One Of The Biggest Barriers Mentioned By People Considering A Career Change Is Whether It Can Be Afforded. It Is A Huge Question, But One That Can Be Answered.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The first thing you need to sort out is what type of career change you are considering because it will make a big difference in the amount of pressure you feel.
If you are trying to get out of a company going under or leave a toxic boss is one thing. Leaving one company to go and do the same work at another is a much easier career change that will have much less impact on your finances. You can easily anticipate the salary range based on the skills and experience you bring to the table and the type of work required. The test of resilience will be the waiting game while search for that new role while you stay employed.
If your career change entails a whole new type of work or a change in how you work, that is a whole other ball of wax. In such situations, you need to be very thoughtful as you approach change, particularly if you know that a reduction in compensation will accompany the change.
CHANGE REQUIRES A PERSONAL TRANSITION
Changing careers can be one of the most exhilarating and satisfying things you can do. Trust me, I know because I did it! It signals a new beginning where you finally find the work, company, environment you want. But easy? Hardly ever. This is because a huge change forces personal transitions to be made, usually in terms of your precious time and money. It would be best if you were open to the possibility that something in life needs to shift and be willing at the very least to make it happen.
REMEMBERING YOUR WHY
What is driving you to explore a career change? If I were to guess, you have an answer to this question already. You want more meaningful work. Maybe it is to lessen your stress and alleviate burnout. Maybe the current job is not what it once was and now you are bored with it. Maybe you want to work fewer hours or achieve a better balance?
What if you COULD afford a career change? What would that do for you? Would you feel like you now have more purpose? Would it give you more personal freedom? Would it give you more time with your family and friends? Would it help your mental health? Considering a career change that impacts your finances will be hard, and it will be very tempting to say, oh, forget it, it is not worth it. But is your sanity worth it? What about your happiness? If you care about these things, then you owe it to yourself to put the work in and see what you can do to make a career change while being fiscally smart. Being able to come back to your ‘why’ will keep you going when it gets hard.
ASKING YOURSELF A DIFFERENT QUESTION
At this point, before you go any further, it is important to think about whether you can afford a career change by asking a slightly different question. Instead of, “What if I can’t afford a career change?” let’s reframe it to, “How can I afford a career change?” Just with that simple adjustment, your mindset shifts to a place of optimism and possibility versus pessimism and doubt. It feels more doable. Keep going back to this new question. I cannot or can’t I, but how can I? Pure and simple, this approach will give you tons of choices and possibilities to explore until you find the ones that work for you.
FIGURE OUT HOW TO AFFORD A CAREER CHANGE
You will be confronting varying considerations when it comes down to planning how you can afford a career change. An effective way to approach them is to ask yourself how you want to feel and then reverse engineer it from there. This will help you figure out what is required (something you must do) versus desired (something you want to do), bringing you a ton of clarity when making choices in the following areas.
- Training and education
If your career change takes you into a new work line that requires a new set of skills or education, it will be important to plan for those things. Finding out if you need additional training, classes, or a degree will not be just an investment of your time; it will also be an investment of your pocketbook. How much depends on different factors, but is it largely centralized in three areas: what you need, where you get it, and how long can you take to complete the training or degree. These will all influence the ultimate cost.
So, how do you feel about your readiness to take on a new career? If you want the clout of a top-notch degree, you will want to explore the best schools and degree programs in the field, which will likely require a lot of cash. On the other hand, if you want only what meets most employers’ minimum qualifications, that gives you a different set of options, some of which may be way more cost-effective.