Recently Beth Kotz reached out and asked if she could contribute to my blog. When she shared what she'd written, the answer was ‘Yes. Absolutely.' There's some great advice in here!
Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Tired of waking up every morning and dragging yourself off to a nine-to-five job that isn't fulfilling? It's a situation that can leave you feeling drained, depressed and stagnant as a person, but it's also a situation that's within your power to change.
Disrupting your life to escape a dead-end job isn't easy, but if you're willing to fully commit, the tips below can help you break out of the vicious cycle and start forging the life you've always wanted.
Do Some Soul-Searching
Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. It's an aphorism that everyone has heard at some point, but there are two problems: what do you love, and how do you turn it into a job? Before you take a leap of faith, it's important to do some reflection and plan your next move. Whether it's an aspect of your current job, a personal hobby or something you haven't done in years, the first step is finding something that fills you with passion.
It may be tempting to restrict yourself to things that are financially convenient, but now is the time to break away from that thinking. The truth is that, with enough creativity and hard work, you can find new ways to monetize nearly anything you're truly passionate about doing.
Build a Financial Cushion
Of course, the reality is that money may not come right away. In order to succeed in escaping the rat race, you'll need to prepare yourself financially. First and foremost, that means working to pay off credit card debt or loans. Striking out on your own is difficult enough, but being burdened by debt can make it nearly unmanageable.
First, take careful stock of your current budget and search for any unnecessary expenses that can be eliminated. Any money you're able to free up can be used to pay down debts more quickly. Once your financial house is in order, you can begin to build the savings you'll need to sustain yourself while you work to realize your dreams.
Put in the Work
In the wise words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” Pursuing your passion is not easy. It will require a great deal of hard work, dedication and perseverance, but the reward is undoubtedly worth it.
You may need to take extra hours at your current job to build your financial cushion more quickly. You may need to go back to school in your spare time to prepare for a new career. You may even wish to embark on a new venture while you're still working your day job. So long as you're willing to do whatever is required and attack each day with passion and persistence, success will eventually come.
Look Before You Leap
Once you've put together a road map and got your finances in order, the next step is planning your exit. Take some time to consider what might change when you quit your job – health insurance coverage, retirement accounts and stock options or bonuses especially – and plan out how you'll deal with each before you submit your notice.
This may involve buying your own health plan, rolling over or cashing out a 401(k) and exploring your ability to exercise any stock options. If possible, you may also wish to delay your exit until after annual bonus payouts. But once your plan is in place, it's time to make your great escape.
Keep Your Courage
Millions of people dream every day of leaving their jobs and pursuing their dreams, but most of them are stopped short because they simply can't muster the courage they need. The truth is that there's no ideal time to make your break, no easy button to avoid the growing pains and difficulties that always come with such a monumental decision. It's simply a matter of identifying the changes you need to make, committing 100 percent and sticking with it, wherever it may lead. Lean on friends and family for support. Speak with others who've made similar decisions and learn from their experiences. Above all, keep your courage and keep pushing forward.
We only get one life, and staying stuck in a rut as a matter of personal or financial convenience is a poor way to spend it. If you aspire to break out and take back your life, the tips above will have you well on your way. It's all within your grasp if you're bold enough to take the chance. Now, there's only one question left – are you ready to create the life you were always meant to live?
Beth Kotz is a business writer and contributor to Credit.com. She has also been featured as a writer and editor for numerous blogs in the energy, entertainment and home verticals.