An office worker who became a baker. A sales executive who became a National Park ranger. An Army veteran who became a music agent. They all had different routes to success, but there are a few pieces of hard-earned wisdom they all offer to anyone thinking about switching to a radically different career.
1. Have a money cushion.
Figure out how much savings you'll need, whether to start your own business, acquire necessary education or be unemployed while hunting for a position in your new field. And don't forget to allow for unexpected setbacks.
2. Make over your financial lifestyle.
When people feel trapped in their current job, it's often because they need every penny of their income to support their debt and make-it-spend-it lifestyle. They just can't afford to take the lower pay that will come with starting over in a new career. Don't let this be you.
3. Do tons of research.
A career may seem fun and glamorous from the outside, but what is it really like to work at it day in and day out? You may love to cook so much that you want to be a professional chef, but do you know that chefs typically work 70 to 80 hours per week? Before you make a final decision, network with people in the industry and get the real score.
4. Take baby steps.
Yeah, you want to quit your current job and take the plunge tomorrow. But that will leave you totally unprepared for what's ahead. Many career changers got their start by moonlighting or volunteering in their desired field, gaining knowledge that turned out to be extremely useful when they did make the leap. If they needed a degree or certification, they started with a night course or two.
A major career change faces you with great challenges; but the rewards can be even greater. By being practical, making a plan and taking one step at a time, you can have the career of your dreams.