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Nine steps to quitting that meaningless job and finding your dream job

Have you dreamed of leaving your current, corporate job and doing something you really believe in, something that will have a real, positive impact on people’s lives? Perhaps you have, but you’ve never been willing to leave the safety of a well-paid, stable but boring job? Or maybe you just haven’t found a job that really fits with your passion?

Fast Company has a great post this week by Mark McNeilly setting out 9 steps to getting out of your current, “have to have” job, and finding that dream job you’ve been looking for.

Mark starts with suggesting that you Make time for your passion: decide what you love doing, and start to make space for it in your life, whether that means getting a new degree, volunteering your time, joining a non-profit borad or starting to write that book you always wanted to. He also suggests:

“If you don’t know your passion, a book such as Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G. Boldt is a good place to start. Part motivational tome, part workbook, it’s a great book that provides a roadmap to guide you to your new path.”

The next step is to Expand your network outside your company. It’s easy to build networks with people you already work with, but if you’re thinking of making a change, new networks can be hugely helpful in opening doors and making you aware of opportunities. Identify networking opportunities – conferences, events, discussion groups, board opportunities – in your area of passion and get networking.

Mark’s third step is Get your financial house in order. This is important because the reality is that the worst jobs often pay the most money, and that can mean you’re living a “certain lifestyle”. But do you really need all that expensive stuff if you hate the life you’re living? Check your finances, and look for where you can cut expenses, pay off debts, and save some money for a rainy day.

The next one is Seek support – both emotional and financial – from your spouse or significant other. This can be incredibly helpful in assisting what can sometimes be a complicated transition in your life. Change can affect your spouse/significant other too, so make sure they are ready for the challenge.

After that comes Don’t worry what others will think. Easier said than done right? Others’ opinions of us matter more than many of us are willing to admit. But in the end, you’ve got to live your own life, and true friends will be supportive of what you really want to do.  The others – not worth paying any attention to them.

Then there’s Plan ahead. You need a plan of action that includes specific dates for completing the items on your plan. Make a budget for how you’ll be able to live based on your future expenses and the income you’ll get from your new life. Add to the plan as time goes on, and specifics become clearer.

Step seven is: Forget the golden handcuffs and the money left on the table. Big bonuses or stock options are used by companies to keep you there. Mark says: “Get over it. The one who dies with the most toys doesn’t win. The one who lives life to the fullest wins.”

Then Get the timing right. Should you stay and take your remaining annual leave? Or wait until a natural opportunity opens up? Sometimes timing is everything.

Finally, you need to Stay motivated. Subscribe to email lists, Facebook groups or websites that might help you learn more about your area of passion. Try writing down in detail your vision for how your life could be, and review it each day.

Mark says:

“Now it’s time to execute your plan. As I got closer to my transition I did a calendar countdown, marking off each day that passed and brought me closer to my goal. This made the plan more real and motivated me to ensure I made the best use of the time remaining to make a successful move. Will taking concrete action to pursue your passion lead to success and happiness? Perhaps so. Perhaps not. As T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

You can read Mark’s full article here.

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