Where do you want to be in five years? Do you have a clear idea? What motivates you to climb the corporate ladder? Before making a career change, you must have a clear reason. Second, it’s important that you document where you are today. In project management, this is known as your baseline. In other words, you must know your starting point.
In some cases, people make a change to improve their compensation. For others, pay is just part of the equation. Many people want a better balance between work and life. Surprisingly, some people want bigger challenges. They might be in a rut, and it’s time to head in a different direction. Instead of remaining complacent, they are prepared to make a big leap. While this move might appear risky, these go-getters are interested in the potential for future rewards.
When you are ready to initiate a change, here are some factors to address:
#1: What is your strategy?
Your strategy is composed of your mission and vision. Mission is what defines you. In other words, what do you want to be when you grow up? For many people, their career choice changes as they mature. At one point, you wanted to teach third grade students, but you now want to travel the world. To begin that journey, you are thinking of pursuing an online International Business degree.
Your vision allows you to take a long-term perspective. You are able to take a step back and consider the benefits. You picture yourself managing project teams in Zurich, Switzerland, or in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By creating goals, your actions become aligned with your vision.
#2: What is your business case?
The business case is your version of the cost/benefit analysis. In other words, what must you give up to receive the benefits? For those who are leaving an entire industry, this change might require more education, training, or on the job experience.
You must carefully plan how long it will take to get on your feet. This move might mean accepting a salary less than you are making now. Of course, you have done your homework, and understand the impact of delayed gratification.
#3: What is your first action item?
Nothing happens until you create a plan, identify the key action items, and begin working on Activity #1. Taking the first step is always difficult, and you can expect challenges. Some people, even friends and family, will criticize you for pursuing your dreams. You must have the commitment and perseverance to continue with the plan.
It’s important that you seek guidance from professionals in the chosen industry. The more successful these people are, the more they are willing to help. When you demonstrate that you are serious, they will do whatever possible to help you succeed. Finding a mentor can make a huge difference in your transition period.
Many of us know that it’s time to make a change, but we are afraid to get started. In some cases, the fear is real but, most of the time, it is imagined. Regardless, if the career change is important to you, it will take more than fear to stop you from realizing your long-term goals.