When I was unemployed and desperate for a career change, I read articles either written by or quoting people who made career changes after spending time in a career they hated. The person who had changed careers always seemed to almost be bragging about themselves. They had figured out life. They had pursued their dreams and it had worked out. Clearly, everyone else could too if they just tried.
These articles always fall into either one of two categories: 1. I am telling my story and failing to acknowledge that I had substantial financial help or 2. I am citing the help that I received while failing to recognize my own privilege. If everyone who wanted a career change had the financial backing to do it, everyone would change careers. How can you write a motivational piece on how you started over from the bottom without providing any information as to how you were able to do it financially, arguably the most important part? That’s what everyone wants to know.
They also fail to mention the nonmonetary help they receive. Maybe, the author’s mother helped by watching the kids, so the author wouldn’t have to pay $1,200.00 a month in childcare. Maybe, the author’s friend volunteered to help clean the house, so the author could devote more time to pursuing new jobs while still employed in the old career. The nonmonetary help is rarely mentioned.
Finally, they neglect to mention the help they received in the past. I hear amazing career change stories from people whose parents paid their tuition through college and/or graduate school. No, most people don’t have mommy and daddy paying their tuition, rent, etc. until they get their first job. You were ahead of the game when you started your first career. Most people are still paying off their student loans when they discover they hate the career they chose.
Changing careers takes a leap of faith and a safety net. When you have a safety net and don’t have to worry about financial ruin, the leap of faith doesn’t seem like such a big leap. If you are changing careers and you have a spouse who is supporting you while you do it, acknowledge it. If your mom is throwing you money here and there to support you through your transition, own it. Don’t write motivational articles assuming everyone has that kind of help. At the very least, explain how your bills got paid while you fearlessly changed jobs and how supported your kids. If you’re going to talk down to those who feel stuck at their jobs, the least you could is own your privilege and try to be a teeny bit humble.