What do you want to be when you grow up?

That’s the question we were all asked hundreds of times as kids and we all had answers.  We wanted to be everything from race car drivers to doctors to astronauts.  Unfortunately, we can’t all drive like Mark Martin, some of us fell off of the doctor path as soon as we took high school biology and NASA just isn’t hiring astronauts these days.  Reality kicks in for most of us, and at some point many chose jobs because they were convenient or we were good at, though we might not have liked them that much.  There’s a problem with that and the problem is that a few years down the road, there are a lot of folks who are simply miserable at

There’s good news.  There’s nothing saying you have to stay there.  There are many people who pursue second and sometimes even third careers.  The bad news is that second career may not come easy or quick.  If it’s something you think you might want to pursue, then go for it.  You just may need to do a little planning and preparation first.  Here are five quick tips to help you get on the right track.

Seriously consider what you want to do.  This is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  If you plan on spending the next decade or more doing this job then you should really think about what is it that you really want to do and the working conditions you like.  Don’t just pick something you’re good at, but something that sparks your imagination and interest.

Research the different fields that apply to your interest.  You can use the same career field and in most cases, apply it to a host of different jobs.  A doctor doesn’t just have to work in a hospital and a carpenter doesn’t just have to frame houses.  Think about the direction and job openings you’re interested in.

Find out what the field is going to need by the time you’re ready.  It’s not always about knowing what they need now, but what they’ll need down the road.  So if it’s going to take you a couple of years to be ready to make the leap, then go for the long pass and head down the field to where the ball is going to be rather than where it’s currently sitting.

Get some training.  Now that you know what the industry needs, get yourself educated.  Whether that means heading back to college or enrolling into a vocational training program, you may need to update skill and knowledge set.

Prepare your household for the switch.  In many cases, this is something that will bring in a higher income, but in some cases it won’t at first.  If you’re going to take a hit on your paycheck until you can get yourself established, then you might need to make sure your finances are in order.  If you need to pay down some debt, then get a part-time job if you can manage it and pay down some bills and hold off on buying that new TV.

So… What do you want to be when you grow up?