Tips for a Successful Career Change

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One of the components of today’s middle and high school education is choosing a career pathway.  Beginning with 6th grade, children are encouraged to consider what kind of career or job they would like to have and begin to focus on classes and extracurricular activities that will prepare them for their career of choice.  Who would think that middle-school children would have any idea of what a career is, let alone choose one that early?  Lots of adults who chose a major in college find that they can’t find a job, or the career they prepared for isn’t what they want after all.

Changing careers too often used to be a no-no if you wanted to impress a potential employer.  You were labeled a “job-hopper.”  Not anymore.  Changing careers is a matter of course.  The Wall Street Journal reported that most Americans will change jobs seven times over the course of their careers.  If you’re thinking about making a change, there are some things to consider.

Making a career change can be exciting and terrifying at the same time.  Making a change from a salary or hourly- based job to a sales job can be even more frightening.  Sales jobs based in part or whole on commission are a huge change from collecting a paycheck each week.  Going from the security of a paycheck requires planning, especially financial planning.

It can take time to build up a clientele and commissions.  Making less money is one problem, but making a lot more can pose a problem too.  One way to avoid making a financial mistake is to consider the tax implications of changing jobs.  The Business Insider recommends talking to a financial planner about how your higher salary will affect your tax status.  Moving into a higher tax bracket can make the extra income disappear.  Talking to an accountant or tax adviser can help you consider different scenarios and make adjustments in your tax deductions to make tax time predictable.

The thought of a lucrative sales career can make some reckless with spending.  What will you need for the new sales job?  Will the old car do, or do you need a more impressive, luxury car to transport clients and customers?  What about a new wardrobe?  Setting up a home office with computers, printers, stationery and even a part-time assistant can be expensive.  Before you leave your steady, safe salaried job, do the math.  Can you build up sales and commissions fast enough to cover the costs?

Set up a budget.  Six months of living expenses is a good rule of thumb when changing jobs is your choice.  The first three months of any new job is a testing ground.  Will they like you?  Do you like them?  Is it right for you?  Most turnover occurs within the first 90 days of a new job.  Can you make ends meet during the initial 90 days and beyond?

You can help yourself be successful by examining your reasons for changing careers.  Are you running away from a job that you found you’re not really good at or feel comfortable with?  An article in the Huffington Post warns against changing for the wrong reasons.  Making a change too quickly or picking a career that isn’t “you” can add stress instead of making work more enjoyable.  Everyone has bad days (or weeks) on the job.  Giving up too easily or fast could result in losing a job that was really the right one after all. 

Photo source courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

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