The big career change

The big career change: how to handle it

Moving upwards into a career, becoming the “grown up” you have to be to really get by in the world, is an awful shock at first. Once the novelty of having your own money to spend has worn off and you realise how big a chunk of the pay cheque can’t go on entertainment but has to go on rent, food, car, fuel, heating  there is another mental attitude to get your head round. This is a phase some people never achieve and it marks out “the managed” from “the managers”.

Just say “no”


The ability to say no to excess (another moment in bed, another drink, another…) to hedonism (I know I shouldn’t, but I will) or to vanity (it suits me, and I could put it on the credit card) is really difficult, but it shows grit and maturity. W  know prospective employers look on social media sites but it’s something else to be able to voluntarily tell them what they can’t see – how much of your student loan you’ve managed to pay back. It says a huge amount about how much you’re now an adult member of society.

One of the boys

To manage others requires a little bit of steel, not for back stabbing but for back bone. Being one of the lads is great if that’s where you want to stay, but not being so aloof that the lads won’t come to you for help or with ideas is a tricky balancing act which you won’t get right first go. Saying sorry is appropriate, but knowing how to do it so that you retain authority and respect is something you need to watch others doing. Mentor schemes help here but deciding who’s a good boss and emulating them is a great way to learn, as is deciding who’s a bad boss – we learn much from those we don’t like (“I’d never do it like that”).

Living the dream

For some, the transition is not into money but away from it, for the sake of a job that is more fulfilling. You have to be certain of two things – that you are committed to making the change work, and that you have portable skills to go back if it all melts down. You’ll  need guts and determination – and very careful domestic management. Even jobs that come with accommodation need money-mindedness; one day the job will end and you’ll need to live somewhere other than a friend’s floor.

I did it our way

Cut yourself some slack when the changes come, don’t expect to be magnificent straight away but equally don’t cut yourself so much slack that you’re always missing the chance to reflect and grow from making mistakes. When your best friend tells you a home truth, listen; the next one to say it might be your boss, holding a P45.

Do you have any tips on how to handle the big career change? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: mdennes / Flickr

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