Photo Credit: Australia's Anna Meares celebrates after her track cycling women's sprint finals at the Velodrome during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 7, 2012. Meares won the gold medal. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandin

February 20, 2018 / 0 COMMENT(S)

You Don’t Have to Quit Your Day Job

This blog post is a little outside my usual subject matter, but I wanted to share some thoughts to inspire you to go after what you really want. Lately, I’ve been running into smart, talented people who feel stuck in jobs they hate, and this makes me sad. I know it’s hard to change careers. We all invest time and develop expertise in a field, and we get used to the money that comes with our experience. Maybe you simply need a new job in the same industry, but maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s time to go after your dreams, no matter how scary or seemingly impractical.

Maybe it’s time to go after your dreams, no matter how scary or seemingly impractical.

Many of us grew up with family members encouraging us to do what they thought was best for us, and that was rarely to take big risks. I majored in International Relations at UC Davis, and every time I talked to my grandmother while I was there, she asked, “What are you going to DO with that major?” I didn’t know. All I knew is that the classes were fascinating and I loved learning about how history and economics and political science and language/culture influenced national and international leaders, and how that affected my daily life and the lives of everyone I cared about. I didn’t end up pursuing international law, as I expected to. Instead, I fell madly in love, and after some really interesting jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area, my husband and I moved to his hometown, a small, rural city of 16,000 people, where there wasn’t much demand for international legal experts.

I ended up following my heart and pursuing a career that allowed me to use my creativity and my passion for writing and communication. I’ve worked hard, but I recognize I’ve also benefited some lucky breaks. That’s how life is. I do believe, however, that luck favors the prepared.

For many, the idea of starting a new venture or exposing their true passion is terrifying. I understand that, but I also challenge the idea that fear should keep you rooted where you are. Rather than dismissing the possibility of making a change, ask yourself, “What small changes could eventually lead to making a big, amazing change?”

How much money do you really need? Who could help support you? What knowledge do you need that you don’t have? Start making a plan. Call it a daydream for now, if you must, but put it on paper. Allow yourself to dream. Imagine you’re doing this exercise for someone you love, someone you believe in, someone who deserves to be happy and to share their passion with the world. Ditch the negative self-talk for a second and DREAM. Talk to friends or loved ones who can dream with you and support you.

If you would like help imagining a different future than the one you’re headed toward now, I recommend calling Heather Paulsen of Heather Paulsen Consulting. In addition to project management, strategic planning and helping organizations become B corps (benefit corporations), she does an AMAZING visioning session that can be used by organizations or individuals. If you know someone who would benefit from this, give it to them as a gift certificate. Seriously, Heather is incredibly talented. And, no, I do not get any financial recompense for sharing her awesomeness with the world.

People make career changes all the time. The only way to guarantee you’ll stay in a miserable job is to accept it as your fate, to refuse to do anything to change it. I understand you might not be able to quit your day job tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps toward a new and brighter future. You get one life. Make it count.

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Jendi is a public relations consultant and blogger who lives in Northern California with her husband and teenage sons.

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