In this dismal economy, you might be one of the fortunate individuals who still has a job, even if it is not your dream career. In fact, it might be so far away from your dream career that you really hate it. Not to worry. Below are nine tips to use your current job as the perfect springboard for creating the career that you love.
- Don’t leave your day job. At least not right away. Many career transitioners make the mistake of jumping out of a job that they hate into unemployment. There is nothing wrong with gradually moving into your ideal career slowly, while maintaining the income from your current job. In terms of savings, DO make sure that you have at least one year’s expenses socked away before you make the leap into a new career.
- Shift into an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful is the best anecdote for resentment – these two opposing emotions cannot reside simultaneously in one brain. If the feeling of gratitude feels as far away as the South Pole, then take on this exercise: write down at least 50 things that you’re grateful for right now, including your steady paycheck! Keep counting your blessings, no matter how much you get stuck.
- Maximize your connections. Most career transitioners forget or fail to fully leverage their current job connections. Get as many job references as you can, as soon as possible. Offer a reference in return. Coffee and a bagel also work as incentives.
- Stay in integrity. Don’t conduct your career search on your current employer’s dime. It’s unethical and simply uncool. This principle means not conducting your internet searches on your company’s computer, nor using its phones for interviews with other employers. Use common sense.
- Don’t be foolish. While staying in integrity, you can still explore other career opportunities during your day. For example, DO use your lunch time or coffee breaks to connect with individuals and other resources in your ideal career. DO take continuing education classes, as needed, in the evenings and weekends, from your local community college or online.
- What got you here won’t get you there. The current job market is highly competitive and career-seekers are finding new and very creative ways to position themselves as qualified candidates. Invest in some current books on interview skills, job searches, and other career-related resources. What worked for you 5 years ago to land a great job may not work today.
- Volunteer in what you love. A very simple and easy step. Find volunteer opportunities in the areas of your passions. For example, if you love acting, you could volunteer as an usher at a local theater. If you’re big on wellness, consider volunteering at the local fitness center. A great volunteer resource is www.volunteermatch.org.
- Surround yourself with positive energy. There is nothing like having a powerful group of cheerleaders to keep you going when the going gets tough. Include individuals on your support team who work in your ideal career or who possess the skills and experience that you need to succeed.
- Find great mentors. Determine the qualities and experience in a mentor that would be most valuable to you. Then make a list of potential mentors and create a game plan for asking them. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
Trust and know that, no matter what, you are exactly where you need to be, as you make your next career move. Best wishes, because it certainly isn’t only about luck!