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Financing Your Career Change - Part 2

In my previous post entitled Counting the Cost, I talked about the financial fears people may have when considering a career move. In today’s post, we will be tackling some of the money mindsets that can keep us from pursuing our career and financial goals.

Identifying Your Money Mindsets

Many of us have perceptions about money that stem from our families or origin and keep us stuck in our careers. These perceptions aren’t about money per se but about what money represents – namely, the ideals of freedom, success, security, dignity, and acceptance that we want from our money. These mindsets aren’t necessarily wrong, but they have the potential to hold us back, so you’ll need to do some internal work to root them out.

To do this, I’d recommend setting aside one hour to journal your answers to the questions below. Be specific, provide lots of detail, and describe how each of your answers might help or hinder your ability to finance your next career transition:

  • What did money mean in my family growing up?

  • How have those family perceptions shaped my habits today?

  • What does money symbolize for me? e.g. fun, freedom, status, security, etc?

  • What is my level of financial risk tolerance? Low, Medium, or High? [1]

  • How comfortable am I with asking others for financial help?

After you have finished your answers, take some time to honestly reflect on what you wrote. You’ll probably notice some common themes in how you view money – some of them helpful, some of them not. The important point here is not to judge yourself for having these mindsets, but rather to seek a more balanced perspective. Here are some examples of money mindsets you might be able to identify with:

Mindset 1: “My personal sense of value hinges on my income level”

This is a common mindset. Our society trains us to think that our worth and status is measured by how much money we make. But this mindset can be too narrow. We already acknowledge (or should acknowledge!) the value and dignity of child caregivers and volunteers who dedicate themselves to the well-being of others, but may not receive any income for their work. Their worth does not hinge on their income, so why would yours?

Once you let go of the need to earn your worth through a paycheck, you will experience greater freedom to pursue your next career steps: for example, you can (1) reclaim the time and energy lost on comparing your income to others'; (2) leverage “bridge” jobs that move you closer to your career goals even if they pay a bit less; (3) maintain positive self-esteem when asking for financial support; and (4) find satisfaction in things beyond money - e.g. a better career fit!

The truth is – your personal value is not measured by money, so don’t stay in a dissatisfying job just because the paycheck makes you feel better about yourself. It’s not worth it in the long-run!

Mindset 2: “I struggle with a scarcity mentality”

Perhaps you grew up in a family that had little money to spare and find yourself holding tightly to your current assets and income. As a result, the thought of losing money during a career change fills you with fear.