If you want to land your dream job, you have to start by changing your mind set.
In my work as a career consultant, I meet many women in their 20s and 30s who are looking for a new job, but have endless reasons for not going after their dream job. It doesn’t matter if they are currently working or unemployed, I hear the same things over and over. I completely understand this thought process. Not too long ago, I was reciting the same excuses over and over in my head every time I thought about leaving the corporate world to start my own business.
Here are some of the most common excuses for not pursuing your dream career, and a reality check to get you back on track:
I’ve already invested so much time and effort into my current field, why should I throw that all away and start at the bottom again?
- REALITY CHECK – Tim Ferris put it best, “A job isn’t productive or worthwhile simply because you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on it.” Also, just because you are changing careers doesn’t mean that all the work you have done in the past is a waste. You just need to learn how to reframe your experience in terms of the new job, so it’s easy for someone reading your resume to see how your past experience applies to the new role. I was amazed at how much my experience in project management applied to career consulting when I really broke it down to the skill sets.
I’m making a good salary right now, I’ll just keep doing this for a few more years and save money, then I’ll quit and start doing what I love.
- REALITY CHECK – The longer you stay in your current field, the harder it will be to leave. Assuming that the longer you stay in your current field, the higher your salary will be, you are only making it harder for yourself to ultimately leave by staying a few more years. Quit now, and spend the next few years moving forward in a career you love, instead of saving for some imaginary day when you will finally take the plunge.
It’s a terrible economy, I should just be happy that I have a job at all.
- REALITY CHECK – Yes, it is a tough job market, especially for people who live in rural parts of the country or states like Nevada where the unemployment rate is around 12%. We have all heard the horror stories of towns like Flint, Michigan that were nearly destroyed by the recession. Yet, employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.5 million since a recent low in September 2009. The point is, you can find employment statistics to support any decision. Stop watching the news and listening to statistics, and figure out what is the best move for YOU.
If I go after my dream job I will have to take a pay cut, and then I will have to change my lifestyle.
- REALITY CHECK – You are absolutely correct. Embrace it, or accept working in a job you hate for the next 30-40 years. Take an honest look at your priorities. Is a nice apartment and new shoes each month worth dreading every Monday? If you want to change your life, its going to require sacrifice. It all depends what keeps you awake at night – is it thinking about how you are on a career track that doesn’t resonate with your true self, or the fact that your closet could use a another pair of pumps?
I’m too old to change careers now.
- REALITY CHECK: The average person in the US changes careers 3-5 times in their lifetime. It’s never too late to change careers, you always have options. Julia Child was working for the US government into her 30s, and didn’t even start cooking school until she was 36. There are many late career change success stories out there, you just have to look to find them.
Going after your dream job requires you to tap into the part of you that is determined, bold, and fearless. The first step to get in touch with that side of you, is to start embracing change and the discomfort that comes with it.
Once you stop running limiting thoughts through your head, you can start asking yourself more important questions, like What’s the best thing that could happen if I do this? Answer: You could be in a job you love, earning tons of money, making a positive impact on the world, and still have time to hang out with the people you love.