Originally written and published on Tangerine’s Forward Banking Blog
Whether you’ve just started a new job, are looking to switch industries, or thinking of ditching your 9 to 5 to do your own thing, it’s critical to be prepared for the inevitable ups and downs that come with transitioning your career.
Over the last 8 years, I transitioned my career from being a clinical researcher to a marketing and advertising copywriter, and now I’m a full-time entrepreneur running my own financial coaching business. Here are some lessons I’ve learned:
Find the Overlap to Bridge the Gap
I enjoyed working as a cancer researcher, but wanted to work in a more creative capacity. I always loved writing, but I struggled to find a way to pursue that as a full-time career.
Eventually, I came across a role at a healthcare technology company, where I realized I could use my healthcare experience to get my first writing job. In fact, it was my healthcare experience that helped me land the role over other applicants.
When considering transitioning your career, find overlapping areas that bridge the gap between both jobs. See how you can leverage the skills and experience from your previous career to ease into your new job. For me, becoming a healthcare writer was the perfect starting point to transition into my new creative career.
Research and Negotiate Your Salary
Most people think they need to take a pay cut when transitioning their career. In my case, my salary actually increased with each career transition I made.
I accomplished this by researching pay scales, job descriptions, and expectations for each new role I took on. I looked for areas in my previous work experience that I could leverage to justify my salary expectations.
When I transitioned from marketing communications into healthcare advertising, I referenced my clinical and writing experience during salary negotiations. It can be tough to negotiate, but I didn’t want to leave money on the table.
Have Peace of Mind with an Emergency Fund
I experienced inevitable financial uncertainties when I took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship. Having a fully-funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses set aside in a separate savings account gave me peace of mind. An emergency fund prevents going into debt with a financial cushion to fall back on. And, it takes pressure off in case I decide to go back to a full-time job. I could take my time finding the best role for me, not settling for a job that doesn’t fit.