Times of uncertainly can unexpectedly raise exciting opportunities. When you are completely comfortable, there is perhaps less desire to take risks. As the global economy thrashes through the COVID-19 pandemic, job security is threatened and unforeseeable turbulence can cause even the 'coziest' of positions to be re-evaluated.

Previously, we discussed various tactics businesses can apply to protect operations against the pandemic. Today, we're going to address the opportunity for an individual to change industry.

Protecting Your Business Against COVID-19.
“Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius”

The Pivot Runway

Undeniably, there are multiple risks when an individual choses to leave their current career industry- that may have dominated the entirety of their professional life- and switch to pursuing their new passion. The fear of failure can be prominent as you have no experience working in this new field, and the financial uncertainty can be a main factor to stop people transitioning. Simply put, when we find ourself earning steady money, and having the knowledge to continue doing the job that earns said 'steady money', we may be unwilling to risk losing this comfortable situation.

This is where the Pivot Runway becomes key. The concept is purely that we account for potential loss of earnings, and periods of uncertainty, by saving a suitable amount to support us during career transitions.

By assessing your situation, you should ask the following questions:

How much money do I need to survive on a month to month basis?

How long will it take me to find a job within my new desired field?

How long will it take before my new job will provide enough income to support my lifestyle?

We may find that from our $2000 a month salary, we realistically only need $1000 a month to continue paying bills and leading a relatively normal life. The assessment may be that it'll take roughly three months to find a new job, based on retraining, networking and investing in the necessary assets or utilities we need for our chosen new industry. Finally, we might estimate the entry-level we'd begin at is only likely to pay $500 per month, until after one year when we'd be able to hit the $1000 per month we need for our normal life to continue unhinged.

There's a lot to digest here, and a statistician could certainly draw up many detailed proposals of financial management strategies - however, to keep it simple for this example, we'll deduce a few basic ideas.

Firstly, we must have $3000 saved for the potential 3 months of unemployment.

Secondly, to account for the first year being 50% of our goal salary, we should have $6000 saved to supplement our salary. (Perceived Salary / Annual Salary Aim * 100)

Finally, we may estimate that new softwares, tools, education/training and networking events may cost us roughly $1000.

To minimize risk, our Pivot Runway would aim to be $10'000. This would allow for an incredibly comfortable entry into the chosen new career industry. A good practice is to add a further safety net of around 33.33% to whatever your calculated final pivot runway cost may be. This is based on the potential unseen variables and risks that may affect your estimations, it will also reduce the pressure of meeting your timeline exactly as planned.

With the above example, we'd be able to deduce it'd take ten months to reach our savings goal or 13 months to include an additional safety net. To many, planning for over a year away may seem too delayed an approach so we have considered how to speed up this risk management strategy.

Optimize your spare time.

If you're considering a career change, start by optimizing your spare time to learn more about your new, desired, career move. You can find find free training courses via reputable online education sources such as Coursera, EdX and LinkedIn Learning.

Youtube, and indeed the internet, are also filled with tutorials for entire topics down to individual solutions - such as a walk-through course of Adobe Photoshop spanning 100 hours of content, to a single explainer video showcasing how to use Photoshop to turn a photo into a 'hand drawn' sketch through clever filters.

Accelerating your learning, accelerates your employability.

Connect with Your Target Companies.

Next, the timeless saying of 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' still rings true. LinkedIn is an invaluable platform for job hunting in the 21st century as it provides many advantageous opportunities. One basic function, is to take some time to dream up your ideal job, then search for the companies that you'd love to work for. Once on the company LinkedIn page, you can navigate through 'people' to view their current (and past) staff members, allowing you to land directly on the profile of an individual holding your dream job. Depending on how well their profile is filled out, you'll likely be able to view the path they've taken to reach their job and perhaps read various insights into how they work and how you can follow their path. Secondly, you can use the platform as a networking tool and begin connecting with HR personnel and your targeted company employees directed.

You'll be surprised how many people are happy to talk about their successes, and their role at a company - and by reaching out to them, you'll be placed on their radar so that when you eventually apply to the company, you're already a familiar face.

It's also worth noting, that this exercise of following company social media pages and employees will keep you up to date with their developing news, and likely prepare you for future interviews.

Live Modestly.

One of the biggest accelerators for your timeline, would be to reduce your monthly living costs. In our example, if we could cut the estimated monthly cost from $1000 to $750, we'd only need $2250 (3 months job search) + $3000 (annual salary top up of $250 per month to reach $750 per month) whilst the $1000 additional cost stays the same. This reduces the proposed $10'000 pivot runway to $6250, shaving an entire quarter from our year plan.

If you're changing your career to enhance your life (and happiness), then sacrificing a few costs per month may be a no brainer.


Whilst the term 'hustle' has been appropriated largely into an influencer led lifestyle concept, it's certainly a worthy buzzword to use from time to time. The idea of fueling your passion by committing extra time and energy to it, relates to another age old quote "time equals money". Waste your time and lose potential money, but invest your spare time into taking on extra work to increase earning, and you'll fast-forward the date you'll reach your Pivot Runway savings goal. Alternatively, if you dedicate your spare time to training for your new career, you'll perhaps be able to find a job quicker and enter at a higher level- both invaluable time savers that will reduce the amount of savings suggested for transitioning career at a reduced risk.


It is important to approach career transitioning with a rational mind, and perhaps be aware that not every risk pays off.

Perhaps by searching for, or reading this insight, you have the first indication that a career transition is the best move for you. Similar to the concept behind our "1%" article, attempting to move from zero to hundred instantly would be a rushed approach. We recommend drawing up a realistic timeline, and mapping out targets for your journey - which begins with planning your Pivot Runway for personal, financial security.

Discover why big leaps forwards are actually thousands of small steps.

Take an hour now, to make an initial 'to-do' list, as the act of committing pen to paper will kickstart your journey. If you have post it notes to hand, we'd recommend starting with a 5 minute brain storm, whereby you write down every short idea that comes to your mind about what will be needed to make the move a reality. This may include:

• Softwares (being as specific as possible may help your focus)
• Training Courses
• Savings
• Relocation
• Freeing up Time
• Networking
• Tweaking your CV

Remember, big change doesn't happen overnight (usually), so arm yourself, for sensibly gauged increments, to pursue your passion with the financial safety net of a well thought out Pivot Runway.

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If you would like to #workwithmad then send us an email at hi@mad.co and let's Make It Happen.™