Change Can Be Wonderful When You Make it Strategically
As human beings, we are hard-wired to be reluctant to change. We prefer the familiar, the predictable, the strategy that gives us the long view. Sometimes, though, we begin to feel the overwhelming urge to make a career change. Many people ignore the nagging feeling because it’s easier to maintain the status quo than embark on a transition that may be overwhelming or stressful. For those who choose to pursue a career pivot bravely, there can be opportunity and fulfillment waiting on the other side.
If you find yourself seriously considering a career change, you’ll need to determine the Why, What, and How. Let’s dig in.
Everyone – business owners and career professionals alike – have moments when they question their career paths. It may be that you’re going through a tough season at work where you feel less than inspired, or it may be that you are genuinely ready for a change. Before making any big moves, it’s crucial to evaluate exactly why you desire a change. Usually, your situation will fall into one of three categories:
- You’re feeling unfulfilled at work.
- You’re feeling unfulfilled in your personal life.
- You’ve reached a growth ceiling in your current position.
If you fall into the first category, dig in a little deeper and ask yourself a few questions. How long have you been feeling unfulfilled? Can you put your finger on what it is about your current role that isn’t meeting your needs? Are you merely lacking a challenge, or is the work/industry not working for you anymore? As you answer these questions for yourself, be realistic about whether a career pivot is what you need, and listen to your intuition.
If it’s an unfulfilling personal life that has you feeling uninspired in general, it’s easy to mistake it for a problem with work/life balance, or even a cash flow issue. Sometimes, you can correct these things within the confines of your existing job through conversations with your boss about your time commitments or a well-deserved pay increase. Think about whether your issue can be fixed without a career pivot before you undertake a significant change.
If you’ve reached a growth ceiling, financial, or otherwise, a pivot away from your current job or industry can seem quite appealing. However, consider whether something like consulting or freelancing within your current sector could meet your needs before you pivot away from your many years of experience.
Understanding the “why” behind your desire for change is an excellent indicator of your next best move. Make sure you spend some time identifying what it is before you determine your path forward.
Once you decide to pivot, the possibilities may be vast. Whatever change you make will impact your life, not just your career, but also prepare for it. Typically, there are three ways to pivot:
- Seek out a new job.
- Pursue a new industry.
- Forge an original path forward in your current industry.
Choosing to look for a new job could mean within your current company, with competitors, or in a closely related industry. You might find a better salary, more convenient hours, or coworkers you jive with better than your current team. You might also find a way to utilize better a skill set you’d like to grow. Consider whether this solution can bring you the change you need to feel more connected and inspired by your work.
Pivoting to a brand-new industry is an exciting – and sometimes challenging – proposition. On the one hand, you might find that you have a specialization that fits nicely into a new field. On the other hand, you need to be sure that this type of change would accomplish what you’re hoping it will, providing more meaning and enjoyment in your work. The old “grass is greener on the other side” adage applies here, making sense to research before making this kind of career change. Talk to people already working within the new industry you’re considering and ask discerning questions. This process will help you ensure that your current work problems don’t follow you to your new job.
Sometimes, you may need to reimagine your future path at your current job to solve your work problems. For example, maybe you truly love the company you work for, but your middle management role has you feeling burnt out. In a case like this, it may be worth talking to your human resources department about possible opportunities within your company. For example, there may be a project management role that would allow you to utilize your skills and experience, but which does not require managing people. Pivoting within your company in this sort of way can be an excellent solution because it allows you to leave behind the unfulfilling parts of your job, while also preserving what you do like about it.
No matter which type of pivot you land on, it will require strategy and planning – especially financially. It’s dangerous to make a significant change without thinking through its short- and long-term impact on your finances, so look before you leap. Plan to pivot properly using these three steps:
- Step 1: Choose Your Pivot
You’ve examined your “why” and your “how”, and now you must choose you “what.” Determine what you want to accomplish with your pivot, weigh the pros and cons of your options, then choose your path forward.
- Step 2: Don’t Fly Blind
Even if you think you know enough about your chosen pivot, it’s essential to do lots of research. If you’re pursuing a new industry, make sure you know the average salary. If you want to begin freelancing, make sure you understand the tax implications, and so on. This is the step you must force yourself to think with your head instead of your heart so that you know exactly what you’re getting into financially.
- Step 3: Set Your Expectations
Any career pivot will mean starting a new chapter in your life, both career-wise and in your personal life. While you might be very excited at the prospect of new day-to-day at work, it’s important to look outside of that. Will there be new demands on your time that will impact your friends and family? Will you have to take a pay cut that changes your ability to vacation with friends or drive a new car every few years? Think about the best- and worst-case scenarios and set reasonable expectations for this new phase of life.
Consider Utilizing a Financial Planner
You are worthy of a career that inspires you and gives your life meaning. However, you must also balance your financial goals against any career pivots. Making a decision too quickly or failing to think through an aspect like retirement planning could hurt you in the long run.
This is why it behooves you to brainstorm any proposed pivot with a financial advisor. Expert advice from someone with your unique goals and finances in mind can make all the difference in making your career dreams a reality.
If you’re ready to make a change, please contact us today. We can help you put a financial plan in place that supports your career moves now and into the future, allowing you to build the meaningful life and career you’ve always dreamed of.