April 22nd, 2009 | 6:00 am

Ask-A-Recruiter: Financing Big Changes

filed under Ask A Recruiter

istock_000005168521xsmall1.jpgContributed by Caroline Ceniza-Levine of SixFigureStart

A popular excuse for not making a big change is money. You don’t have enough money – training for new skills, career coaching, whatever support you need for the big change cost more than you have. You need the income you have – you don’t have any left over to save for the big change and you certainly don’t have the option of quitting to focus more time on the big change. However, although money is a legitimate consideration, it is not an obstacle you can’t overcome. It comes down to the math: how much do you need and where will you get it.

Think Robin Hood. Take from one place to give to another. Look at your discretionary income after the fixed bills are paid. Where can you shave off dollars to allocate towards your career change?

Raise your income. Can you start a side consulting business and use the proceeds for the big change? The graphic designer can create websites, the financial planner can give Quicken tutorials. I know a marketing director who did a brand strategy for a start-up to pay for her kids’ new swing set. However, remember that you need your energy for the big change — this job is just for money so pick something you know you can do in which you won’t get too invested.

Challenge your assumptions. Still don’t have enough? Have you really separated out discretionary income or are non-essentials still in there? (Cable TV is not an essential when you are questioning all expenses.) Are you sure you need this money? (Can you take a workshop instead of getting a long-term class?) Are you sure you have itemized all expenses? (When you are trying to find the wasted dollars, you need to take a microscope to your spending.) There are always gaps between what you actually spend and what you think you spend, so be willing to challenge your memory and actually look.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart, a career coaching firm comprised exclusively of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Prior to launching SixFigureStart, Caroline recruited for Accenture, Oliver Wyman, Time Inc, and others. Email me at [email protected] and ask how you can attend a free SixFigureStart group coaching teleclass.