Turn Your Dream Career into Reality

Published Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:55 PM

Do you head off to work each morning to tackle your dream job? Chances are the answer is no. The lure of a steady paycheck and inertia are often what keeps people reporting to work day in and day out. While paying your mortgage and clothing your kids are compelling reasons to keeping punching the time clock, many workers fantasize about ditching a ho hum job to pursue a passion. If you would rather be in your dream job than your current one, read on for tips for realizing your ultimate career.

Find Your Passion: Knowing what you're passionate about and identifying a dream job should be easy right? But sometimes life isn't so clear cut: the dream job of your youth-ballerina, police officer, rock star-may seem out of sync with your current life. Try to identify what you love and look for roles that provide a chance to explore that passion in some capacity. For example, if dance is still your great love but you're well-past ballerina age, consider using your business skills to help run a dance company or to create a non-profit that brings dance to underserved communities. Or turn your encyclopedic knowledge of rock-n-roll into a career in music journalism rather than trying to make it on the road as a singer.

Sometimes people have trouble articulating their passion. They might enjoy creative work, rather than number crunching, or have wonderful people skills, but they don't have a single-minded passion. When your interests are more diffuse, many doors are open to you which is a tremendous plus, but it can also be a challenge to hone in on a particular line of work. Consider strategizing with a career consultant, or trusted mentors and peers, to help define career opportunities that would best suit your interests.

Assess Your Talents: The key to identifying, and succeeding at a dream job, is to find the intersection of your passion and talents. What are you really good at?  What makes you happy deep in your bones?

For many people, a dream job is not one with riches and fame, but a job where they make a meaningful contribution and are able to grow personally and professionally. Jobs that are deeply in sync with your own personal desires are truly dream jobs so take time to evaluate both your abilities and long-term goals. Career coaches or life coaches can help with this process. If hiring a pro is too costly, hit your public library for career books or spend time on the web exploring the many resources on this subject.

Spend time working in your dream field in some capacity. Volunteering or moonlighting can be a valuable test run. Also, assess what skills or experiences you may need to add to your portfolio to land that dream job. Taking classes or getting additional training or certificates while you're still employed in your old role will allow you to both pay your bills and build the resume necessary to make a switch.

Pay Your Bills: At the end of the day, everyone has to pay their bills. Figuring out a way to make a living is a critical component of work and if money is a struggle, your dream job will seem considerably less dreamy. If you wish to work in a field that pays less than your current work, committing to a new, less expensive life style needs to be part of the equation. Work with a financial planner and your spouse or significant other to calculate ways to spend less, save more. You may wish to relocate to a less expensive community, or forgo certain luxuries.

Career switchers will want to spend time trimming costs while preparing to make a career switch. If living on a smaller budget proves unworkable, it's time to recalibrate your career dreams. It may also be wise to ease into your dream career slowly, to see if the fit is as dreamy as you imagine. Volunteer or work part-time in your desired field to truly test the waters. At the end of the day, an educated choice will serve you best.  

Car kingmaker Henry Ford famously said, "There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something." Set your mind to accomplishing a switch into your dream job and let happiness follow.


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