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Investing in Yourself: Financing a Career Change

“The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” Do you remember this poster phrase? It was supposed to be funny! And yet, for more and more working people, it’s no longer a joke. Over the past 20 years, we’ve been working faster and longer hours than ever before. The new technology, far from relieving us of work, has created a new standard for perfection and a new expectation for production that many people find exhausting. Meanwhile, more and more people report that their work is increasingly meaningless and that it intrudes far too much on their personal lives.

The economy may be booming. People may have more things than they ever did before. But they are also gasping under the weight of credit card debt and bills. Money ends before the month does for many families these days, even those in the middle class.

It is this culture of overwork and indebtedness that has many people wondering if there is a better way. Many people want desperately to get out of the rat race and to do work that is closer to their interests and hearts. They may even have some idea of what they would do to change their work. Then, when they look at the very real obstacles of mortgage, car, and credit card payments, they don’t see any way to afford a change. Trapped by unending financial responsibilities, they relegate their dreams to the bottom of the list, where they remain just that — dreams.

There is a better way. With some imagination and commitment, people can create the space and the financial backing they need to try something new. If you want to change your career, here are some ideas to give yourself that chance.

To begin with, ask yourself: “If I want to try a career shift a year from now, what do I need to do in the meantime to make that financially possible?” This question shifts the focus of your thinking from whether you can afford a change to how you are going to make it possible. That, in and of itself, is an important first step.

Investing in Yourself: Financing a Career Change

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Marie Hartwell-WalkerDr. Marie Hartwell-Walker is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. She writes regularly for Psych Central as well as Psych Central's Ask the Therapist feature. She is author of the insightful parenting e-book, Tending the Family Heart.

Check out her book, Unlocking the Secrets of Self-Esteem.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, M. (2020). Investing in Yourself: Financing a Career Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.