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A lot of people tell me that they can't afford to make a career
"I can't give up my lifestyle"
"I need to get the kids through private education and
"My partner lives for our holidays"
The first thing to notice here is that there is an assumption that
a career change means earning less money. The other thing I can tell you is
that when I ask whether they've done their sums or had conversations with their
family, the answer is generally.... "No".
So, this week we're going to talk about money and I apologise if
this is an unsavoury topic for you. It's time for some tough love!
Will I Earn Less Money?
Many people assume that making a change means starting again, at
the bottom of the ladder and therefore on a low salary. Whilst this might be
the case for some career changes, it is not true for all career changes.
If your career desire is to get some more meaning and purpose into
your career, you may well come to me saying that you want to work for a Charity.
This can feel like a simple route to get more meaning into your career and
charities do tend to pay lower salaries, it's true. But there are many other
industries and companies outside the Charity sector that could imbue your work
with meaning whilst maintaining your salary at the same time. Have you thought
about and researched any of these?
If your career desire is to have more flexibility and autonomy,
perhaps you're thinking about setting yourself up as a freelancer, consultant
or solopreneur. Many people assume that this will hit them financially,
particularly at the beginning when they leave full-time employment to something
seemingly more uncertain.
The assumption here is that you need to make a "cliff
edge" transition: leaving one role completely to move into a new area.
This is rarely the case. Most people make a gradual transition or start a side
hustle to test the market. You may remember that this was the advice that
Roderic Yapp gave in the Career Conversations interview last month. A gradual transition may be continuing to work part-time in
employment or, like I did, making your last employer your first client. In this
way you can guarantee a certain level of income whilst starting to build up
your new client base.
Can I Afford to Earn Less Money?
Funnily enough, the people
that say they can't afford to make a career change have very rarely looked into
it at all. There are two main reasons cited: personal desire to maintain
lifestyle and family's desire to maintain lifestyle. Let's take a look at these
Firstly, have you ever had
a really close look at your monthly outgoings and worked out what you might be
able to comfortably do without? When I first set up my business, I did a few
things that made a huge difference: I gave up my expensive gym membership for
the local leisure centre (half the price); I gave up my weekly horse riding
lessons; we limited the amount of times we ate out in restaurants; and we
changed how we holidayed. I even cancelled magazine subscriptions and other
little bits that would leave my account here and there.
These were all done as
interim measures to take the financial pressure off the transition until such
time as the income was more reliable.
I have to say that I barely
noticed the difference. Eating out became a real treat and we cooked more
delicious meals at home. Holidays were more about having adventures in our
camper in the UK or France but brilliant and memorable holidays nonetheless.
Life became simpler and no less enjoyable.
The second reason cited above
"the family's desire to maintain the lifestyle" is even more
interesting. Because NOBODY I've ever asked has actually had that conversation
with their family!
"Darling, I have a
burning desire to set up my own business which would make me really happy. It
would probably mean that I would earn less for the first 12 months but I've
worked out that I could be back to my full earning potential, if not more,
within 18 months at the latest. I've done some sums and it would mean that we
need to holiday in the UK this year as well as only eating out once a
fortnight. I've also cancelled my subscription at the gym and am going to do
Coach to 5K instead. What do you think?"
It's a starting point!
What to do now
If you have a strong desire
to make a career change but don't think you can afford to:
If this subject matter has piqued your interest in working with me
(if you don't already), please do let me know and we can have a chat about
different ways of working together. I have two coaching slots becoming
available in November so now might be a good time to connect!
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