Now that you’ve decided that you need to make a career change (or you are at least interested in looking) What do you do next? 

What’s holding you back from your dream?

I’ve talked with many leaders over the years that fail to make a career change because of fear, an unrealistic expectation on the job market, myths, and misconceptions. Here are some of the common ones that I hear.

  • I’m safe or my job is safe. If all the news of centuries-old companies failing has taught us anything, it’s that no job is safe. I don’t believe that there is a single industry safe from some kind of disruption in the future. That includes the funeral industry!  Also if you are unhappy in your current job you aren’t doing yourself or your company any favors by sticking around. 
  • I’m too old. You are only too old if you think that you are. Look at senior leadership across organizations and you’ll often see men and women in their 50s+. Your age should give you more experience which should translate into a healthy salary if you have been intentional in continued development. 
  • I’ll have to start over. Unless you are really early in your career, there is little likelihood that you will have to start from scratch. Your new employer is looking at what experience you can add to the team and how you can impact the organization. They aren’t as focused on making you pay your dues all over again. 
  • My education is outdated. This one may partially be true depending on the industry or if you want to change to a different industry. The good news is that this can be easily remedied before you make a career change. Do research to see what skills, certifications, and schooling is needed and work to fill in your gaps.

You may need to walk a journey of mourning. 

Mourning is another phase of a career change that many don’t realize. It may sound silly to mourn the job you have but think of it as a relationship. If you broke up with a significant other after years of being together, you’d mourn that relationship in some way, no matter how it ended.  Your career is not all that different. Take the time to mourn, make peace and heal so that you can make the change from a mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy place. 

Make smart financial decisions before and during the change. 

It’s funny how much time and effort we put into other things in our lives and leave our career planning lacking any direction. Imagine what would happen if you put the same effort into planning for your next job as you do your next vacation or trip. Here are a few tips to help you prepare financially for the next step. 

  • Build a cushion. A large amount of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, so the thought of missing a paycheck can drive us to make irrational decisions and settle. Build a cushion to help you think through your next steps in a very strategic way. The amount of cushion depends on your level of experience. The higher the experience, the higher the cushion needs to be. 
  • Negotiate a higher salary. Be sure to negotiate your new salary and remember that it is not all about money. Try to get more vacation days, education allowance etc based on what your priorities are. 
  • Invest. Don’t miss out on opportunities for free money. Contribute to your 401K at least up to what your company will match. 

Follow the steps from last week and this week to successfully navigate a career change. If you need help don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for it. There are many people that help in career coaching, resume writing and interview prep.  

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH