A promise to someone about your occupation over some period of time? How you weigh the risk of breaking your honor versus establishing your new career may have many long-term consequences.
Likewise, it does not need to be a ‘Plunge In’ scenario. Getting started can’t hurt anything, but you don’t have to know or do everything at the start. Learn. Grow. Evolve. But it’s okay to pace yourself. However, you definitely need to start – something. That’s always a good thing.
As with anything, altering your career requires a balance. Prepare to keep a reasonable perspective with the effort that it involves. Manage your time, your money, and your emotional investments with care. Do you enjoy entertainment time now? Will you if you switch careers?
The decision to drastically modify your career path is a major event that will affect you on multiple levels. For more on leadership, commitment, accountability, reaching financial/professional/lifestyle goals, results day-to-day and for life, find out how you can achieve more with the tools and coaching through Becoming Ideal at BecomingIdeal.com. Take your next step to accomplishing your true aspirations.