Changing career at any point in your working life journey is seldom easy, but it might not be as hard as you think.  

If you have determination, courage, and a realistic plan there is every chance that you will join many millions of mothers who have successfully travelled this path before you.  In many ways being a mother is a career change in itself, as you have suddenly acquired a whole new job description (often on top of your paid one).   You have rapidly acquired a whole different set of skills, knowledge and experience as a mother - what is to stop you doing this again and getting paid for it?

Thinking about your change in career needs to start from two different, but important points.  What you are good at, and what you realistically need to earn.   Along the way it also helps to think about what your success criteria are, to make sure your new career is not just 'different' but it is actually better.   I know so many women who have taken the plunge to become self-employed, and ended up being so successful they actually work harder, and spend less time with their kids than they did previously.

Need inspiration?  Check out the 10 Ideas below on How to Change your Career.

 Step 1 - Explore Possibilities
1) Track your Success - look back over your life to date and track your moments of success, the things you are proud of.  Try to work out what skills, knowledge and experience got you there.

2) Talk to people - find out what other mums do for work, start to note down ideas that interest you - could you apply your skills and experience to have a go at these jobs (knowledge can always be learnt).

3) Work out your Finances - work out how much realistically you need to earn, and then think about how many days/ hours/ a week you can work sustainably.   - Test this against your idea ...   1 day doing something less 'inspiring' might actually pay more than a whole week of something you are more interested in.   Weigh up the pros & cons.

4) Plan for the future - where would this new path take you in 5 - 10 years time?  Will you be able to build on this and provide a sustainable income for the future?

5) What would it really take for you to get into this line of work?   Who do you know (or your friends know) who are already doing it who could share their experiences? What training / qualifications would you need?  Is there a market for what you want to do?  What is the competition like?

Step 2 Making it Happen

6) Work out a list of actions to further explore the ideas you are interested in:
  • agree how many hours I want to work, and whether I need this to flex in school holidays etc
  • work out how much money I realistically need to earn
  • consider childcare costs and discuss options 
  • meet with x y & z to find out how they do it
  • get some voluntary/ work shadowing experience in the area I want to move into
  • re-write my CV to emphasize the skills and knowledge I have that are relevant, emphasising the steps taken to get knowledge (e.g. reading etc) and specific experience - shadowing/ talking to people who work in that field.
  • review jobs websites, and identify target roles.  Talk to agencies about what entry roles could be relevant.
  • research starting my own business
7)  Plan when you are going to do the actions - Career changes rarely happen over night.   Make sure you set your self a realistic plan, and take a few actions to progress each month.  As long as you have set yourself a clear year end target, and have done enough actions to get there, you should be able to keep your momentum going.

8) Get some support

 Find a friend or family member, who can help you with your journey.  As them if they will meet with you every 3 months, so you can discuss your progress.  Ask them who they might know who can help you.

9) Be honest with yourself

Don't feel bad if you go around the houses and find that what you are currently doing is, although not ideal, actually meeting your most important needs just now.   Many people don't like what they do, but focus their energy on the parts they can enjoy, and particularly their life outside work.   At least you are making a decision to stay where you are, rather than letting life drift on.

10) Most importantly .... don't give up too soon, if you want to realise your potential, sometimes you have to tough it out to succeed.