How To Embrace A Big Career Change and Stay Calm

"I'm changing careers and freaking out!"

"I want to change my job, but I get nervous when I think about it."

"I want to get out of this job but I get very uneasy. What do I do?"

"I start a new job next week and I am super tense about it. Help!"

Changing careers and taking a big step in a new direction is downright stressful and challenging.

Stop biting your fingernails.

I'm here to help!

My goal is to help you quickly embrace the new opportunity ahead of you while managing the financial and psychological experiences that accompany the change.

Financial Aspects of a Career Transition:

Save up.

Build a nest egg to see you through your transition. Estimate how much your income may be reduced and for how long. Add in a little extra buffer to be safe.

How much can you save? How will you do it?


Move to a cheaper place.

Housing is the biggest living expense for many people. If your circumstances permit, consider moving to someplace less expensive.

Can you move and save money?


Eat in more.

Eating out is a relatively easy budget item to cut. Learn new recipes that will provide you with ongoing variety for dining at home..

You can save an enormous amount of money by eating in.

Can you cook? What's on the menu?


Seek out free entertainment.

Everyone needs some play time. Get a library card. Volunteer as an usher at your community theater so you can see plays without buying a ticket.

What free fun do you have in your area?


Hold onto your day job.

You may be able to continue your current employment until you're ready to move on. If you plan to go back to school, talk with the continuing education office on campus about flexible schedules for working students.

Can you hold onto your current job?


Earn supplemental income.

Extra income you can make on a flexible schedule is always nice. Consider freelance work or marketing your handicrafts.

What are your options?


Sell your old stuff.

You probably have things around the house that could bring in some cash. Visit a neighborhood consignment shop. Organize a garage sale or list your items on eBay.

What have you got to sell?


Be conservative about income projections and spending money.

You may need to take a junior position when you're starting out in a new industry. Let it be a pleasant surprise if you successfully negotiate for a higher salary.

Do you have a budget?


Psychological Aspects of a Career Transition:

Do your research.

Knowledge is reassuring. Find out everything you can about the occupation that interests you. Read the leading industry publications. Talk with people who have relevant experience.

Have you done your homework?


Enlist support.

Ask your loved ones for help. Your spouse and children may be able to take on more household responsibilities. Another parent at your child's school may welcome the opportunity to car pool.

Who can help you?


Make a backup plan.

Congratulate yourself on daring to dream regardless of how things turn out. Meanwhile, make sure to have contingency plans ready in case it takes longer than expected to break into a new line of work.

What's your backup plan?


Join a job club.

Job clubs are flourishing everywhere. Sharing mutual advice and encouragement with other job seekers and career switchers will lift your spirits. You may even find valuable leads.

Where's the closest job club to you?


Reduce your stress.

Arm yourself with relaxation techniques that will help you relieve your stress as much as possible. Meditate on a daily basis or listen to classical music. Engage in a physical activity each day. Pick something you enjoy like yoga or long distance running.

How will you manage your stress?


Volunteer in your new field.

Volunteer positions are a great way to make new contacts and broaden your experience. Whatever your chosen field, there will be a nonprofit that needs your services. You'll benefit from real life learning and gain confidence in your newly acquired skills.

Where can you volunteer locally?


Make one big change at a time.

Even positive changes tend to make us feel a little unsettled. As much as possible, postpone other significant events until your career transition is well underway. If you just had a baby, for example, you might want to wait a year until you take on another adventure.

Can you stop multi-tasking for a second?


A career change is a smart way to keep up with an ever changing economy and find work that you love (or at least enjoy a lot more than you do now).

Despite the stress and anxiety that comes along with the temporary uncertainty, it is well worth it to seek out new opportunities and do everything in your power to live a more fulfilling life.

Plan ahead and take things slowly so you'll feel confident about your new path.

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