Many sources of career advice assume that you’ll be earning more money and taking on more responsibility. However, there are times in life when you move in the opposite direction.
It can be the result of forces beyond your control or a voluntary decision. The economy is still recovering from the pandemic, and some industries were disrupted more than others. Even if you love your job and your company is prospering, you may be looking for a change.
Whatever the reasons for resizing your career, you’re more likely to find what you want if you take an intentional approach. It will benefit you to master the modern rules for moving down the career ladder gracefully.
Benefits of Taking a Lower-Level Position:
1. Reduce stress. More than 40% of workers say their job is extremely or very stressful, according to a poll by Northwestern National Life. A less demanding job might enhance your health and overall wellbeing.
2. Prepare for retirement. Are you thinking about working in your senior years to stretch your savings or stay engaged? Easing into your encore career may give you more time to figure out what you want to do next.
3. Change fields. In the modern workforce, many employees change jobs and even careers more often. Being willing to take a more entry-level position can increase your options. You’ll also have a chance to learn new things and pick up additional skills.
4. Pursue other interests. Maybe you’re less focused on your job than you used to be. You’d rather shift your time and energy to spending time with your family or working on personal projects.
Strategies for Finding a Lower-Level Position:
1. Watch your budget. Before you take a leap to a lower paying job, it’s important to ensure that you can live on your new salary. Reducing your housing expenses often has the most impact. Dining in and cancelling your cable subscription may help too.
2. Identify your strengths. Spend some time evaluating your transferable skills. Taking inventory will guide you to the kind of work where you excel.
3. Explain yourself. You may need to reassure potential employers about why you’re applying. They may be concerned that you won’t stay long or you’ll feel dissatisfied. Use cover letters and interviews to show why you’re taking a different path.
4. Edit your resume. You may need to deemphasize some of your achievements if you want to avoid giving the impression that you’re overqualified. Use simple language and focus on the relevant aspects of your background.
5. Ask your boss. Your current supervisor may be an asset. Before you leave your company, see if you can negotiate some adjustments. Maybe you can work remotely or switch to part-time hours. Maybe you can do some contract assignments on a temporary or longer-term basis.
6. Use your network. Your other contacts may be valuable too. They may have leads themselves, or they may be able to introduce you to others who need your services.
7. Try it out. To make a transition with less risk, take a trial run. Hold onto your day job while you do some part-time work or volunteering that will broaden your experience and contacts.
8. Take action. Any big change can feel overwhelming. Break your plans down into smaller steps. You might commit yourself to filling out at least 3 job applications a week or going to one job fair each month.
Downshifting your career could open up new opportunities and create more balance in your life. Be prepared to explore your alternatives and market yourself to new employers.
You may find that your new arrangement is more satisfying than anything you left behind.