Hey Taylor: I think I’m ready to chang— career paths after working as an assistant at a small firm for the last few years. How I’ll make money is a concern, but I’m just as worried about falling into another job that isn’t fulfilling. I guess my question is: how do I put enough time into finding a cool job without running out of money first? — Will
Hey Will: It’s sort of a catch 22, isn’t it? You can’t find the right job unless you really look for it, but you can’t make a living if you spend all your time looking for the right job.
There isn’t an easy answer to this question since so much depends on the career you’re hoping to start. One thing I would definitely recommend is that you do some intense budgeting to figure out how much you realistically need to earn each month in order to support yourself.
People frequently turn down jobs because they think the pay is too low, when in reality they’re just too accustomed to overspending. It’s important to remember that you want to change careers because you’d like to lead a more fulfilling life, and a high salary doesn’t always equate to personal fulfillment.
It might seem crazy, but I’ve seen a lot of people go back to school in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, and more often than not they’re glad they made the decision. Re-entering academia can seem like a step backward, but you should view it as an investment in your future. As long as you can afford tuition and can make the schedule work, it can really pay off down the road.
Now, let’s say going back to school isn’t an option and you aren’t entirely sure what career you want to pursue. If this is your scenario, don’t lose hope. Instead, get creative in how you approach this potential career change. Thanks to the internet, part-time work and schooling are available to almost everyone. Without leaving your current job, you can start to dabble in other areas of interest and see what you gravitate toward.
Gaining clarity as to what you really want is incredibly important for anyone considering a change in profession. If you act impulsively, you could end up leaving a good job for a situation that turns out to be much worse. Working a few hours a week in another field can help you identify what kind of change you’re really looking for.
Above all, keep in mind that finding a job is hard work. If you’re waiting for a fun gig with great pay to fall into your lap, you’ll probably be waiting all your life. However, if you spend your weekends and evenings putting in the effort to start a new career, you’ll have a lot more success. Keep at it and best of luck, Will.