No longer do we live in a culture where a job is ‘for life’. With the wealth of resources and opportunities the internet brings, pursuing side interests and making career changes is nowhere near as difficult as it used to be. However, if you are juggling family life with a job, preparing yourself for a career change can be quite a feat – suddenly 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough.
Making a career change rarely involves simply applying for a job that takes your interest, getting it and starting on Monday morning. It can be quite a time-consuming process; researching the career and further training, completing any training, applying for jobs in mass, interviewing, interviewing some more… We all get the picture. How do people do this without impacting family life?
Of course there will need to be some adjustments, but with a few different strategies and by making the most of the readily available resources; the impact can be minimal and the transition can be a smooth and stress free one.
Ensure you have realistic expectations
Before embarking on a complete career change, ensure that you know exactly what the new career will entail – from how competitive it may be to enter, to what your progression might look like in ten years.
Being unhappy in your current job is a big career change driver. Whilst this is as good a reason as any, it is important that you carefully analyse how green the grass really is on the other side. All too often careers which seem glamorous from the outside transition to the mundane on closer inspection.
By putting this time and effort into knowing why you want to make a career change and how this new career will enhance your life, you can avoid any future disruption to you and your family further down the line.
Make sure you are fully supported
Having ‘buy in’ from your partner or those closest to you can make life a lot easier when pushing for a career change. If your decision is supported, those closest to you will encourage your pursuits and be flexible with affording you the time and space you may need.
Communication is key to getting the support you need. Before making a decision to change careers, relay your reasons for wanting to make a change to those closest to you; what you do and how you feel undoubtedly impacts more than just yourself.
Get lots of free and flexible training
Nowadays, there is very little you can’t learn without the aid of the Internet. Whether its video tutorials on YouTube or step by step instructions from WikiHow, before you enrol on a course that requires ‘time out’ from your schedule, explore what free/affordable options are available. The advantage of online training is that you can complete stages whenever suits you, pause and return as many times as you need to.
Technology however isn’t your only options. Most professions offer short conferences and training courses that are free or at least extremely affordable. To keep an eye out for these opportunities; start subscribing to industry specific websites and magazines.
Choose good training courses
For many professions, the internet is not the best source of training. Sometimes you do need to be led by a teacher and enrol on a “real” training course (perhaps your new profession is certificated).
Take your time when choosing a training course. Regardless of what area of work you intend to pursue, there will most likely be various training options. Take the time to research course content, costs, provided materials and course providers. Most good training companies provide customer reviews – take the time to read those associated with the course you will be enrolling on.
Keep in mind that making a career change doesn’t always have to be disruptive and expensive, providing you always shop around before making final decisions.
Network and be a part of communities
Parenting networks, professional networks and social hubs are great places to speak with like minded people and gain some free advice. In today’s society most have made at least one career change, having immediate access to 1st hand experience can provide invaluable retrospective advice.
Networking is a great source of advice and information, both from those looking to make a similar career change and those who have already made one.
Making a career change whilst leading a busy and responsibility-filled life does not have to be a stressful, near-impossible feat. With some outside-the-box thinking and clever resource allocation you can reduce the impact of the transition.
Nick Williams works for Acuity Training in the UK and helps on their time management training courses. Acuity also have a range of technical courses including advanced excel training.