Change is good. Change is often needed. Change is also… sometimes scary. How do you minimize the scariness of change? Have a plan. In fact, you could even have a plan B. Anytime a change is taking place or you would like for a change to take place, you should have a plan, even if is just to go with the flow, if that suits you. For me, I like to have a plan of action. When I am thinking of making a big change, I believe in P.L.A.N.S.
P.L.A.N.S. stands for Purpose, Lifeline, Alternatives, News, Skills. P.L.A.N.S. are especially important when making a career change or if you are heading out into the “real” world, for the first time, after graduating.
Purpose: Everyone needs/has a purpose. The question is: do you know yours? College can be a great time to discover what you like, what you are good at, and what your purpose is. When you know your purpose you can, decide if your current career is helping you fulfill that and if you are being properly compensated for that purpose. If it’s not, then it’s probably time to make a change. Life is too short to settle.
Lifeline: Kind of like the game show, when you are making a big change, you really need a lifeline. A lifeline is someone that you reach out to for help/advice. A good lifeline would be a mentor or role model in your profession or in your desired profession. When choosing your lifeline, choose someone who excels in their field. They have likely been in your shoes once upon a time.
Alternatives: What will you do if your plan falls through? What if Company A doesn’t hire you? Do you have a company B in mind? Having a B, C, and D option is probably a good idea. Again, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for less, but at least keep an open mind to other options if your first choice doesn’t work out.
News: News equals knowledge. Stay on top of what’s going on in the profession you are seeking to enter. The more you know, the better. Study the company you are interested in working for and its key members, so when they call you for your interview, you are prepared. They want you to know about their company.
Skills: This one is a no-brainer. Make sure your skills and qualifications are up-to-date and match the job you are looking for. If they are not, then by all means, get busy!
When you use P.L.A.N.S., it will put you ahead and prepare you for the change with smooth sailing.