The pandemic has affected many things in our world and have caused us to pause and reevaluate things in our personal lives, including our careers and whether they are in alignment with our values. Is your career in line with your life goals? Or you’ve been working hard and not given the opportunities to advance? If you are looking at a career change, there are many things to consider. Higher salary potential, remote work options, the company culture, better work-life balance, richer employee benefit package – the list goes on. Making the decision to change careers is not to be taken lightly. However, with proper planning, you can rest assure you have made the best decision possible for your future.
First, Do Your Research
There are many elements of a career change that you need to consider in the process.
- How does this position and company’s values align with my personal life and values?
- Is working remotely an option?
- What is the company culture? Do they support my need for work-life balance? Will I need to make any sacrifices to achieve it?
- What employee benefits will I lose, or gain?
- How long will it take until I am trained and able to get a job in the new career path?
- Will I need to go back to school?
- If so, will I be able to work while taking classes, or is the program too time intensive?
- What are the job prospects in the new field? Will it be challenging to get your first position?
- Will I experience a drop in salary while I get established? How about in the long term?
- How will your salary in the first five years balance with the education debt you accrue?
Second, Create a Budget
Now that you know the essential elements of what it will take to make the transition, you have to begin the financial planning process. Start with a budget. Outline all of your expenses (including the new expenses associated with school or training), the income you will have during the transition (including that of your partner), and your savings.
You may find that your savings isn’t enough to support you through the transition, and you can strategically create a plan for building that savings before you jump ship on your current job. Avoid looking to your retirement savings as supplemental income during the transition. While it may seem logical that your new and higher paying position will allow you to replenish your retirement fund, the truth is that it is a serious risk to your future stability. Make a proactive plan instead.
Third, Network Your Network
Leverage your network to gather as much information and expert advice as possible. Speak with professionals who are already working in the field or company to uncover any realities that you may not have found in your research.
Talk with your financial planner about your options, as there may be revenue streams you haven’t thought of. The more information you have about the reality of transitioning into a new career path, the better equipped you will be to handle whatever hurdles stand in the way.