After a decade in broadcast news, I took a leap: I left my job to start this very magazine. I have no regrets about that choice, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. No good thing ever is, really.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing!
Switching careers came with new adventures, new rewards, and the exciting new feeling of true independence — but it also came with some problems. Some problems were expected, of course. Some, on the other hand, really weren’t.
Despite all my preparations, there were some challenges inherent in this switch that I never even considered. Challenges that, to be honest, I kind of wish someone had warned me about! It’s absolutely possible and infinitely empowering to take a chance like this, but we all know that knowledge is power.
So, for all you powerful women out there considering your own career change, here’s what made mine particularly tough — and here’s how I got through it.
1. Your schedule affects you more than you realize.
Let’s start small, shall we? Something as minor as what time you get up in the morning barely bumps your radar when considering a career shift. If it does, it’s most likely in the form of: “Yay, I won’t have to get up at ve anymore! I’ll be the boss of my own schedule!” Especially if the shift you’re considering involves starting a new business. But even if you’re just moving to a new job with its own schedule, you assume you’ll adjust, right? Well, yes — of course you will. But I definitely wish I’d thought about this more, and prepared myself accordingly, before making the change. Your daily schedule, especially if it’s one you’ve had for a while, is a built-in structure for your life that provides a lot of subconscious security. Changing it up suddenly can cause a lot of stress, and you might not even recognize why you’re feeling so frazzled. My solution? Build something into your day that you do every day. Maybe that’s yoga when you wake up, or an after-lunch walk; maybe it’s the time you always go home, or turn work ‘off’ for the day. Whatever it is, make it something you enjoy, and stick to it. Having that consistency in your life will work wonders for your comfort levels, trust me.
2. Don’t forget about your work buddies.
Even if you’re not particularly close with folks at your office, it can be kind of a bummer when you suddenly don’t see them every day! And if you’ve got some really good friends there, like I did? That can seriously mess with your happiness. Work, however stressful it might have been, provides a place for you to see these wonderful people Every. Single. Day. You don’t have to worry about planning something or making time to see them — they’re just there! Once you leave, however, and get caught up in the excitement of your new job, it’s easy to go months without seeing these friends. When you suddenly realize you miss Denise-from-two-cubicles-over, it can get lonely. So deal with this before it ever becomes a problem: schedule a coffee date with your work buddies right away. As soon as you know when your last day will be, schedule something a week or so after that to check in. Be intentional about building your community, about staying close with those who’ve had an impact on your life. If you’ve got a supportive friend, that treasure is too valuable to lose to your shifting schedule. Make time.
3. The Great Unknown is Thrilling – and Terrifying
If you’re like me, you might feel a tremor of excitement at the thought of a new adventure. I love trying new things! It’s one of the most thrilling parts of switching careers; then again, it’s also the most terrifying. Look, I’m proud of how far HER Magazine has come, but when I first started, there was no guarantee we would succeed. When you take the risk of switching careers, it truly is a risk. Which means…drumroll, please…you might fail. That’s what taking a risk means! There are days when that failure seems more imminent than usual: something went wrong with the website, some unexpected criticism came through, or maybe you just feel more exhausted than ever before — and it feels like you made a mistake. Like you jumped, and expected to fly, but instead are plummeting towards the canyon floor. That feeling, my friend, is inevitable. The trick is to simply keep pressing on. Take as much time as you need to actually decide, but once you do? Commit. Do not waver. When you feel that plummeting dread, just remember that you knew this was coming; it’s part of taking risks. It doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake, it means that what you’re doing is dif cult. Remember that you are not alone — that every risk-taker has felt like this at one point or another. Remind yourself why you started, what you’re passionate about, what your goals are, and reassess.
Then, keep going.
This is my Letter from the Founder for the February issue of HER magazine. You can access our monthly digital publication in iTunes and Google Play. Your support is what keeps this private publication going.