The idea of a career switch isn’t as radical or as daunting as it was just 10 years ago. As we realise that careers are dynamic and varied, more people are allowing themselves the room to change direction in line with their personal evolution. However, that doesn’t take away the anxiety and stress that come with making such a big move.

“When you’ve made the decision to change careers, you can start charting your way forward with some level of detail and that will help ease your stress,” says psychologist Diane Benson. “The more prepared you are for the fact that it won’t necessarily be easy, the better your odds of making the transition successfully.”

Recruitment specialist Helen Cooper says that before going through the list of things to do in preparation for your big move, there’s one factor that’s not negotiable.

“Getting to real grips with the new industry you’re about to embark on is always critical. It’s the step that many career-changers often ignore, but it’s the one that best helps you adjust realistically to a career that’s better suited to you. Just going off the strength of a fantasy almost always leads to a mismatch,” she warns.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION

Very few people are able to make the decision to switch and then act on it with speed. Most of us need months, if not years, to begin planning. If you’re hoping for a change in 2019, here are some actions you should be taking before the end of this year:

  • Use your network to find people who are already doing the job you want.“This will help you get a realistic sense of the career, including details to which you may not have had access before. These contacts will also be great in helping you find a position because recommendations often lead to successful job placement,” says executive coach Busisiwe Hlatshwayo.