Career change costs you should consider before taking the plunge (especially amid covid-19)

career change

With the covid pandemic and its economic consequences, more people than ever consider changing their jobs, or their career altogether. Such change should be anything but improvised: the real career change costs can quickly draw you down to the bottom if they are not carefully assessed. Because changing career has a huge impact on anyone’s lifestyle, we are going to list here these impacts, and how you can manage them to improve your chances of a successful career switch.

Career change costs, before the change

Your own assessment

Before changing your career, you may want to know what change you want. I am not even talking about your new career, but before that: why do you want to change? What is it in your current situation that you want to modify? And how is it going to make you better off?

For instance, if your reasons for seeking a career change are a better salary, this is an easy fix, as you just need to find the same job somewhere else, but better paid. If you dislike some colleagues, or you employer, that is the same. If you want to pursue a new passion, or apply new skills you learned, maybe you can do it as a hobby or a side business, while keeping your current job.

And if you want to change your profession or your field of expertise, the career change costs will be obviously much higher.

In any case, the clearer you are about your reasons for switching your career, the more your career change costs will be reduced. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to pay a fortune to figure this out, although a career coach can help you a lot in that case, generally for a fee of at least $100 per hour of consultation. But there are also countless resources on the Internet, like those listed here. You can also take a moment for yourself to think about everything you love, and everything you hate, to determine the reason of your desire for change.j

Information gathering

Once you know what you like and dislike, it is easier to find something that matches your values and skills.

The easiest way to do that is with the Jinn Career Encyclopedia. This tool is extremely simple to use: you just type in the search bar what you are looking for, and that’s it. It will suggest you then different articles related to your search, including occupations, skills and knowledge. From there, you can click on the links to navigate from a skill or knowledge to an occupation, and vice-versa. Eventually, you can find a job whose description fits your requirements.

I like this method, because most of the time, we are searching for things we know, and never for things that we don’t. Just like when you go to a big supermarket just to buy salt and pepper, and you end up coming back with just one spice you never tried before and that is both hot and salty. Your dream job may already exist, but you never heard about it until now.


This is another item that doesn’t cost a lot nowadays. A good network can unlock many doors you don’t even know existed. But the problem is that not everybody has such good network.

If you do have one, it would be foolish not to take advantage of it. If you don’t, your alternative is to build your network from scratch. In terms of career change costs, this is quite big; not necessarily that it will cost you a lot of money, but it will cost you a lot of time to connect with the right people, engage in some activities to promote yourself, maybe attend some conferences… But once again, the return can be very high if you manage to build a good network.

Acquisition of new skills

You know your current position, you know your desired goal. Now you need to define the path that will connect both. Especially, you need to focus on the skills you do not have yet, or that you do not know enough about.

But before rushing to any lesson, think again. Some jobs may ask you specific certificates to showcase your expertise, while for others, you don’t need to. For example, it is entirely possible to learn web technologies such as HTML, CSS or PHP on your own via online courses. You just need to build cool websites to show your mastery. It is certainly another story if you want to become doctor, lawyer, real estate agent or any regulated profession: in that case; you will need to follow the requirements of the country where you want to work.

Career change costs, after the change

Your new salary

Career change costs are reduced if career plan is done in advance

You will of course consider your potential new salary before changing career. But since this is felt mostly after the change, hence the title.

Most of the time, there is no career change costs when you keep the same role, but with a different employer. Because your move is mostly due to a better salary offered by your new employer. But in the case of a more radical career change, you could be in a situation where your salary is less than what you had before. It can even be that you have no salary at all for some time, especially if you change your career to become an entrepreneur.

Which is why your career change costs will always be the highest in that area, and therefore you should spend most of your career planning in there. A simple way to do so is by:

  • reviewing your monthly budget: you could find some expenditure items that can be removed because unimportant
  • setting a monthly budget corresponding to what you think you could have in your new career.
  • trying to live within this budget for 2 to 4 months. Or even better, trying to live with less than this budget.

Evidently, this is not the kind of activity that can be improvised, you will need to prepare it well in advance.

Once you have a better idea about your expenses, another great plan is to make sure you have enough savings to keep the lifestyle you want for a long time – from 6 months to a year. The idea is that not only you can pay the normal expenses, but also that in case of a hard blow (like a broken car, an accident, a sickness), you still have some coverage (like insurances).

Lastly, make sure you have a backup plan after your career change. This is not the kind of things we like to hear, but the more significant is the career change, the more likely it is that you fail unfortunately. Which is normal, if you decide to go into an area you don’t know as good as the one you were before. Having an idea of a more regular job to do in case of failure – a 9-to-5 job – can help you get started on your new adventure, knowing that you have something to fall back on.

Your new commuting time

Compared to everything we already discussed about, your new commuting time may look less significant. But if you think on a longer term, you might want to take a closer look at this. Indeed, you will probably have other career changes, more or less significant. We saw that career change costs can be quite high if you do not plan in advance, not only financially but also in terms of time spent to prepare your career move. If you had the opportunity to reduce your commuting time, what would you do with this time saved?  Spending more time on your career could be an answer, definitely. But you could also choose to spend more time with your loved ones.


Changing a career cannot be improvised. Career change costs are so high that a poor planning can set you back in your career progression. Which is why in general, it is always better to request the opinion of many people before deciding. Do not hesitate to use the resources of Jinn to do your research before changing your career, it is free!