Increase Your Feelings of Security During a Career Transition

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC

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Changing your career is an exciting and often a challenging time in your life. Embrace the new opportunities ahead of you while you manage the financial and psychological experiences that accompany the switch. It may also be helpful to know about the psychology of change as you work through this transition. This article may shed some light on the subject 6 Things You Need to Know About Change


Financial Aspects of a Career Transition


1.      Save up in advance. 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.Mint and EveryDollar by Dave Ramsey both offer free, online budgeting tools that may be helpful for you.

2.      Move to a cheaper place. Housing is one of the biggest living expense for many people. If your circumstances permit, consider moving to someplace less expensive. Here are some websites that may be helpful: and

3.      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. One of my favorite authors is Rachel Ray. You may find my Pinterest boards recipe boards helpful: Rachel Ray and Other Yummy Recipes and my lunch board helpful.

4.      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. Many communities offer free movies and exercise classes in the park too.

5.      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.

6.      Earn supplemental income. Extra income you can make on a flexible schedule is always nice. Consider freelance work or marketing your handicrafts. FlexJobs is a reputable site that offers telecommuting options.

7.      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.

8.      Be conservative about income projections. 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. When you negotiate, be sure to focus on the transferable skills that you already have that will be helpful in your current role. Here are some websites where you can research typical salaries: PayScale,  and The Occupational Outlook Handbook

Psychological Aspects of a Career Transition


1.      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 and ask for advice. Leverage your connections on LinkedIn

2.      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 be willing to car pool and/or alternate childcare responsibilities. If you have the budget, you may be able to hire some help via

3.      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. Write down your hopes, dreams, and plans. You may find this article helpful Creating What You Want in Life

4.      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. Many communities and churches offer these at no charge.

5.      Manage stress. Arm yourself with relaxation techniques that work for you. 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. You may find this article helpful 16 Empowering Beliefs to Live by Today

6.      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. A good website is: Volunteer Match

7.      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.

A career transition is a smart way to keep up with a changing economy and find work that is meaningful for you. Plan ahead and take things gradually so you’ll feel confident about your new path.