Assessing the Stability of Your Career Change
All too often people considering making a career change think that taking that initial leap into the unknown is the biggest challenge.
While it is certainly true that it can be a very daunting decision to actually make a career change, perhaps it can often overlooked just how important some of the practicalities of that decision actually are.
One such practicality that is readily overlooked is how stable your new chosen career really is. Many people taking the leap think that passion and determination alone will carry them through and guarantee their new career will pay the mortgage and everyone will live happily ever after.
Unfortunately that’s just not true.
So how do you know if you have enough passion and determination, and if you have enough of the other skills and qualities needed to get you through difficult times? We’ve all seen pretty little coffee shops open up, with a beaming ex-City high-flyer keen to sell their cupcakes, only to close down within the year. Did these people just not have enough passion, or was there something else that got in the way? Or the ex-marketing manager who set up a life coaching consultancy only to go back to full-time employment when the sums didn’t add up. Were they just bad with money or did they not do their homework?
Belief and PracticalityThe first point to note is that while passion and determination are imperative, they only count for anything if the market conditions are right for your chosen career change. There’s no point leaving a not-too-bad steady job to retrain as an estate agent when we’re experiencing the biggest property dip in decades for example, but maybe designing a fresh new property website that charges the sellers a fee would be more realistic? Or opening a women’s boutique on an industrial estate is not the best idea, but finding a space on a well-to-do high street might be more likely to succeed.
It can be very hard to assess your how stable your career change might be when you’ve already been blind-sided by the desire for something new. When you have the ambition for a new job or business, people pointing out the ‘what ifs’ is unlikely to please you, but you do have to be realistic. Even though you won’t want to surround yourself with naysayers that drag you down, you do need to be as objective as possible when it comes to the longer term stability of your new career. See if you can find someone that has your best interests at heart, understands the market and can give good advice – truth is this is unlikely to be a family member, but could be the small business manager at your local bank, someone from Business Link or a person in a local business or community group. Don’t be shy – people love to help, and it could make all the difference to the success of your career change.
How to Get Valuable InformationWhat kind of questions should you be asking in order to assess the stability of your career change? How can you predict what may or may not happen when the biggest economic recession seemed to take even the experts by surprise? Well, all you can do is commit to finding out as much as possible. If you’re thinking of renting a local shop for example, find out why the shop is empty in the first place. Stand outside it with a clipboard and canvas opinions – again, people love to talk! Ask them what used to be there, what was there before that (in many towns there’s a few shops that are perpetually changing and can never shake off a negative image), and what services they’d like to see in the town instead. If you’re planning to join a new company, do some research into the organisation before you hand in your notice – see if you can find out any financial information online, or details of their recent product launches or new acquisitions – anything that will help you paint a picture about the future performance of the company. Google is your friend! It’s a great way to see what people are saying about a particular company and will help you to stay informed.
The most important thing throughout this whole process is to stay open minded. Sometimes, when you want something so badly you happily allow yourself to ignore anything bad that might jeopardise your chances, but as long as you don’t get stuck too far the other way into a spiral of negativity and end up thinking it’s better to stay with ‘the devil you know’, it’s better to be prepared before you make a career change you might regret. And if you only find out good news, you can be even more passion about your future!