Wanting, even needing, career change is an increasing reality of the 21st-century workplace. Knowing how to the effect that change is a whole other story. Last week’s article invited you into the process of career change. Gaining the confidence to convert your thoughts into action and engage in the practical steps to bring about change is a huge challenge. This week in the second part of the Great Career Selfie – Career Change Series we turn our attention to the next practical steps you can take to build the foundations of your exit strategy.
Unsurprisingly one of the biggest fears clients have when considering career change is financial. Rent or your mortgage has to be paid, food put on the table, clothes on your back and fuel in the car. Not to mention child care costs, nursing home fees for a loved one, saving for a house or paying college fees. While every bone in your body wants your P45, asking for it prematurely results in unnecessary stress.
Instead, take the time to figure out your baseline salary. A horrible but necessary task which involves buying everything off your debit card for three months. Spend only the money you have, no credit cards!! Buy every cup of coffee, Thursday evening shopping treat, all of your groceries, each bottle of wine, every quick trip for cake on your debit card. At the end of the three months establish what you need to cover your basic living costs. This figure is your baseline salary. Identify what you spend on luxuries and begin to save that amount each month. Set up a direct debit to an account you have no card access to. Save until you have enough money to cover essential living costs for six months. With this cash in the bank, you give yourself the opportunity to concentrate on career change with limited financial worries.
Connect the dots
As you use your notebook to record your Momentous Moments and your Non-Negotiables patterns should emerge. After three weeks stop writing and begin reading your notes. With highlighter in hand look for patterns lurking beneath, connections between or across your notes. Be alert to constant remarks on the same roles, repeated comments on particular interests, reoccurring focus on the same skills, or if you say the same thing over and over again in slightly different ways. Your list is as unique to you as your fingerprint so examine the raw data you recorded with a fine tooth comb. Look for links and connections between your current career, previous roles, hobbies and interests and where you want to go. Use this information to identify the types of career areas you are drawn to. List three careers, industries or skills that most interested you. Write them down.
Explore your options
Once you identify the three most appealing areas to you, begin risk-free career exploration. This is a no commitment, no obligation, no strings attached type of career dating. A time during which you commit only to hoovering up information about your chosen area. Speak to as many people as you can and ask as many questions as possible. Ask somebody in your field of exploration about career options available; the skill sets in demand within the profession and their predictions for the future of the industry. Sign-up to industry relevant newsletters, attend conferences, go to networking events, buy relevant industry publications, listen to podcasts and watch TED talks. Use your commute, your free time and your evenings to investigate your suitability to this area.
Upskill, reskill or retrain (for free first)
With all the will in the world, you cannot career change without actively engaging in some form of upskilling, reskilling or retraining. Try as you might career change seldom happens without effortful, determined and thoughtful education. Be warned! Resist the urge to jump into an expensive course that you may or may not like. Instead opt for a Massive Open Online Course, affectionately called MOOC’s. You can register for free courses in your area of interest, on Future Learn, Edx or Alison. These are three phenomenal MOOC platforms with thousands of professional courses running for 4 – 6 weeks in a diverse range of professional areas. Sample a course in the field that interests you before investing your hard earned cash.
By Sinead Brady