Is Pursuing Your Dream Career Worth It?

How to decide whether you should quit your day job to follow your dreams.

The short answer is that only you can make such a decision. You must look at your current career, your financial status, and much more, to decide if this is something you can and should do. There will be many reasons why you should quit your current job immediately to follow your dream path—such as gaining satisfaction, becoming happier, reducing stress. But there will also be many reasons for why you shouldn’t pursue your dream job—not enough pay, no available insurance, will have to relocate. For either decision that you make, sacrifices will have to be made. You have to decide if those sacrifices will be worth it, in the long run, compared to what you will gain.

Is this your dream job?

Has this been a lifelong passion that you have experience in and know you enjoy doing? Or is it just a hobby that you do on the weekends that brings you joy? A lot of the times, we can come up with idealizations of what another job will be like when we simply don’t know what the day-to-day schedule looks like. For example, the idea of being a zookeeper might be appealing to you. Ideally you get to work with animals, feed them, talk to visitors and educate them on animals. However, during regular work operations, much of the job involves cleaning up after the animals—meaning feces, bodily fluids, old food, etc. Have you really researched this ideal career and gotten a feel for what it will be like? If you aren’t quite sure, perhaps try getting some hours of experience in, whether through a part-time job or volunteering, to make sure this is the right path for you.

Why now?

Motivation is key here. Why do you want to pursue your dream career now, of all times? If you are unhappy at your current place of work, this could be a big motivator. However, then it’s time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Are you unhappy with your career field of choice, or just the current company that you are looking for? It is much easier to find a career in the same field than it is to change career paths. Do you think this dream career path will be more fulfilling and give yourself purpose? This could be possible. But as mentioned before, there are still boring and unsavory tasks with any job out there. A good idea would be to make a list of what you think day-to-day tasks would look like at this job, good and bad. Put in some research online to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

Can you do both?

A good way to decide if you should pursue your dream career, or if you can, is to start doing it. However, you don’t have to quit your day job right away. Make your dream career part time. Put in some hours every day, build up some progress. For example, if your dream is to make your income off a food critic blog, then start doing it! If you see success slowly starting to build, you can gradually add on more hours, and then eventually quit your day job. Same goes for any other type of job. Get a part-time position that allows you to get your foot in the door. Even if you aren’t seeing any type of advancement coming your way yet, you at least have relevant experience.

Have you tried researching and networking?

Big factors that go into the job search process is researching and networking. This is something that you can still do without quitting your day job. Tailor your online profiles to match the dream job that you are searching for. Attend networking events for that industry and start making connections—get to know people. You may get lucky and find a job! Join groups that are related to the industry—such as the groups offered on LinkedIn. Add constructive information to the conversation. You should know what is going on in the industry and be knowledgeable. If you feel like this is a transition you can make, then take that step.