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Tips for creating a career backup plan

There will come a time during your career when you just can’t anymore. You can’t deal with the unrealistic expectations of your bosses, you don't want to deal with your annoying colleagues or you really can’t handle the daily two-hour commute each way. You might unexpectedly resign or be retrenched. Anything could happen at any time and you must be prepared. And when you reach that inevitable point, you’ll wish for a backup plan. It’s important at every stage of your career to have a backup plan in place. This is the option you could turn to when things don’t quite work out as expected.
You might also need another source of income while still working at your nine to five. It might be easier to start making moves and plans before you become desperate. After all, it’s very difficult being positive and enthusiastic about finding working when scarcity and fear are nipping at your heels. As US founding father Benjamin Franklin famously said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” So, here are some tips for making that happen.
Emergency fund
Financial advisers agree everyone should have one of these. What they don’t agree on is how much should be in here. Some say three months of expenses, others say six months and there are few who even suggest a full year. What’s important is that you have a stash of money saved in an account which is fairly easily accessible.
Study
Now’s the time, while you’re feeling like you might need to make a move soon, to further your studies. If your skills are lacking in a certain area, now is the perfect opportunity to add to your skill set and knowledge base. There are many part-time courses available online and at tertiary institutions. You might even be able to do one which will benefit you at your current job, allowing you the opportunity to encourage your current employer to pay for the course. These are the skills which could even give you the advantage in a job interview.
Volunteer
Aside from the obvious of helping people, there are many benefits to volunteering. And there are many stories of volunteering turning into a full-time job. And after hearing success stories like that, you’ll find yourself researching Doctors Without Borders volunteer requirements at 2am. Beginning to volunteer before you need to make a career switch, is an excellent investment in your future. You can improve your skills and meet influential people.
Take a second job
Or just start out small, hustling in areas that interest you. If you’ve always wanted to be a painter or graphic designer, start painting or designing. The stability of a regular paycheque could be just the thing you need to take the necessary risks. You never know where this experiment could lead you. Or if you’re not so inclined, how about taking a service or retail job in the evenings or weekends. That’s time you likely would have spent watching trashy TV, why not benefit from earning some extra money?
Talk to friends and colleagues
Now is the time to make the most of the connections you already have. They are likely to work in similar industries and could know of job openings or opportunities. While you’re still studying you have the perfect opportunity to chat to classmates and lecturers about your future ambitions. After all, you never know how they might be able to help you in the future. Get to know as many people as possible by attending events and meetups. Every person you meet could be potentially useful to you.
None of this is going to be easy but having a career backup plan is important. It’ll help you sleep that little bit more soundly at night. You’ll know that you’ve done everything you can to make your future that little bit less scary. You’ll realise what needs to be done and proactively take those steps.

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