This is a guest post from Dan Garner. Dan shares ideas for meaningful living at http://zenpresence.com . Dan believes that everything we do matters and that we all have the potential to make a difference.
Are you in a job that you hate or maybe the stress is killing you? I was. I can tell you how I escaped and lived to tell about it. This is a practical, step-by-step plan for getting you out from under the pressure of an unbearable job so that you have room to breathe and create the life you’ve dreamed of. I’m sure you can make it work, it worked for me.
Step 1 Reduce your dependence on your job by reducing your spending
Start now. There are thousands of ways to do this. Cut the grocery bills, get rid of the cable, skip that $4 latte, cook at home….I reduced my monthly expenses by over 30% by using the nine steps detailed in Your Money or Your Life.
Step 2 Lessen your dependence on your stressful job by augmenting your income
The possibilities here are endless. A few ideas:
Sell things on eBay – I made $25,000 one year selling parts off of old, wrecked motorcycles.
Take a second, less stressful job – cut someone’s grass or wash windows. Several years back I wanted to take my children on a dream vacation to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Financially, it just didn’t seem feasible. Brainstorming, I decided that I would wash windows at some of the strip malls en route to and from my day job. I earned over $4000 in no time flat while putting in only an hour or two a day on my way home from work.
Step 3 Talk it over with your family and friends
It is important to have an ally. Include the people that you love and care about. Discuss your plans with them, but be quick to know who will offer support and who will offer resistance. My wife was very supportive. She knew the hell that I was going through and that I needed the change. Her help was fundamental.
Others may not be as supportive. You will encounter resistance from “well meaning” friends and family. You will know pretty quickly with whom you should discuss your plans and with whom to steer clear of the subject. Don’t let the naysayers discourage you – it’s your life.
Step 4 Find a job or income source compatible with your life
This doesn’t have to be your dream job at this stage of the game. If you can land your ideal position at this point then great – go for it. The idea here is to get you out of the job that is killing you so that you have the energy and clarity to get your plan together and get on with the rest of your life. I left my stressful job in manufacturing management for a one year gig as a customer service manager in a grocery store. It wasn’t my dream job by any means, but it reduced my work week by 20 hours and I had my life back. It also gave me the customer service experience that I needed to land my dream job.
Step 5 Decide what you want to do with your life
This could be an entire article in its own. What makes you happy? What types of activities excite you? Should you stay at your present company but work in a different capacity? Do you want to work for yourself? Do some real soul-searching. A good place to start is to look back at when you were a teenager and think of what you wanted to do before someone crushed your dreams and told you that you couldn’t do that.
Step 6 Make plans
A dream job or income source may require new skills. Many people would say to themselves “Oh, I don’t know how to do that.” Just one year ago I told myself I could not write because it had been so difficult for me in school. At 45 years old I decided that I could learn to write. I am still learning. In spite of the fact that I am still improving, I have posted over 150 articles and published on several well read websites. If one person can do it then anyone can learn to do it!
At this stage you need to come up with a solid plan. Ask yourself the following questions. Do I need more education? Is savings or investment required? Do I know someone that is already doing this?
Talk to people with careers similar to one you might be interested in and find out what it really takes. I thought I had to have a degree in forestry or biology to work for the National Park Service – not true. It turns out that my customer service experience was more valuable than anything else in landing my job with the National Park Service.
Step 7 Get started
Yesterday is the best time to get started. Start taking steps now and do something every day to work towards your goals. Make yourself a promise, a commitment, and follow through with it.