How to plan for a career change the right way

If you've been at the same job for a long time, changing your career can feel daunting – so knowing how to plan for your new job will help you feel more in control.

We speak to two women who decided to make a career change later in life about why they made the change, how they prepared for it, and whether they love their new jobs now!

Pursuing positivity

For Jane Curnow, who fell into a corporate career as a payroll manager and ended up sticking it out for 30 years, it was her own personal struggles that motivated her to make a change.

As someone coping with lifelong depression, becoming a mindset and lifestyle coach felt like a natural progression as Jane began to overcome her own heartache and pain.

"All you want to do is share your journey with the world to help others who suffer," says Jane. "On reflection, studying coaching was part of my healing, so I see it as a step in the right direction, but didn't feel I was ready to coach others until now."

Part of Jane's preparation for taking on this new career was to reach out to the coaches and mentors within her fitness network for advice.

"Having experienced different coaches throughout my journey in the last six years and comparing it to the psychologists that I had seen for the previous 25 years that got me nowhere, I now believe that a coach is the best support to changing your mindset and life."

If you're someone who is planning for a change in career, finding a mentor, or someone already working within the industry you want to explore, is a great way to get advice without getting totally overwhelmed.

We've all been that new person on the job before, but it might have been many years ago if you've already had a lengthy career in one area. Getting those insights from someone who can give you support as you find your feet in a new industry is a great way to feel in control – something you'll know if you've been a mentor already yourself!

While Jane has loved the journey so far, the transition into a new career has been tough on her relationship with some of her family and friends.

"When you have behaved a certain way for 25 years and then you completely change yourself, not everyone is going to come along for the ride or even understand," says Jane. "That's OK. I'm at peace with it now. I am so happy and in love with my life that I know the right people who accept the new Jane are more valuable to me than those who can only see me as I was."

It speaks to Jane's resilience and determination that she's kept charging along despite not always having the support of those around her. If you're also wanting to make a big change to your career or direction in life, it's worth starting the conversation early with your close friends and family, not only to gauge their feelings, but also so you know whether you'll have their support as you move forward.

Confidence in coaching

After more than 15 years in the corporate world, Anne McKeown decided it was time to make a change and followed her passion for helping women find personal success through positive coaching.

With grown up kids and a husband who travels a lot for work, Anne felt directionless and wasn't ready to settle into full-time retirement. While she hadn't planned to set up her own coaching business, it's been something she pursued and now absolutely loves.

"It is a slow journey and my fear of technology has certainly held me back for longer than it should've, but I'm determined to keep moving forward," says Anne. "I've developed an open mindset to all challenges and no longer use my age as an excuse for not understanding something."

In terms of preparing for this career change, Anne got herself a practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming qualification, and completed a Master Coaching Program in 2016.

"I read every book I can about positive psychology and others find my experience ­– and wisdom, which comes with age – as very relevant qualifications," she says.

What started as a small business with a couple of clients has now grown through word of mouth and is keeping Anne busy. Although she says her family found it difficult at first to accept that her focus was no longer totally on them, they can see how much more confident and fulfilled Anne's become and are very supportive.

"If anyone else is thinking of making a change but fearful of starting, my advice would be to take one small step at a time," says Anne. "Nothing is successful or life changing overnight. It takes time to learn and grow – and that's actually the best part!"

No matter what you decide on, both Jane and Anne prove that it's never too late to give that new career a go. 

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