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Making the most of a career downshift

Downshifting is moving into a career with less hassle, fewer working hours and most probably lower pay. It's great for those who want to make more time for their hobbies, volunteering or caring responsibilities or for those who want a slower pace of life. In this blog we'll have a look some of the issues facing you if you choose to downshift your career and what you need to think about. 

Downshifting doesn't necessarily mean changing career, you could, for example, job share. 

Practical Considerations

When thinking about a new type of career, some have considerably long training periods. If you are looking for a career change in later life, a career with 3 years of training may not be suitable.

Downshifting will mean reduced earnings for the rest of your working life. It might be easy to live with reduced earnings for a couple of years, but can you do it continuously?

It's likely that you'll have fewer responsibilities which means that you might find people in more senior positions and having to take direction whcih you are not used to. 

You'll also need to consider:

  • Hours - do you want to work certain days or mornings/afternoons.
  • What you are seeking to achieve - do you want more time for volunteering, time for yourself, weekends away?
  • Check you are engaged with reality - can you actually downshift in your career? Keep an eye on part-time vacancies and talk to recruitment agencies to see whether what you’ve selected fits with what employers want.

Downshifting Internally

If you are happy with your current employer, you could work with them to see whether you could take on fewer hours. They might as whether:

  • you can adapt to your new situation - or will you fail to adapt and become an issue?
  • it will be fair on those you have to report to
  • it could cause problems in future 

Downshifting Externally

Employers might find it difficult to consider someone who has previously been employed in full-time employment. This means that you have to shown them that you are both serious and that you have thought through the issues of downshifting properly. Your CV and cover letter are the places to put this across. Demonstrate the benefits of employing someone like you, which might include your character, that you won't be negotiating for a promotion, that you won't leave and are a stable bet, and that you are reliable and hard working. 

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