Educational psychologist Lloyd Ripley-Evans tells us more about starting a new career and some of the things you need to consider before taking the big step.

What do you need to know before starting a new career?

The big question needs to be why you’d like to change careers, followed by how and when. Changing a career can be a very challenging process for some people, and as such, you should be fully committed to following through with the plan. So, before you consider making a change, you need to know yourself.

What are some things you should consider?

Ask yourself: ‘what are my reasons for changing’, ‘what I am changing to’, ‘when will this change take place’ etc.? Having a timeline is important to helping you achieve your goal and understanding what needs to be done. For example, if furthering your studies or training is necessary, you need to consider the time factor.

Finally, the ‘how’ is to understand the plan and ensuring you have the means to follow through. Often, financial reasons limit us, or our fear limits us.

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What are some of the reasons you may want to change your career?

People may want to change for a number of reasons, such as being bored and feeling stuck. Politics in the workplace can also be a driving factor, along with various forms of discrimination. A positive reason, on the other hand, could be that you have found or realised a true passion and want to pursue it. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of making these changes in your 30s?

Generally, people are relatively settled in their 30s. They may have a family, house and cars etc., and so there may be a need to downsize or reduce their expenses through this process. It can be very disruptive for a family and so it’s important to ensure that your partner, children and support system are aware and able to help where necessary. Advantages can include being happier, enjoying work more, being more stimulated and enthused daily, which can often spill over into other areas of your life.

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How can you leverage the skills you have in your new career?

Depending on how drastic the change is, there is often no learning better than experience, so use what you have learned, from dealing with the good and bad from your current or past jobs. Demonstrating how you have grown as an individual through your career can be hugely beneficial.

How important is it to have financial backing?

This would depend on the individual’s situation. If you have enough personal financial support built up, then you may be able to manage on your own. If married or in a civil partnership, there may be financial means to support the change.

If your immediate support system is not able to support the change financially, then it will probably be necessary to investigate other options, such as personal loans. But, it’s always a good idea to speak to someone who can unpack the various pros and cons of the financial options before making a final decision.