Changing Careers? Consider these.

I’m a 33-year old happily married guy, a father to one and a frustrated IT-professional. After 9 years of being in the IT-industry, I decided to call it quits and start over in a new industry. Before I took the leap though, I made sure I was ready not just financially, but psychologically as well. Here’s a list of things I considered to prepare myself for the life-changing move.

  1. I asked, why am I quitting? I spent a lot of time thinking why I wanted to quit. Some issues I realized I can address without resigning, however, there were a lot more that can be resolved by quitting. I’ve made a list in my blog ( Before quitting, list down the factors that makes you want to quit and see if there’s any way they can be addressed without quitting. In your list, you might realize that your reasons for quitting might be petty and not worth the risk you are taking.
  2. Take a break. It took me a good 2 years of contemplating and waiting before I quit my IT job. In between those 2 years, I took a number of long breaks to see if my desire to quit was just because of too much stress in the office. I didn’t want to make a kneejerk reaction and end up regretting it. I suggest, take a 2-week to 1-month break from work and see how you feel after that.
  3. What’s your financial contingency? I’m actually lucky that my move to a new industry came with an allowance package that somehow matched whatever I’m getting from my IT-job. Despite this though, I still had a contingency plan in place. We’ve built a contingency fund that’s 4-5 months worth. Worst case scenario (knock on wood), if I ended up losing any financial compensation, we’ll survive a good 4-5 months without being in debt.
  4. Review your cash flow. I never really appreciated budgeting until recently. I’ve allocated my salary to every expense I would incur every month. Then I list down my daily expenses to ensure I don’t exceed my budget. This gave me a good view on what type of expenses I would have to cut down on in case I end up in my worst case scenario.
  5. What about your health benefits? Medicine reimbursements, waived consultation fees on health card accredited doctors for me, my wife and my kid, vaccine and vitamings reimbursements, and hospitalization benefits are just a few of the benefits I would lose if I quit. The costs of these things are no joke. Luckily for me, my allowance package got me extra money I can use to get my own health insurance. But in case you end up not having any health coverage, you can: 1) scout for health insurances for you and your family before quitting, and then include payment for your health insurance in your budget or 2) ensure your contingency fund can cover any emergency health issues (safe is to have at least 6-12 months worth of contingency).
  6. What will I do now? As soon as I decided I wanted to quit, I had to think about what I wanted to do. I definitely didn’t want to bum around. So before I resigned, I listed type of jobs I wanted and the companies I wanted to work for.
  7. Consider Part-time. In case you have not decided on what you intend to do after resigning, try doing some things on a part time basis even before quitting.
  8. Time your quitting. The last thing I wanted to do when I quit is to piss off my boss. So before I quit, I will make sure that I finish all my commitments and I will leave only after I’ve had smooth transition to my successor. This allows me to have another safety net in case I decide to go back to working in the IT industry.
  9. Support from family and friends. I am very lucky to have very strong support groups when it comes to my career. When all else fails, at least you know that your family and friends have your back and are ready to help.
  10. Read The Dip by Seth Godin. I was intrigued by this book when I came across it in the bookstore, so I bought it. It’s a 70+ page book that changed my mindset about quitting. It also made me realize why I wanted to leave the IT industry for good. The Dip is a good read for those thinking about quitting their current careers.

Good luck!

This piece was originally posted in Mr. Stock Smarts and fellow RFP Marvin Germo’s blog.


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