While practicalities are essential, an equally important aspect to consider is your emotional readiness.
Prepare to be patient. Like most things, a career change doesn’t happen overnight. “Be prepared to have to persuade other people to buy into your vision and give you a chance,” says Recruitment Specialist Helen Cooper. “Just because people who’ve worked with you know that you’re brilliant, that doesn’t mean the people in your new environment will be laying out a red carpet. You’ll need to be resilient.”
Create a list of the skills you have that will work well in your new field. Work on cultivating those skills and acquiring others that will help you. This doesn’t necessarily mean enrolling for courses: it could also mean reading up on your new field and researching what the latest developments are in that space. “It’s a good idea to attend some industry events and expos because that’s where all the knowledge you want will be easily found,” advises Cooper.
Start shifting your personal life to suit the career change that’s coming. “People often fail to consider the fact that other parts of their lives will be affected by a career change – and sometimes these are parts they like,” cautions psychologist Diane Benson.
“Your current career might allow you to pick up the kids early on Wednesdays, but you may not have that flexibility initially to do that after your move, so start implementing changes now. This will prevent others having to adjust to them suddenly, especially young children.”
READ MORE: Why a career plan is essential
Self-doubt is an enemy you’ll have to fight. Your transition might be a smooth one, but it’s bound to include a few setbacks and unpleasant surprises. “Self-doubt and a lack of patience are more responsible for people quitting a new career than any other factors,” says executive coach Busisiwe Hlatshwayo.
“Expect bad moments, when your mind tells you to quit. I suggest having a support network of people who’ll remind you why you made the decision to change careers and why you’ll succeed in the new one. You’ll need that encouragement in tough times, when self-doubt tells you that you made a big mistake.”