Posted by: Cathy | May 28, 2014

Coach Nibble: Income versus Enjoyment

Coach Blog 010114 Our coach nibble topic this month comes from Debbie: “Do you stay in a job that you don’t particularly like or dislike just because it’s secure or do you take a huge pay cut to be in a field that you think you might enjoy?”

I would say that this is actually a multi-part question. The answer will be different for different people, so we need to break it down into its parts.

Part One – How much do you value security?

Before you can make this decision, decide how much you value security and respect your personal needs.

I write fiction, but I could never make a living at it because I have a high personal need for financial security. I have a friend who is a freelance writer, and it works for her because she has a lower need for financial security than I do. I would have too much anxiety worrying about my income and my rent to be able to focus on the writing.

To decide for yourself, try doing a couple of journaling prompts. Imagine rent is due in 10 days, or you suddenly need an expensive auto repair, and you don’t have the money to cover it. How do you feel? What steps would you take to quickly earn the money you need? Notice your stress level as you do this activity. Does it feel manageable? Some people thrive on that kind of energy, and some people don’t (like me!).

If you have a high need for financial security, remember you are filling this need when your job is especially difficult or frustrating. You can always decide to make a slow transition out to satisfy your need for security as well as your desire to get out of a bad work situation. You can plan an exit strategy, and we’ll think about that in part three.

Part Two – What do you enjoy?

Next, decide what it is you enjoy and what that career choice will look like. You should have a good idea of what you want before you take any big leaps. Think it through in great detail.

Consider things like:

* Why do you want this new career? What will you gain by making this transition?
* Do you know anyone in the job you want? Can you take them out to lunch to talk about their job?
* Are there any networking groups for this job/industry in your area? When could you visit one?
* Are there books you should read to understand the job/industry? What other resources can help you make an informed decision?
* What is competition like for those jobs? How can you make your resume stand out?
* Will your work hours or commute be different? How will that impact your life?
* Will your new career require a different wardrobe or other supplies? Are you prepared for that?
* What training will you need? Do you have it, or do you know where to get it?
* What other tools or skills will you need to be successful?

Lastly, and perhaps especially if a pay-cut is involved, think about what your new salary might be and see if you can live on that budget for a couple of months. Try to save the difference from your current salary and call it your transition fund.

Part Three – How do you transition?

Knowing what you want to do instead, see if you can incorporate it with your current job, at least for the short term.

* Is there a way to add what you enjoy to your current job responsibilities or do you need to completely change jobs/industries/work environments?

* Is there a training opportunity your current job could provide to move you closer to what you enjoy? (I.e., shadow a coworker who is doing what you like; see if work will pay for an off-site training opportunity or cover tuition toward a degree.)

You should look for any natural steps that could take you from what you’re currently doing to doing what you enjoy. Maybe there are natural steps and maybe there aren’t, but you want to be sure to maximize any opportunities at your current job before you break ties.

When you decide to move on, pick a date in your own mind well ahead of when you need to give notice at work. Do whatever you need to do to prepare for your new job/industry, and continue saving toward your transition fund. Try to do something toward your goal every day. Remember why you’re making this change and plan as well as possible; knowing your “why” and “how” will help diffuse fear of change.

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If you’re not happy with your job but don’t know what to do instead, try my D.A.R.E. to Dream free e-workbook (in the Self-Development section of my free downloads).

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I would love to hear if this exercise helped you! Please leave a comment, or send me an email if you’d prefer to keep it private (exploringyourdepths @gmail.com).

If you liked working through this coach nibble and would be interested in one-on-one coaching with me, check out my coaching information page and F.A.Q. and email me if you have any questions!

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I’m accepting submissions for next month’s coach nibble. If you would like to give me a topic you’re dealing with, please email it to me! (exploringyourdepths @gmail.com) I’d love my examples to directly help people. You can give me a code-name or I can just say the topic is from Anonymous for your privacy.

Everyone who suggests a coach nibble topic each month will be put in a drawing for a free 15-minute coaching session! (One entry per person per month.) You would be amazed at what we can uncover in 15 minutes, so don’t poo-poo it. When I select which topic to post that month, I’ll see if there are any common themes; or if there aren’t, I’ll select one at random, and the free session drawing will come from those who were not answered in the blog that month. (So you either get your topic posted in the blog or you get entered to win a free 15-minute session.)

If I get lots of coach nibble topics each month, I will consider doing them more often.

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