November 2008


I read this great article today and want to share it with you all.  Frank Szivos, contributing writer for the Westport (CT) Minuteman, interviewed career coaches, pastors and educators who provide some great insight into going after a dream job during this economic downturn:

As The Job Market Shrinks, A Time To Find Your Dream Job

I tell my clients all the time that a dream job doesn’t just happen overnight, even in the best of times, let alone during these more challenging times.  Hence, here are my quick and easy suggestions for easing your way into a dream job….risk free!

1.  Get a part-time job in your new dream field/career.  If you’re unemployed or coming back into the work force, there’s no better way than to try something on for size by working in it part-time for someone else.  If you’re currently working, now may not be the time to quit your day job.  Do your dream job on the side while keeping your existing job. Take time during nights and weekends to start your own business or work for someone else on a part-time basis.  Build your expertise and knowledge base without risking the ol’ day job.

2.  Volunteer in your new field.  Many potential employers may not be able to hire anyone right now.  They’ll be astounded when you suggest that you’re willing to work for free as a volunteer in order to gain experience and tap into their knowledge base.  Treat them as your mentor!  

3.  Take a job that is a transition to your new career.  It may not be the perfect fit but it might be with the right company, the right city, the right industry or providing you a new skill set that you need for career advancement.  You can figure out how to take the next step to your ultimate dream job a bit later on.  At least you’re heading in the right strategic direction.   That’s progress!

4.  Pursue your dream job as a hobby until you are ready to change careers.  Don’t let go of that passion!  Don’t let go of those avocational desires.  If you want to become a photographer, interior designer or a voice-over artist, just keep at it on your own, even as a hobby.  Practice makes perfect and you are expanding your skill sets during this economic downtime no matter what.  One step at a time.

Ready to get “unstuck” and transition into a better job?  Check out a couple of other ways to test things out:

VocationVacations

The Book:  Test-Drive Your Dream Job – A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating Your Dream Job

If you read the newspapers and watch the news you might think that the world is coming to an end in one big economic bailout package — but it’s not.  There’s hope!  There’s change!  And, most importantly, people ARE keeping their dreams and goals alive.

I’ve chatted with some of the most interesting people in the last few days.  The common thread for all of them is that they are keeping their career and lifestyle dreams alive despite the economic downturn and their fears.  Due to privacy, I’m going to give them all pseudonyms.  

There’s Sarah who is currently a gift retailer and is considering starting a wine and beer pub with her husband who works in the IT world!  She’s soon taking a Wine Maker VocationVacation.  Also spoke with Bill from NYC who owns a fast-food restaurant but is going to sign up for our Dream Job Coaching as he still feels there’s something more than burgers for him as he heads into his 60’s.  There’s Joan who just sold her dental practice and will face a serious health issue for the rest of her life and is now going to test-drive her dream job as a Voice-over Artist in December.  She is so inspirational.  There’s John who’s an attorney looking at an “encore career” as a…..tour guide!  I love that one.  Close to my heart.  I still think I want to be a tour guide some day too.  And my favorite today was Alyssa who recently got laid off from her corporate marketing job and plans to do some personal and professional due diligence by taking a VocationVacation as a Fashion Buyer.  She hopes to open her own specialty store.  

The common thread with all of these folks is that they are not sitting idle.  The economy is not pulling them down.  They are taking ACTION.  By attaining a mentor, they are all taking the first step of what might be several to move forward with their dream job goals and dream job lifestyle aspirations.  Travel more, travel less, work from home, work outside, be home when the kids come home from school, have more passion day-in and day-out….and the list goes on.

My call to action for you?  Be careful not to get sucked into analysis paralysis and immobilization during these trying times. Turn off the TV news.  Perhaps not read every depressing story in the newspaper.  Instead, take this time to dream.  Take this time to plan.  Take this time to take your first steps toward the rest of your life.

Regardless of whether you plan on working for someone else or open your own business, if you make a list of all the things you need to learn and know in order to make your dream job real, you will have mapped out a plan for moving forward.  Your questions will probably fall into several broad categories:

Knowledge:  Things you need to learn in order to move forward

Money:  How you’ll finance your new career, and how you’ll support yourself and your family while you make the transition…especially during this economic downturn

Timeline:  Over what period of time you’ll transition to the new career

Family:  How to make your new career mesh with the needs and wishes of your family

For much more helpful tips and advice of how to create or find the work you love, please consider buying my book:  Test-Drive Your Dream Job (Hachette, 2008)

How one should finance a career transition to a dream job is probably THE biggest question these days given our economy. Here are questions you should ask yourself:

What is my salary likely to be?

At what rate will it rise?

If I take a pay cut, how will I manage my finances?

Will I have additional expenses such as school, commuting, travel, supplies, etc?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, then get your resources lined up.  Talk to your mentor (if you don’t have one in your dream job, then get one!) and people in the field about pay scales in the industry.  Make a three-year budget showing how you’ll cover expenses at your likely new, lower salary.

“But I may actually have to take a pay CUT in this economy!?”, you ask.  

Yes.  It’s what Dr. Phil calls the “get real” moment.  Yes, you’re going to more than likely make less money in order to pursue a dream job during this recession.

But like my client Connie said not too long ago after taking a $10,000 pay cut, “It’s harder to cover expenses but worth it because instead of hating going to work, I now love my job!”

Connie is just one of many of us who have made the transition successfully.  Can we make more money doing other things?  Possibly.   But we’re happier doing what we’re doing.  And with our passion and happiness comes money — all in good time.  

So, net/net, I would argue that now’s the BEST time to go after your dream job.  It’s not like your current higher-paying job is secure anyway.  We’re all at risk!  Why not be happy doing what you love versus being angst-ridden and always wondering when the other shoe is going to drop in the higher-paying, riskier, non dream job?

Go for the dream job.  One step at a time…..

Hey folks, it’s not too late to sign up for tonight’s teleclass focusing on how to use social networks to land your dream job.  I’ll be joined by three of VocationVacations’ career/life coaches for an hour of tons of info, tips and sage advice.  Sign up here!