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The 5 Minute Career Coach, July 2009 -- Career Change Money Issues
July 01, 2009

Helping Career Changers Around The World

July 2009


Welcome to the July edition of The 5 Minute Career Coach!

I was talking to a friend last week who has just made a great breakthrough with her new career.

Alex was working in a high pressure, badly paid job in retail and was stressed out, bored and underused. She knew that in the longer term she wanted to work as a yoga teacher and so last year, she negotiated a change in her hours at work which would allow her to start her yoga training part time. The training was challenging but interesting and confirmed for her that she was committed to this kind of work.

As she knew she would want to leave her job at some point, she also began to save every penny she could to give her a reserve to fall back on when the moment came to make the change.

After a year of training, she had to start doing some yoga teaching to build up her experience. She got a little work through the centre where she did her own yoga class, but fairly quickly she began to feel the pressure as she was spreading herself so thinly. So she decided the moment had come to take the plunge.

She left her job with a huge sigh of relief and began in earnest to promote herself as a student yoga teacher offering lower rates for her classes than fully qualified teachers.

It was a slow start, but as she had some money saved up, it meant she knew she could survive for a few months.

She has been working very hard at promoting her classes and a couple of weeks ago was visiting osteopaths and chiropractors in her area to drop leaflets and ask for referrals.

This is where she struck gold.

One of the practices she visited also offer exercise and healthy lifestyle training and it so happened that they were looking to add to their team. She was invited to apply and has now been offered the opportunity to deliver yoga on a 1-to-1 basis for clients of the practice a couple of days a week. So she now has a base in a high quality alternative therapy and exercise clinic.

She was just lucky, you might be saying to yourself, but the fact is, she could still have been working in the shop, just dreaming of her future career as a yoga teacher.

The difference is - she took action.

First, she prepared the ground by creating a financial safety net which gave her the courage to take the plunge in leaving her job. Once out there, she focused a lot of energy on making personal contacts to build her business and this is what brought her into contact with the people who are now employing her.

The moral of the story?

Yes, you can make the changes you want in your career and your life. All it takes is a bit of planning, a bit of courage and then you just get on and do it!

With very best wishes

What’s in this Issue

Quote of the Day

I love some of the quotes and aphorisms that you find in careers and personal development books. So often they seem to encapsulate something I have struggled with in my own life or have seen coaching clients grapple with. I hope the examples I offer can inspire you too.

'The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth
if you lost all your money.'

Author Unknown

Yes, I know I am taking money as a theme this month, but part of my message is about getting money into perspective in your life. Of course you need to pay the bills, of course it is lovely to fantasise about what you could do if you won the lottery, but don’t allow these issues to distract you from working on your own intrinsic value, on becoming the best you can possibly be in ways that don’t cost a penny.

Career Change Needed – But I Can’t Afford It!

Is it money issues that are holding you back from changing career? Does money seem like an insurmountable barrier that is impossible to overcome?

Well, join the club. Worries about money are one of the most common barriers to career change – and not without reason.

It would be foolish to just walk out of a well paid job, knowing you have significant outgoings to cover on the basis that you just hope things will work out OK. I am also not a great believer in the notion that if you just believe, The Universe will make it happen.

On the contrary, I think it is down to us individually to take responsibility for the way our careers and lives unfold and that means taking the money issue seriously.

There’s the rub.

I think often what happens is that money issues seems to be so big and scary that many would be career changers just avoid the matter completely. This either means that their career change dreams grind to a halt or in some cases, that they may make an ill-considered career move and then find that they come unstuck somewhere along the line.

So what’s the best approach to money issues?

I always recommend that clients work on money issues from two angles:

Get practical

Money is not something magical so you need to deal with it in a down to earth way. Commit from today to the following:

  • Keep an accurate record of what you spend for a month then you will discover where your money really goes.
  • Look at your expenditure and prioritise what you spend on. There will be plenty of inessential items that you can easily drop.
  • Review what savings you have. Are you saving for a rainy day? If you are desperately unhappy at work, ask yourself if that rainy day has perhaps come?
  • If you have no savings, start now. Get your payroll department to automatically direct a small amount of your salary into a savings account. Or even just start popping some loose change into a pot at home. Just get into the habit of putting a little away.
  • Explore alternative income streams. Your full time job does not need to be your sole source of income. Look at ways you can bring in even small amounts of money from other activities.

If you start taking these practical steps, you will gradually begin to build up an ‘escape fund’ that will allow you, like Alex in my introductory letter this month, to take the plunge and leave a job that is draining you.

Challenge how you think about money

You would be amazed at the odd beliefs many of us carry around in our heads about money. Yet because they were formed a long time ago, we carry on with them with out questioning their validity. Here are a few typical beliefs - they may sound familiar.

  • I can't survive on less money than I have now.
  • I need money to make me feel good about myself.
  • I am just no good at managing money - never will be.
  • Money has to be earned by slogging away at a 9-5 job.
  • If I drop my income, I'll never get it back again.

Do these sound familiar? Can you see how they might hold you back from making changes?

Your task is to challenge these and any similar beliefs you hold about money. Ask yourself:

  • Where did this belief come from?
  • Is it relevant and helpful for me today?
  • What alternative belief could I adopt?

Just try one of these new beliefs on for a while and see how it frees you up to thinking about new future possibilities in your career and in your life.

If you want to read more about career change and money issues, take a look at the How To Change Careers website. You will find information about taking practical steps and also about changing your unhelpful beliefs about money .

And, as ever, once you’ve read more, take action!

The Career Change Question

Career change is not easy. It often requires a lot of hard and deep thinking about how you have been living your life up to now and how you would like it to be in the future.

As a coach, I know that asking challenging questions can be very powerful in helping clients move forwards. Questions can help you explore where you are and where you are going.

These questions should not be given a quick and glib response, but instead you can just let them wander round your mind for a few days, or even weeks and see what answers unfold for you. They are designed to get you thinking in new ways and hopefully gain insights that may open your mind to new possibilities.

So, in keeping with this month’s theme, here’s a question about money.

If you lost your job tomorrow, how would you adjust your lifestyle to manage financially over the next few months?

OK, it is not much fun to consider the possibility of being unemployed, especially in the current economic climate. But it can be a valuable thought experiment in helping you identify what parts of your typical expenditure could be dispensed with.

Once you have done this, you can apply this knowledge to your current situation and choose to make a few sacrifices to begin to build up a financial safety net to make your career change possible.

Just making the commitment to building up your ‘escape fund’ can feel incredibly liberating.

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