The AS Careers guide to Effective Career downsizing

career downsizingNot everyone who comes to me is looking to climb up the career ladder – often people come seeking my advice about descending it.

Perhaps you’ve had a well paid, prestigious job but you’ve had enough of the pressures and demands of that position.  You might start thinking about working in a different way that gives you more free time, more freedom and less responsibility.

This is called career downsizing – The deliberate decreasing of work responsibilities and associated benefits.

What types of people come to you for advice on career downsizing?

Even in times of austerity like this (or maybe because of it), I actually have lots of people coming to me for advice on career downsizing.

Often they are highly qualified professionals such as solicitors, accountants and even directors of companies.

Often they’ve got to the point where they just don’t want to deal with the daily pressures of such a position.  They’ve had enough!

It’s very common to see this in the mid life of a career cycle – when people reach the age of 40 or 50 and have started thinking about planning for retirement.

What they are looking for is a better work/life balance and, possibly, the associated health benefits.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when attempting to downsize?

It might seem obvious to point out, but it’s essential to realise that you can’t have it all!

If you are downsizing your career, and therefore in all likelihood downsizing your amount of work time and/or responsibilities need to accept there’s a very strong possibility of downsizing of remuneration!

Sometimes a client seeking my advice is adamant that they wish to stay on a 50K salary,  whilst at the same time wanting to be at home from work by 2 PM.

This, in all likelihood, is not going to happen.

You have to be realistic.  By way of illustration, If you were downsizing your home from a large, detached house to compact city flat you would need to focus on what was actually critical to you.

What couldn’t you live without?

A garden? A spare bedroom? heated swimming pool?

You have to think about what you are willing to sacrifice in order to gain something important to you.  If the 50K is absolutely crucial to your existence, career downsizing your career probably isn’t the solution for you.

What alternatives to Career Downsizing are there?

The alternative to Career downsizing is to discuss the situation with your employers, and see if you can stay on the same level responsibility, but do less hours of work.

This may not be feasible, and doesn’t always to have the desired result – you could end up  squeezing more work into less hours.

This could actually increase the pressure you are under!

The other way is to look at completely different sphere of work –  a change, after all, is as good as a rest.

Changing your sphere of work, so you’re not necessarily downsizing but re-qualifying job type, can mean that you feel as though you’re no longer under the same pressures which affected you in the old career.

If you’re not quite ready for a full career downsize either of these two options might be worth a go!

Have you got any tips or experience of Career Downsizing?

Have you downsized your career recently or are planning to?  if so was there anything that helped you which I haven’t included above?

If there is get in touch and let me know – I’m always looking for new ways to help people get the career they want!

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