Now what? That’s what our career changer is probably thinking after examining their fears and finding that there are unanticipated risks in their career change. Choosing to acknowledge this information instead of continuing to ignore their fears might feel like a mistake because now they are aware. They probably feel like they are in danger of falling off that tightrope.
Discovering new information as we are in the midst of executing a plan should not surprise us, but it often does. We act as if everything must stay exactly the same once our plans are made. However, not only do circumstances change; the information we have will change.
That’s why I like to think of stepping stones as a change model instead of detailed plans. By knowing where we want to go, and choosing our first few steps to get there, we get moving. We don’t know the full path to get there; but we periodically pause, assess, and choose the next stone. If we dead-end; we backtrack.
Our career changer has found that entry-level salaries in this new career are lower than they realized (financial risk). They also have found that they are too busy to see their friends (social risk).
Is consciously knowing this information better than not having it? Definitely. Instead of letting the fears brew until they became an obstacle, they were used as a source of information.
This is not a dead-end. Having additional information simply means that they include it as they assess and prepare to move to the next stone. Their next planned steps will need to include plans to mitigate the risks that were found.
To mitigate is to “make less severe, serious, or painful.“
In this case, there is plenty of time for this person to mitigate financial risk by setting up a reserve fund to help them through the initial lower salary years.
Similarly, if the course load they initially chose is resulting in social isolation, then they need to examine how to balance that risk with the reward of the new career. The mitigation plan might be to only take one course per term instead of two, or to schedule a term off every year.
This might be viewed as backing down from their plans, but I don’t see it that way.
The only person you have to satisfy when you are on your change journey is yourself.