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Cabarrus Magazine

Your Dream Job: Ready, Set, Go!

Mar 01, 2017 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Your Dream Job: Ready, Set, Go!

As children, we typically had an answer when someone asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up: teacher, doctor, astronaut, president of the United States.

Then, regardless of the educational path taken – or not – we as adults end up working a nine-to-five not only to pay the bills, but to afford us the luxury of purchasing the American Dream: a house, a nice car, a Saturday night steak dinner at a local restaurant.

But what happens if the path you chose isn’t the one you’re happiest at having taken? What if you dread waking up at the crack of dawn to work for a not-so-likeable boss and perform mundane tasks that give you no personal satisfaction? You have a hobby that you just love, but can you make a living at it? Opinions are divided. shares some viewpoints for the “ayes.”

•  Make time for your passion: Go back to school and earn a degree in a field you’ve always wanted to pursue. This can be done on a part-time basis while you still work.

• Expand your network outside the workplace: Besides networking for your employer, talk with those who are already working in the field you’d like to pursue. Word of mouth could lead to opportunities.

• Get your finances in order: If you’ve been working in corporate America for some time, you’ve probably established a certain lifestyle. To follow your dream, have you lowered your debt; built up enough savings to cover at least six months worth of expenses; do you have a spouse or partner whose income will help offset expenses; and, the big question, will following your passion bring in enough income?

• Accept emotional and financial support: Making such a career change will undoubtedly affect you and your family. It’s important to make sure everyone is on board and supportive of your decision.

• Don’t worry about status: Whether they be friends or co-workers, those who truly care about you will stick around and be supportive.

• Plan ahead early on: Implement an action plan. Set goals with planned accomplishment dates; establish a realistic budget.

• Leave benefits behind: Bonuses, stock options, paid vacation and personal days are a thing of the past and it’s okay. You may be able to time your corporate departure advantageously.

• Remain motivated: Create your own mission statement in your new endeavor and stick to it.

Then there are the points presented by the “nays,” brought to you tongue in cheek by Kathy Caprino, a contributor at Forbes.

• You don’t have a sound strategy: “You can’t leave your corporate job without a strong financial plan that will effectively fund your transition. Wishful thinking just doesn’t cut it. You have to understand exactly what doing meaningful work in the way you want to will require of you, your family and your bank account – financially, emotionally and behaviorally. To make it work, you need a sound, well-developed strategic plan that covers all bases.”

• You follow bad advice: “Don’t follow bad advice that tells you you’ll get rich quick. You won’t, and you’ll lose all your money looking for that quick pot of gold that just won’t come.”

• You lack true commitment: “People who want to move out of their careers into something more satisfying often don’t realize how long it will take, and how much effort it requires. But when you’re doing what you’re passionate about, it doesn’t feel like hard work – it feels exciting, juicy and life affirming.

• They don’t know how to handle money effectively: Most of us weren’t taught how to manage money well or effectively. To be financially successful, you have to love and appreciate money, but not for money’s sake. You’ve got to heal your relationship with money to learn how to manage it wisely and to have your money grow to support your passionate work.”

Imagine, total control. There will no longer be management dictating policy – you are management. You can set your own hours, expand your skill set and control your money. Beyond money, there’s a sense of personal fulfillment and empowerment.

It can be tough to leave the familiarity and security of a job where the employer is responsible for providing paid vacation, personal days and medical benefits. It’s a safety net. But for those ready to take the plunge, following your heart could be a decision you never look back from.

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