Last weekend at WDS was full of great speeches and I wrote down a bunch of quotes. Tess Vigeland talked about leaving her dream job as the host of Marketplace Money on NPR. She is working on getting back to being remarkable again and it isn’t an easy process. She is struggling, but I’m sure she will figure it out. Anyway, here is the quote again.
When you have your dream job, you don’t spend a lot of time dreaming.
This really spoke to me. Actually, I think as you get older that statement get expanded quite a bit. Even if the job sucks, but it paid the bills and enable you to live a comfortable lifestyle, then most people will endure going to that same job every day. Inertia is hard to overcome. Why leave a sure thing to pursue something unknown?
I had a dream job too
I got a dream job right out of college. I studied ASIC design when I was pursuing my MS degree. After I graduated, I went to work for Intel designing computer chips. It was awesome because Intel was dominating the PC market and it felt great to work on bleeding edge technology. The work was interesting and I had a ton of fun as a junior engineer. It was a dream job, but it didn’t last a lifetime.
As I progress up the technical ladder, the job became more stressful and I had to deal with more and more corporate BS. Senior engineers are expected to take on more leadership roles, but I wasn’t ready for it. I tried taking on some responsibilities, but it didn’t work out well because it’s just not me. The stress became unbearable, but I kept with it. I was that frog being slowly boiled without knowing it.
In case you’re not familiar with the parable – The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. (Via Wikipedia)
The slow boil process took over 10 years for me. The first time I remember not enjoying the job was in 2001 and it took over 10 years for me to extricate myself out of that situation. In the last few years on the job, my body was trying to tell me to get out of there. I had mysterious dizziness spells, panic attacks, depression, migraines, high blood pressure, and various aches and pains. I should have listened to my body sooner, but I didn’t know stress could cause all that.
I think I held on for so long because it was such a dream job when I first started. It was also a very well paying job that provided a comfortable living for us.
Dream a little
Do you have a dream job? You still should dream a little and see how your life can improve. It’s always easier to make a transition from a position of strength. People with jobs have a much easier time finding jobs than unemployed folks.
If you don’t enjoy your work anymore, then what’s preventing you from trying something else? Yes, it is hard financially to change job/career so you probably need some time to prepare. Here is a small list of things to do to get you going.
- Reduce you expenses and stop buying stuffs that you don’t need.
- Pay off debts.
- Save up 1 year of living expenses.
- Find a side gig to help bring in some extra income.
- Invest and generate some passive income.
- Talk to your friends about trying to find a new job/career. You never know where the next opportunity will come from.
We were lucky because we were always frugal so transitioning from two incomes to one wasn’t a big stretch. We saved up and invested so we had some passive income and I was able to make a little online income.
Last year, I left the corporate job to become a stay at home dad/blogger and I love it. Yes, I’m living the dream again, but this time I know the dream isn’t permanent. The kid will go off to kindergarten in 3 years and I’ll have a lot more time on my hands then. That’s why I’m keeping my eyes open to any opportunities that come my way.
What about you? Are you living the dream or just hanging on? If you are not satisfied with your working life, what is preventing you from taking a chance on doing something else?
photo credit: wikipedia