How many of you have got your profession right the first time? Let me frame this question in a different way. How many of you are happy in your careers and have never thought about switching?

I’m sure there are lots and lots of people out there who are not happy with the career path they have chosen for themselves. You wake up every time feeling stressed and drained of energy. Somehow, you drag yourself out of bed and try to find new reasons why you have to do this. This is okay if it happens occasionally; we all go through it every now and then.

But, if it is what you deal with on a daily basis, then it’s not normal. You do not deserve a life like this.

You complain to people that your job sucks. There is no motivation to stay in your job, except for maybe money. There is no job satisfaction, no growth, and no learning. You find yourself doing meaningless tasks each day, and continue doing it for years.

Despite these, only a small fraction of people actually make the change their professional life so desperately needs. If you ask people who have continued in their existing roles why they haven’t made the switch, here are some of the top reasons you’ll get and here’s how you can deal with them.

If I switch, I’ll be considered a fresher in my new profession. I’ll have to start everything from scratch and I’m not ready to do that at this point in my career.

Now, this is a valid point. When you begin something from scratch, it is more like a demotion you bring on yourself.

You take a hit on your salary, your designation, and your success. Your savings will soon be non-existent. It’ll be a real threat to your financial security as your growth gets slowed down considerably.

But, your career is clearly not making you happy. You do not have to go through this torture for the rest of your lives. Bringing about these changes will help you in more than one way to minimize the financial risk when switching.

  1. Find an alternative first and then quit. Whether you want to switch your industry entirely or move into another role in your field, you can always find a job first and then quit to reduce the financial risks completely. This could take anywhere from between a few weeks to a few months depending on the different hiring processes, the availability of jobs, competition, and so on. Also, if you hope to get a job in a field different from yours, the hiring might require more time than usual because you’d have no experience to back up your skills. Raghav Haran teaches a few things in his post, How to get any job you want even if you’re unqualified.Do remember, in most cases, your new salary might be far less than your previous one. Some savings from the past will be of great help here.
  2. Start your business on the side. If you want to run a business, you can start by planning the strategy, product development, marketing, etc. all while staying in your job. I know the temptation to quit might be too strong, but hang on there. Your job will help you pay your bills when your business can’t do that for you, yet. Many people quit their stable jobs only after their business starts running, which is a great idea if you do not have a lot of savings.This will also give you the strength to continue your existing job until the time you won’t need it anymore. You’d have something more important and exciting to look forward to, and going to work each day will seem less miserable. But, there are some who want to work on their business full-time from the start and quit their jobs immediately. Whether you want to quit and start or start before quitting, make sure you have enough money saved to cover your expenses for at least 6 months, especially, if you have a family to support.
  3. Create a portfolio. A great time to do this is while you are still working in your existing job. If you want to be a writer, speaker, photographer, artist, or pursue a freelancing career, you can start by creating a portfolio of your work. Set aside some time daily or in the weekends for this. As soon as you quit and start looking for clients, they would want to see the samples of your works. And when they ask, all you’d have to do is share the link to your portfolio as opposed to spending time creating samples at that point.
  4. Develop the skill. Now, you might have to do something entirely new in your new profession. How do you get a job or start a business in the domain that you know nothing about? That’s why you have to start learning, preferably while you’re still in your existing career path. There are sites like Coursera, Udemy, Khan’s Academy, and so many others. Check out this post right here.
  5. Take up a part-time job. Finding a part-time job is not difficult. It will keep cash flowing in, while giving you the time to focus on your business or job search. This should preferably be a simple job, leaving you with ample time and energy.
  6. Take help from your loved ones. You can ask your partner to cover the expenses for some time till you are back up and running. Or you could move in with your parents.Make them understand why you need to do this. They will be more than happy to support you.

Financial risks are real and in most cases, this is the major reason why people don’t make the switch. But, with some planning, you can minimize them to a great extent. I said before about saving money for 6 months’ survival, but that is just a random number that I followed.

It is totally up to you to decide how much you want to save. Most businesses won’t give you returns within 6 months and sometimes 6 months are not enough to find a job. That’s why no amount of money you save, is ever going to be enough.

But, how long will you wait before you start living your life the way you truly want? I totally understand how difficult it is to stay in a job once we have made up our mind to quit. We’ve all been there, right?

Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself and make the leap. That’s what I did and it turned out to be okay. Now, the next reason…

I have invested a lot of time in my current profession. If I switch, all the money I spent in college or developing my skills, the time I invested, and the efforts I put in, will be meaningless.

Let’s take a moment to think about this. You are willing to sacrifice your interests, passion, talents, and more importantly, your happiness, because you’ve already spent a lot of years in your profession?

Shouldn’t this be the very reason for you to make the change you have desired for so long? Isn’t this high time for you to correct the wrong you have been living with all your life? It’s never too early or too late to make things right.

If I make the switch, the world will think I’m a failure. 

Just two words here: Who cares?

But, I know it won’t be enough. So, let me explain. Because we have been wired to think about what others would think, every time we do something. But, understand that nobody has ever achieved anything by thinking about what others think about themselves.

People have opinions and they may be entitled to have one. But, you do not have to make your decisions or live your life in accordance with those opinions. Remember, you are answerable to just one person and that’s you.

As long as you can justify your actions to yourself, you’re good. Don’t ever let anyone trick you into believing anything else.

What if I don’t succeed? What if I prove to be really bad at whatever new thing I do?

Well, there is only one way to find out whether you’d be successful or not. By trying. If you do not take the first step, you will never find out how good or bad you are.

Do not allow your life to become a bunch of “what ifs”. As Geena Davis says, “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”

So, take the risk and do, for once, what you love doing. Not to become successful, but to “live” in the true sense of the term. I am not saying you’d be successful. For all you know, you may discover that you are terrible at that thing you want to do. And fail miserably. Not once, but many times before you discover what you’re really good at. So what? Who said you should succeed every single time?

Just like courage has no meaning in the absence of fear, success has little meaning in the absence of failure.

Risks never fail to teach you and life is all about learning. So, make that switch, push yourself, and take the risks. But, with the right planning.

You owe that much to yourself.


Image Credit: Denys Nevozhai