How to Strategically Change Careers in 6 Months

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

How to Strategically Change Careers in 6 Months

Need to change careers within the next 6 months? But struggling with analysis paralysis? Career changes can be overwhelming. Sometimes we get stuck in over analyzing when trying to figure out what's next.

Stay in the same industry? Do something completely different? There's a lot to explore.

Sometimes possibilities seem endless while other times it seems limited. All at the same time! Remember, we don't need to have everything figured out now.

We can change directions at any time. Take the next step forward. "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Martin Luther King, Jr

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3 Essential Steps to Leave a Job + Switch Careers

When is it better to quit without another job lined up?

The ideal time to look for a job is when you already have one. Hands down, no question about it. But when is it okay to quit your job without another lined up?

Sometimes what we're afraid of doing is what will set us free. I was afraid of quitting my job without another one lined up. But I was so burned out from my corporate job.

It was to the point that it was hard to bring myself to make time to job search, update LinkedIn, edit resumes, schedule interviews, and so forth. It’s no joke when they say job searching is a full-time job.

So I quit first.

I used the time off to get my health, sanity and life back in alignment. And it sparked my interest in getting my finances in order too. I realized that I did not want to rely solely on an employer for a paycheck and health insurance.

Eventually, I kept working on my personal finances and I was able to reach retirement at 35! Yep, I got FIRE’d….financial independence retire early (FIRE) that is.

So there was that unexpected benefit from taking time off to heal. What came out of that Eat, Pray, Love soul searching journey was the start of my path to FIRE.

I do not recommend quitting without another job lined up. Ever.

It’s not for the faint of heart. However, you know yourself best. You know when you've hit a breaking point.

In the past, I quit my corporate job several times without a Plan B. Things worked out each time but it was definitely scary times.

What made it even more tough? Not having support from family and some close friends. Here’s the reality of what happened one time after I quit...

Even when the finances were in order, everything else in my life fell apart after my last job quit in 2017.

From an unexpected breakup to my dad getting into a car accident to ending up in the ER myself while traveling in Europe.

This all happened within a month.

In my mind, I equate being "jobless by choice" with the notion that the worst case scenario is going to happen in my personal life.

So when I wanted to relocate across the country, I had to really think things through. Even being financially independent, I had huge mental blocks. I was fearful of October 2017 repeating.

How to Strategically Change Careers in 6 Months

The key is to mentally, emotionally, physically and energetically prepare as much as possible in advance. Even without a Plan B lined up, you can still do a lot of heavy lifting.

So do yourself a favor and give yourself options. Start with getting your finances in order ASAP so that you have more options! This includes having a plan for debt management to planning ways to create positive cash flow.

Set up a protection plan.

What’s the worst case scenario? How are you going to protect yourself with your current resources, cash flow and insurance?

Remember, it’s not just about having all kinds of (sometimes unnecessary) insurance. Have at least a 6-month emergency fund to cover living expenses.

Here’s how I built my emergency fund in under 6 months.

Leaving a job is a big decision. It’s not always a black or white decision either. Throughout my career in the public and private sector, I’ve quit jobs several times.

A few of these quits did not include a Plan B. But hey, after learning the hard way how to quit a career, I can now provide strategic tips for your next career pivot.

My decision to leave without another job lined up may have seemed irrational on the surface. I had a mortgage and other monthly bills to pay.

Yet, things panned out well.

Not according to plan but still it all worked out. Despite months of unemployment, I was able to use that time to heal and gain clarity on what I wanted out of my work life.

However, I would not recommend that route to everyone. Being strategic with your quit is critical for eliminating unnecessary financial pressure and emotional stress.

With hindsight being 20/20, I learned how to quit better. Here are strategic ways to change careers in order to transition to your dream career.

1. Don’t run away FROM something. Run TO something.

You don’t need to have a Plan B mapped out with precision but at least have a roadmap to work off of. When I was focused on running away from office politics, I didn’t have any focus on what I wanted to run too. What I should have done was channel my energy on what I wanted to run towards.

For instance, if your intention is to get away as fast as possible from a bad boss, that’s fine as a motivator. But add direction to your motivational drive.

Otherwise, you could be spinning your wheels and wasting energy trying to figure out what’s next while unemployed (Exhibit A: Me when I quit the 1st time on impulse!)

2. Optimize every minute to raise your vibrations.

As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad, including free time. A recent study found that too little or too much leisure time can lead to a decline in happiness. Insufficient time when you are not busy doing something can induce stress, while an excess can lead to feeling idle.

Time is money. Money is energy. Heck, everything is essentially made up of energy. So it’s important to maximize the heck out of energy. After all, we only have a limited bandwidth each day.

The key to clearing career blocks is to align yourself to vibrate at the frequency of where you want to be in your professional life. Basically, raise your vibrations in order to get in the energetic flow.

When you operate on a higher vibrational frequency, you are better able to attract hidden opportunities, gain clarity, and have a career breakthrough.

3. F.I.R.E. like a boss.

Do you really want to run quickly towards a fire? In this case, yes. By FIRE, I mean Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE).

It’s time to get FIRE’d, build FIRE, be a FIRE-setter! Financial independence is accumulating enough assets that work becomes optional.

Several “unsuccessful job quits” led me to start my path to FIRE. I wanted to get my finances squared away so that work became optional.

What’s the fastest way to achieve early retirement? Real estate? Stocks? Side hustles? If FIRE is your goal, start by taking a hard look at your net worth.

When I started Not A Bond Girl, I wanted to connect with others for support in reaching FIRE. Once I achieved FIRE, I came across a lot of questions about best ways to achieve FIRE.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different. So what worked for me may not necessarily work for the masses. Regardless, it just takes small but consistent baby steps towards building your wealth.

It was the journey that made it fun. Not the destination.

Figuring out ways to make extra money to hit a target challenged me to use my creativity. It was fun to try different side hustles and experiment with different entrepreneurial ideas. I also met a lot of great people along the way.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being FIRE’d!

The next challenge after hitting FIRE is to decide what’s next. Suddenly, the possibilities seem endless. Do I want to go move across the country to a warmer climate? Travel the world? Work part-time at a fun job?

Though these options were available the entire time pre-FIRE. But not having financial stress just takes of pressure off big time to explore and experiment more.

For the first 6 months after reaching FIRE, I didn’t make any major lifestyle changes. I thought I would immediately quit my job and travel the world. But life in the 9-5 was a lot less stressful when I had on a different set on lens.

When I saw work as optional, I saw how valuable it was to have a social and professional network at the office. After all, social connection is currency!

Getting ready to quit the 9-5?

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How to Strategically Change Careers in 6 Months