Sure, you'll have to fill in some of the blanks later, but you can at least start painting a picture of your future by talking to colleagues and friends about your plans and cruising the classified ads. Online discussion boards can be a great resource, as are the enthusiast sites that cater to your next move. Then check out organizations that represent the field you're joining and universities that have relevant degree programs. So what if you're not interested in taking the classes? The program's website and collateral material can be a gold mine of information.
Embrace your fear.
Making a change, whether big or small, is going to stir up some apprehension. It's completely natural—in fact, most people are terrified of change. At the same time, though, we need change in order to have a full, interesting life. "As long as you're intending to move forward, there are probably no wrong moves," says Susan Crandell, author of Thinking About Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife . Turn your fear into motivation.
Find a mentor.
There's a ton of research that shows that having a mentor is huge when it comes to career success. Once you've changed jobs—and especially if you've changed careers—you need someone to guide you. Not only can a mentor help you settle in, he or she can also introduce you to others in your field and company. So how do you find that person? By attending networking events, talking to colleagues and getting to know superiors at your new company. Once you find someone you feel comfortable with, ask her to grab a coffee with you. Let her know that you respect her and her work and that you'd love it if she'd be open to you bouncing ideas off of her from time to time. Let the relationship evolve from there.
Don't let a career move sabotage your retirement fund.