13 Brilliant Ways to Pursue Your Dream Job Without Quitting Your Day Job


Pursuing your dream job is not an all or nothing deal. Go for the moon with your feet on the ground.

Maybe your dream job is to star in a Hollywood movie. Or you have always wanted to captain a charter boat on a Caribbean island. But, instead of pursuing your dream job and having a career that you love, you’re spending your time in a cubicle and collecting a paycheck.

A Dream Job is Within Reach

Before you rage about the risk-takers who drop it all to start a sheep farm in Montana or tutor kids in South America, pursuing your dream is possible.

Plenty of people juggle family and a day job while they write their novel at night or get their MBA online.

You can live out your dreams.

It just takes time, planning and action to make your dream job a reality. Unless you have a large nest egg, you’ll need to work around your day job so you can have a place to live and put food on the table. Here are a few tips to make the most of your current job.

1. Put Your Steady Paycheck to Use.

A steady paycheck is a big advantage to holding off on submitting your resignation letter. It’s easier to pursue your dream job when your basic needs are met. Find ways to save money for your dream job.

For instance, if you want to be a travel photographer, you can save up for equipment and travel gear. Bring your lunch to work, make the coffee at home and cut those streaming services to save.

2. Plan Your Exit Strategy.

You can pursue your dream job one day at a time.

Stable employment gives you time to plan. You can figure out what training and networking you need to get your dream job. You can also set goals, and test different tactics for achieving the goals.

You can also plan how and when you will leave your day job. Set a day on the calendar, even if it is 5 years from now. It will motivate you to keep going when you have setbacks at work or going after your dream.

3. Maintain Structure.

Depending on your personality, a wide-open schedule could feel liberating or overwhelming. Your routine may keep you prompt and punctual.

4. Build Motivation.

The upside of low job satisfaction is that it could drive you to explore other career paths. Think about what you’d rather be doing,

5. Operate Part-time.

On the other hand, you may just want to supplement a job you love. Your passion project could remain a side venture. A hospital administrator or hardware store clerk can build birdhouses on weekends.

6. Scale Back.

Of course, if your job consumes your time and energy like a black hole, you may need to switch gears. Find balance by moving into a less demanding position.

7. Look for Areas of Overlap.

Whatever you do for a living, you can probably identify your favorite tasks. Leveraging your strengths at work will lay a foundation for your own endeavors.

8. Schedule Downtime.

Going after your dream job requires balance. Schedule downtime to recharge.

Adding more activities into a busy week can be challenging. Avoid burnout by taking regular breaks and getting adequate sleep.

9. Surround Yourself with Support.

Let your family and friends know what they can do to help you succeed. Give each other encouragement and practical assistance.

10. Trim Your Budget.

Create more flexibility by living simply. Cut back on monthly expenses like cable TV or expensive car payments if you want to free up funds for college tuition or international travel.

11. Research Your Options.

Maybe you’ve wanted to become a stand-up comedian since you were in the third grade or maybe you’re still searching for what you want to do. Talk with others about their experiences and read interesting memoirs. Dive in to a few experiments of your own.

12. Set Long and Short-term Goals.

Stay focused by establishing clear goals. Immediate targets will give you a game plan for what you need to do each day. Longer-term objectives will help you define what a meaningful life means for you. While you’re at it, write out your plans and review them frequently.

13. Hang in There.

Commit yourself for the long haul. Give yourself credit for making the effort and enjoy the journey regardless of the results.

You can dream big while you work 9 to 5. Turn your current position into a resource that will help you learn to love what you do and do what you love.

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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