4 Important Thoughts For A Successful Career Transition
Career Coach Lori Bumgarner, M.Ed. loves helping people with transitions, which is tough because most people hate them.
My father doesn’t want to move to Florida because that’s quite a big change from Baltimore, Maryland.
My friend doesn’t want to become a freelancer because she’s afraid of how she’s going to pay her bills.
I’m afraid of working at the library down the street because I love working from the comfort of my own home (seriously).
The point is we can all be afraid of transitions, especially regarding our career, because there’s so much riding on what we DO for a living.
As I spoke with Lori Bumgarner, she offered up a couple things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of a transition of your own.
Here are all four:
1. Give Yourself Permission
What are you “supposed” to be doing? My brilliant friend who’s considering quitting her job seems to be weighed down by the demands of student loan payments. She’s “supposed” to be responsible enough to guarantee they’re paid, right? That’s what responsible recent graduates do.
The only problem is those responsibilites are holding her back from pursuing something she really wants — a chance to be her own boss as a freelancer.
She isn’t giving herself permission. I know for a fact she could make enough to pay off her student loan bills AND freelance full-time, but she wouldn’t know that without making the jump herself. Lori echoes my thoughts:
“A lot of times people feel societal pressures,” she begins.
“They think: ‘You’re supposed to have a traditional job and you’re supposed to be responsible, and work’s not supposed to be fun.’ Well that’s not always true! Sometimes people feel guilty for wanting to do those things because of who they feel responsible for.
But most times by the time they get to me they’re realizing the negative impact it’s having on their family by not allowing themselves that. They know ‘I need to set a good example for my children, I need to be a happier person so my family wants to be around me,’ so there’s a lot of me giving them permission, and there’s also me helping them overcome their fear or stepping out of their comfort zone or having to take a leap of faith.”
It’s true. My friend’s quality of life is slowly declining due to her decision to stay at her job. If she decided to try something else, she’d not only uphold her financial responsibilities, but she’d also live a much happier life.
2. There Will Never Be A Good Time
I wrote a whole article on this topic before, but Lori sums it up just perfectly in a couple paragraphs below:
“There’s never a right time. Somebody in their 20’s might have student loans and people in their 40’s have a mortgage along with kids they want to be able to put through college.
There’s always going to be those financial demands. It’s just going to be at different stages in your life. Some of my older clients will say ‘I wish I wouldn’t have waited this long, I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time.’ If you’re feeling that calling and it feels like a nagging thing, see why that is. Explore it and see why the reason you’re being called to it.
As long as you can be creative with the safety net — you know safety nets don’t always have to look alike. It’s a good idea to try to get as creative as you can. It wasn’t like I quit my job, started my own business, done. No, I did work on the side for months before I ever thought about it. I networked for nine months until I had the confidence to leave that full-time job and take that leap of faith. Any time you do something like this it’s going to be a leap of faith, but there’s certain things you can do that can make something act like a safety net for you.”
3. It’s Not Too Late
Along the same lines as the second point, remember that it’s never too late to pursue your passions.
“I had so many people who hated their jobs working for the past ten years or so, and working so hard they didn’t realize they missed out on their families, haven’t seen their kids as much as they wanted to, or haven’t pursued their dreams.
So they think it’s too late, but I wanted to show them it’s not too late, it’s always a good time to pursue your passions even in the version of a full-time job, there’s ways to work that passion into your life so you feel fulfilled. That’s kind of how it came about and that’s why the focus is on career coaching with pursuit of your passions.”
As Lori stated before, you can work your passion into your life as a side-hustle before you make that full transition. Doing this will help you feel happier and improve the way you see the world and interact with others.
4. You Don’t Need More, You Need Less
One last reason so many people shy away from career transitions is because they won’t be making as much money (i.e. my brilliant friend). The problem is it’s much too narrow of a view to have.
While you may lose some things (financial compensation) there’s many things to gain from a career transition. Lori explains:
“I’m making less money working for myself right now than I did before working for someone else and I am so much happier and I have so much more time on my hands even though I run my own business and I work MORE hours. The thing is I get to pick and choose what hours those will be.
It doesn’t feel like work it feels like play to me almost. I didn’t think I would be able to live off of less than I was making. But yeah, I have been able to. And I’ve had to give up some things but the things I’ve given up are things I don’t miss.”
Recently Lori went to the Amazon on a Mission’s Trip. Her experience there ushered in a brand new perspective for her on life, and it’s one worth highlighting for you now:
“Having gone to the Amazon I see that they have nothing. They’re in the jungle. They don’t have doors, and the windows don’t have glass because it’s too hot and they don’t have air conditioning. So they have to keep that space open all the time to hopefully get a breeze through there.
It’s very basic living, yet I met some of the happiest people I’ve ever met in my life. They’re just not complicated by stuff or things.
I’m pretty much a minimalist to begin with, and I must say I’m much less stressed, and much more happy with life.