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Like many people I’ve changed careers a few times in my life, either by choice or by necessity. I’m now blessed to be working as a career adviser while still using my skills as a writer. From time to time a past co-worker or friend will ask me how I managed my career change. This is the second blog post in a short series detailing my experiences.
1. Always focus on where you want to be, not what you’re trying to get away from. You’re moving up and on, not running away.
2. Think about where you want to be in five, 10 or 20 years. Think about your professional and personal life, your priorities, your values; the mark you want to leave on the world. Then think about what you will have to do short-term to meet those goals.
When I changed careers, it meant taking a major pay cut and reluctantly moving back to Minnesota from California. I’m now glad to be home and my salary is above what it was in LA, but the transition was tough.
3. Give yourself realistic expectations and deadlines. I was still getting job leads for TV production positions while I was looking for work as a career adviser. It was REALLY hard to say no, but I knew if I didn’t turn them down I wouldn’t be open to opportunities in my new field.
I also gave myself a few months deadline to find a job or I would have gone back to TV, or any job that would have me (I was determined, not dumb). Figure out how long you can afford to give yourself to make the career change. Think about your financial and emotional needs.
4. Unless you are completely destitute, don’t focus on the money. If you take a job just for the money, you will always chase money and won’t have the time or energy to chase your dreams (cheesy, but true). If you do need to grab a job to keep your head above water, give yourself a time line for when you will expect to be back on your financial feet and can start to pursue your “real” career.
When I was going through my most recent career change, I was TERRIFIED and on the verge of a serious financial crisis. But if you have a strong idea about the type of career you want to move into, things will fall into place quicker and easier than you think.
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