Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUN. 07, 2015
version 10, draft 10

Should You Or Should You Not Chase Your Dream?

We all have dreams. The question is, have we followed them or chosen to ignore their pull? Working toward your dream can be scary and exciting, not to mention extremely motivating. An important factor is the economic recession. A 2012 study by Rutgers University surveyed recent graduates of American colleges and found that benefits and salary were the reason why 1/4 of those employed accepted their positions. The more sensible among us believe that we should choose a life of safety and security, but the dreamers out there would rather listen to their heart and do what they are most passionate about. Follow these steps and figure out whether you should finally chase that dream of yours or whether it’s better to stick with your usual career and routine.

See also: How to Answer, "Can You Describe Your Dream Job?"

Is Now the Right Time?

Following your dream doesn’t mean being unrealistic. If you’re in your 20s, or even fresh out of high school or college, it’s much easier to search for a dream job or pursue an artistic passion such as writing novels or becoming a yoga instructor than if you’re married with children and already have a thriving, busy career. But that doesn’t mean giving up on what you want. Sometimes, there simply is no "right time." If you find yourself unhappy with your current situation and truly want to make a change, then go for it, as long as you have a safety net to fall back on (a spouse that earns a good living, a savings account, and so on).

Break It Down Into Small Steps

A dream rarely involves something small. Instead, we dream of publishing a book, starting a company, rising to the top of our industry. Break the dream down into smaller steps and make them realistic goals that you can meet. This doesn’t always mean quitting your day job. It can mean making tiny changes to your schedule and working on a plan in the evenings or on weekends. If you want to become a full-time freelance writer, for example, then pitch a few stories every week, building up your client list, and use weekends to work on those stories. Soon, you will have enough work that you could quit your job and make a go at it.

Will It Change Anything?

We all have pie-in-the-sky ideas about how our life should go: the perfect wedding, the pretty house, the children we will raise, and the decadent vacations we hope to take. Take a good look at your life and decide what you like and don’t like about it. Just because when you were younger you wanted to be a singer, it might not mean that’s what you’re meant to do. If you’re doing something completely different than your original dream job, and you’re truly happy, then there’s no shame or harm in staying the course.

Consider Your Personality Type

There are risk-takers and then there are people who prefer a safer, comfortable routine. Think about who you are, and be honest. If you quit your job tomorrow to start that dream business, how would you feel? Some fear is normal, of course – you are chasing a whole new life full of uncertainty. If you are completely paralyzed, that might be a sign that you should stick with the status quo. But if the idea thrills you, you might be just adventurous enough to do it.

See also: 4 Steps to Reinvent Yourself for Your Dream Job

Deciding whether or not to follow a dream is not an easy choice. It is an unquestionably risky move full of financial uncertainty and will change your life in ways you might not expect. But it is ultimately up to you whether it is worth the risk. Follow these steps and ask yourself if you are ready to finally chase what you have been dreaming of since forever. You just might surprise yourself.

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