3 Ways to Prepare for Your Career Change

Career changes are common in today’s society. Most people change careers due to dissatisfaction with their current job or because of major life changes. Some examples include getting married, having children, or taking care of aging family members. Whether a person is changing careers for financial or other reasons, there are several important steps to take to be fully prepared:

1) Financial preparedness:

One of the most important steps is becoming financially prepared for a career change. In most cases, a person must go back to college to earn a different degree or take several classes in order to make a change. This requires money for tuition and books. Some people may be able to pay out of pocket, and others will require student loans or grants. Financial counselors at an educational institution can advise prospective students about their options.

For those who prefer to stay out of debt, a strategic budget will be necessary. This is especially true if work hours must also be cut in order to allow ample time to study. People who have families to support must think about how the budget changes will affect family members. Financial experts suggest adults returning to school take the following steps to save money:

  1. Relative plans – Look into plans that allow relatives to contribute gift money toward educational expenses.
  2. Research education tax benefits – Adults who are repaying past student loans can deduct the interest they pay to contribute toward a refund or lower their tax liabilities.
  3. Research state tax benefits – Some states have better benefits for college savings plans than others. Reviewing the guidelines and using tax-advantaged options can help cut costs considerably.

2) Social preparedness:

Many people who are looking to change careers may find that the extra time required for studying cuts down on their time to socialize. It is easy to give in to the temptation to put off coursework in place of socializing.

While some socializing is good, it is important to set limits ahead of time. People who have commitments that are not necessary but are likely to be a hindrance should back out of those activities in advance to ensure they will not become problematic.

For those who have families, this step can be a major challenge. It is important to put family before social commitments when returning to school, but it is also crucial to find the right balance of studying, work, and family time.

3) Mental preparedness:

Financial and social preparedness is important, but they will not be fail-proof without mental preparedness. Career transition experts point out that one of the most vital parts of being mentally prepared is having the proper motivation. People who are not sure if they want to make a completely different career change can always request to switch departments at a job. This may still require some additional training.

For those who are unsure, experts recommend considering whether the job tasks or the supervisors and coworkers are the problems. If the problem involves other workers, a transfer to another department may be not only possible but also more favorable.

As is true with most types of changes, there are risks and rewards to consider with switching careers. Some of the risks may include a reduction in salary, possible job dissatisfaction, or inability to find a job after receiving training. To avoid these risks, it is important to work with an educational adviser who can recommend growing fields and jobs that suit personal needs or preferences. Assuming they are made for the right reasons, the rewards have fewer limits than the risks associated with job changes. It is impossible to put a universal value on job satisfaction, lowered stress, more money, a better schedule, a job that is less physically demanding, or being able to spend more time with family members. These are all common benefits.

When making a career change, the key is to make sure the absolute benefits of the change outweigh the possible negatives.

Author: Alex Espenson is a writer and blogger. Follow him at @alexespenson.

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