The Daily Telegraph: How to navigate finances to pull off a successful career change - Michelle Gibbings

One of the most common barriers keeping Aussies from their dream career is finance, but there is more to work than money. Michelle shares her insight in this article (written by Melanie Burgess) featured in The Daily Telegraph

The most successful career changes are not an impulse decision but instead the result of much planning and honest self assessment.

Particularly when there are financial factors in play, genuine forethought is a must.

SEEK research reveals half of Aussies (51 per cent) are considering a career change in the future and even more (57 per cent) have already made one.

Not everyone stops at one transition either, with 29 per cent making two changes in their working lives and 33 per cent making three or more.

SEEK ANZ marketing director Jennifer ten Seldam says more people are taking control of their working lives to pursue their passion and ultimately be happy in their day-to-day work.

Career and change leadership expert Michelle Gibbings says, however, financial factors are a common barrier for career changers.

“People often stay in jobs they don’t like because the pay or other benefits they receive suit their lifestyle, and they worry they won’t be able to find anything better,” she says. 
“For others who are struggling to make ends meet, the thought of moving to a new working environment or starting a business feels too uncertain, and they need the certainty of regular income to pay the bills.

“Planning ahead is so important.”

Gibbings recommends career changers speak to a financial planner, start a regular savings plan, and consider cutting back on living expenses to build up a cash reserve to fund their leap.

They should ask themselves:

  • What’s my minimum viable income level?
  • What other employment benefits am I looking for?
  • What expenses could I curtail?
  • How much money do I have as a cash reserve that could support me during my career change?
  • How long would this cash reserve last given my current spending patterns?

Sabina Read, psychologist for SEEK TV series Dream Job, says there is more psychology associated with money than just income earned and dollars spent.

“Money is a complex beast, and usually represents a range of values and beliefs to each of us including security, ego, validation, safety, or independence,” she says.

Read says if a career change is too big of a leap, workers can still honour their passion by studying, volunteering or exploring their interest as a hobby.


Angela McGuire is hoping to slowly transition from her career in human resources into a role at a dog day care centre.

She has spent the past four years thinking about the change and putting a plan into place to work around the financial barriers that have so far held her back.

“It’s a massive drop in salary,” she says.

“I sold my beautiful apartment I had and downsized to one bedroom and I started upping superannuation while I could afford to do that.

“You have to change your lifestyle and that is probably the hardest part.”

McGuire, as a participant on SEEK TV show Dream Job, recently spent time completing work experience at Diggiddy Doggy Day Care to get a taste for what she hopes will be her next career.

She enjoyed it so much she hopes to transition into a role there at the end of the year.

“I am about to enrol mid-year in a Certificate II in Animal Studies and Diggiddy Doggy Day Care are more than happy to take me on as a casual when I can. I might start to do four days a week in HR then a day at doggie day care,” she says.

Her advice to others considering a career change is to commit to long-term planning.