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Evaluating the cost of a career change

August 19, 2010

Changing your career can be one of the most exciting transitions in your life. Acquiring new skills, experiencing a fresh corporate culture and making new friends are part of this exciting change. But landing a new job can involve some costs.

Waiting room. Whether you’re pounding the pavement for new employment or already have a job lined up, there’s often a lag time between positions – and paycheques. The same can’t be said, however, for your bills. So before you abandon one job for another, be certain you have enough rainy-day savings to make ends meet while in between jobs.

Skills assessment. As great as it is to learn on the job, there are some skills that must be acquired through formal training. Seminars, online courses, certification programs and trade show tickets all cost money – dollars you might have to invest to make yourself a more marketable job candidate.

Salary blues. That new job may promise you a fancy title, an office with a window and friendly co-workers, but if your new salary isn’t what you’re accustomed to, plan to feel the pinch. In fact, accepting a lower annual income can mean having to cut back on lifestyle perks such as restaurant meals, new clothes and entertainment.

Counting perks. A base salary isn’t the only dollar figure that should factor into your annual income. Perks such benefits packages, allotted vacation time and training subsidies can play a significant role in your yearly out-of-pocket expenses and overall job satisfaction so make sure you do the math.

Getting there. Your dream job may include a salary hike and plenty of bonuses but consider your commute. Having to tack on extra minutes to your daily drive to work can take a significant toll on your car and accompanying gas and vehicle maintenance expenses.

One way to reduce travel costs is through a flextime arrangement. If your new employer is open to having you work from home and is able to provide you with remote Internet access, that’s a great advantage to know about before signing on the dotted line.

Changing your career can be the best decision you’ll ever make. Just be sure you understand the costs involved before making the migration.