Some of you out there might feel that the title’s a bit misleading. How can any adult with the responsibilities that come along with life possibly change their entire career in less than 2 months?
If this sounds like you, it’s time to take off your pessimist’s cap and get to work on your exit and entry plan. After all, what would you do if you walked into your job tomorrow and they gave you walking papers and (if you’re lucky) a little severance package to help ease the blow?
Answer: You’d find a new job tout-de-suite, wouldn’t you? At least if you were smart and don’t like putting things off til the last minute you would. It’s funny how so many people have to be forced into anything requiring a little change for a lot of reward.
Anyhow, you want to change careers. Here’s how to do it in less time than it takes to fully recover from childbirth – even less if you’re good at multitasking!
Week 1: Figure out your budget
If you still live with mommy and daddy, disregard. I mean, paying for the roof over your head is a must. If you get stuck not having beer money for a while, that might end up being a godsend, in addition to the coming career change in your life.
It should be obvious that essentials need to come first: food, shelter, electricity, water, other obligatory monthly bills and laundry money (so you don’t make entirely the wrong impression on the new people coming into your life soon!) After that, coming a close second are whatever services you desperately need to have like your Netflix subscription, etc.
Figure out what you need, what can be cut if necessary, and just how long you can go without making a dime. See How to Create a Monthly Budget
Week 2: Set up your new social branding plan
How many of us keep our LinkedIn profile updated while we’re toiling away in a “comfortable” job? Not many. However, once you start to put your feelers out, you want recruiters and the like to be able to see what you look like on paper. This goes for other platforms too, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat – whatever you use.
Most important is to make sure everything people see when they search your social profiles (and don’t be naïve, they will) is inline with the professional brand you want to become. If you’ve worked in automotive sales for the last 20 years and are now embarking on a career as a hair stylist, your current profiles aren’t going to do much to promote you as a haircare genius, are they?
Also, make sure you seek out and start to interact with influential people on their social accounts. For instance, if you want to be an authority content provider, it would be a really good idea to start hitting up industry big-wigs such as editors and contributors who work for the platforms you’ll be soliciting in your new role.
Make sure your online brand matches the career you’re moving toward. Also, clean up any trashy stuff like drunken or sexy pictures, and stop tweeting obscene jokes to your followers – at least until you successfully make the shift!
Week 3: Network like you’ve never networked before
“What do you do for a living?” is among the most common questions asked amongst strangers. Especially at networking events and other kinds of social gatherings. Of course, you can just tell people what you’re doing right now, but why not also mention what you plan to be doing a month or two from now, and why you’re so passionate about doing it?
Say you’re a plumber with a penchant for writing satire. You know you’re good and you’re eager to find work with a popular online or offline magazine or blog. In order to move as quick as possible and score a gig, you want to have as many feelers out there as possible. It could end up being anyone who helps you get an “in” with the right people, from a stock broker who knows the editor of the Onion – or a grocery store clerk whose brother works for Inc.
Of course, you would do this after informing your current employer and coworkers that you’re planning a career change. Just in case!
Week 4: Soak in as much info related to your new career as possible
I’m not going to hold your hand and layout the exact training blueprint for your desired new field. Only you know what you want to do, and hopefully you have the wherewithal to know or find out what publications, events, and mentors are available to you for research.
If you want to become a stock trader, get on with people like Francis Hunt – sign up for his courses and seminars. Wanna become an online guru? Read Frank Kern’s stuff and sign up to get on his list and courses. Maybe you want to become a successful indie author on Amazon? Start reading Joe Konrath’s blog immediately and soaking in all the wisdom he shares on it.
Soak up as much free information as you can and make sure to read reviews and ask people you trust before laying out too much cash on the paid stuff.
During this time, you also want to make sure you have all the equipment and tools (software, router, Internet access, router, printer, pens, paper, scissors, etc.) you’ll need to slip into your new role as seamlessly as possible. The big money won’t come right away and you may not have the cash to spare after quitting your current job. Think ahead and consider this an investment in who and where you truly want to be.
Week 5: Have some serious fun and chill
“Hah!” you must be saying right about now. So the advice has so far fell in line with what you thought it might, but certainly fun isn’t on the menu, is it?
Why not? You’re going to have to work your buns off in the coming weeks, months, years – whatever. Why wait until the wolf’s at the door and you’re under the gun before having some stress-busting, down-to-goodness fun?
You seriously need to recharge at this point and allow your subconscious to work over all the details, including the challenges you’ll face in your new career. The stress and strain of planning and later executing such a major life change can send the best of us straight to the loonie bin for a week of poking and prodding by doctors and nurses, if we’re not careful. I’m not kidding either.
If you’re a Netflix junkie, check out the latest original programming like Narcos or House of Cards – watch an entire season or series and just relax. Do this for a couple of days at the most though, or you might find your dreams of a fresh new career shifting toward being a slovenly couch potato on welfare!
If you can mix in some serious physical activities in during this “recharge time” that would be even better, since exercise burns off extra cortisol (ie., stress hormone) better than sitting around does. Yes, we need it, but too much can cause a myriad of nasty problems that aren’t conducive to making positive life changes.
Here’s a pro-tip: If you can have a friend, spouse or even better, a domineering parent make you accountable during week 5 to make sure you don’t slip off the rails indefinitely, you’re all set. And this part is highly recommended, to ensure laziness or fear of how your future desires will unfold don’t grip too great a hold over you.
Week 6: What are you waiting for?
Yeah, it’s scary. Things might not work out the way you planned. In fact, they probably won’t and that might be the best thing ever when it comes time to write your life story. There will be some dips in the road, but also some incredible highs that’ll leave you patting yourself on the back for setting a goal and sticking to it despite the challenges.
If your career change takes longer than 6 weeks, or even 6 months to unfold, don’t sweat it.
Just make sure the delay isn’t because you’re still sitting on the fence, planning for a future that won’t start until you take the first step.
Cheers – much success to your career change journey!