Before you start thinking about your job and career you need to be sure that your financial, family and other non-work commitments are all in order.
Like it or not, all career changes occur within or because of the broad context and issues of your life. Some brave fact facing and scenario planning is required, but it is worth it. You don’t want to go through an arduous selection process, land your dream job, but then turn it down because of personal considerations; considerations which should have been clear in your mind at the outset. So, where to start…
Take action: List the obligations that you have now or are likely to face in the short to mid term with specific consideration of the following 4 points:
Do you run a domestic monthly budget and cashflow? Have home ownership, mortgage or rental obligations? Think about Utilities, Car, Education, all of these change over time. When you are considering salary matters make sure that you are not missing anything from your domestic finances. From a risk perspective consider the finance implications of a variety of scenarios; i.e. how long you and your dependants could survive without income if you were to lose your job today.
2) Family & Dependants:
Your (future?) children’s education and school fees, your parents’ or grandparents’ welfare. List where geographically you would prefer to be and what career wise you want to be doing in the event of each of the following:
- You become a parent
- You, your partner, your child or your parent has a life threatening illness.
- Your partner is offered a dream job which requires a change of location, actually, speaking of parters…
In terms of years of your life, this is a real time saver. If you share your life with someone, then it make sense to discuss life goals, lifestyle and ambitions. The sooner the better. They must be aligned from the start. This is key and any compromises to either of your goals should be agreed in principle now. These chats are easier to suggest than to execute and sometimes are a bit contrived, but to avoid them is to risk worst case scearios such as being left at the alter or missing out on your dream career: things that lifetimes of regret are made of. Having the best life for both of you is the prerequisite and your careers should fit in accordingly. Example discussions include ideas about living overseas for a few years, one of you going back into tertiary education, one of you working away for long stretches of time, or the big one: kids.
4) Pension & Retirement:
Have you forecast, planned and set in place savings plans for your retirement?
- How much do you need to save per year to achieve your pension objective. How does this impact the salary structure you would consider for a new job?
- Geographically, where would you like to retire? If it’s a location that is not your home country then it might be worth relocating to that country sooner so that you can build your career, your networks and meet the visa criteria to be able to stay once you retire.
These all seem obvious, but taking time out to consider these matters carefully can sometimes lead to quite dramatic changes in career direction. One simplistic example, have a look at your pension pot; in your retirement is it going to afford you many years of holidays and travel to places you’ve always wanted to see? Probably not. If that’s the case then how about working overseas now and getting to see some of those places while you’re fit enough to enjoy them?
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© 2011 Chris McCann