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If you've a career change in mind, before you start it's a good idea to come up with a plan. How long is your career change going to take, and how much money and time (if any) are needed to get you to a place where you can start applying for jobs? Will the career offer you what you want it to and what are the trade offs associated with this?

Especially with visionary careers (ones where you've set the agenda and aren't forced into reviewing your career options), there are advantages and disadvantages to changing. For example some advantages might include:

  • less stress
  • higher earnings
  • less threat of redundancy
  • more job satisfaction
  • better learning opportunities

Whilst some disadvantages might include:

  • more stress 
  • lower earnings
  • longer hours

How much emphasis you place on these advantages and disadvantages will depend on your personal circumstances and how quickly you need to work.

However, it’s likely that with a career change you’ll experience:

  • being a beginner in a completely new field of work
  • and the reduction in earnings that usually goes with this

Make a list of all the things you are looking for in your new career. Are these positive? What are the negative consequences of the new career? 

Make a list of all the positive and negative aspects of your current career. Does your new career change make sense for what you want your new lifestyle to look like? Remember also that there are some advantages and disadvantages that you can’t control for, for example whether you get on well with your line manager. 

Do your sums

How much money are you going to need to fund your change of career? When working out how much money you’ll need to consider:

  1. The reduction in your earnings
  2. How long will it take you to get back to the level of earnings you previously had
  3. Any additional costs, for example if you need to gain more qualifications

In looking at these you can then get a rough idea of how much it is going to cost you to change career. It’s great to look at because, although it might seem daunting and unaffordable, it makes you think about the ways in which you can proceed and helps solidify your plans. 

You can:

  1. Attach a proper sense of importance to your project 
  2. Get into good habits early - it’s likely that you won't have as much money to spend at the start of a new career
  3. Inspire confidence in you and others. Telling others about your goals is one of the best ways to achieve them and it's a good way to gain moral support. 
  4. Reduce fear. Once you know how much money you have at your disposal you are more able to make a sensible plan to reach your career change, create a financial cushion to protect you against any set backs that may come along and dispel some fear of the unknown.
  5. Understand your setbacks.

How are you going to achieve your goals?

If you’ve disposable income you could make regular contributions to savings plan or if you’ve a lack of money you could be more creative in coming up with others ways of underwriting your career change. If you know it's going to pay off, you can also think about borrowing money, either through the bank or for a more formal method, such as a Professional and Development loan or a Graduate loan. 

If you've been forced into a career change through no fault of your own, you might have to think about small next steps before you can reach your eventual career change goal. These might include:

  • A part time job that needs little qualifications & experience;
  • A side hustle based on your hobby, such as making trinkets to sell on Etsy;
  • Making money through selling things you don't need the Maria Kondo way;
  • A contract or zero hours contract job just to get you through;
  • Using employment agencies - they’ll know what jobs are suitable for you skills and you should be able to get work fast, especially temp work.

Once you've an idea of how long your career change is going to take you so that you are in a position you want to be, what steps you need to get there, how you are going to achieve it and how much money it is going to cost you are well on your way to working towards your next goal of looking for work or getting your head down and the books out!

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