Your dream job does not exist. And, just like your last relationship, there's no faking it.
It's one thing to ooh and aah for all of four minutes, and quite another to spend a life in limbo. Is it me? Can I do better? Should I just give up and go? Yes, yes and YES (sort of).
Take it from a committed quitter: Where one door closes, kick down another. After college, I went to work on Wall Street and left less than a year later. The lesson? No amount of money is worth the misery that investment banking brings.
Westward is where I went, and I found work at a small Silicon Valley startup. I quit that, too, and somehow got into Google. On October 3, I said goodbye and cemented my standing as the world’s most selective employee.
The thing about work, any kind of work, is the wait. Success is hard fought, and I'm talking about a "Game of Thrones" style showdown.
Think Tyrion and Tywin Lannister, only the crap at the end isn't all that bad. The return is our reward, except when the results are outside of our control. For most of us, that's most of the time.
If it's not your bank reminding you of how much money you don't have, then it's your boss telling you what you can't do. Even at the best companies, your career comes second to theirs.
And it's not malicious; it makes sense. In the end, you've got to be your own hero because everyone's busy trying to save themselves. And that's a good thing.
Remember, your dream job doesn’t exist; you must create it. Opportunity comes from letting go of what's good enough to make room for what's great.
Give up, gradually
Moves are made incrementally, not instantaneously. This is where that waiting thing is the worst, especially with social media. Any John can fake it on Facebook and stunt on Instagram. Care less about the concerns of others, and worry about the work.
Find that one thing you care most about and do it every night and every weekend. Not forever, but for a while. It took me three years to build my blog in the little downtime I had.
Would I have preferred to be at the bar watching the game? Sure, but I'd rather sacrifice today to enjoy tomorrow.
Here’s what it takes to quit your day job in pursuit of your dream job: turning off the TV, ditching dinner with friends, five hours of sleep a night, missing family functions, networking non-stop, skipping weekend weddings and grabbing coffee with new connections. Dating? No time and couldn’t afford it, anyway.
The grind is real, but don’t let that dismay or delay you. Jump in.
Treat your career like a company. No matter the industry, you're in the business of building your brand. In kindergarten, we picked on the prettiest girl because she was the grade-school equivalent of hot.
The real world works the same way. We do business with the best, hire the hardest working and promote those with the most potential.
You are the CEO of this life, and your mission is to establish your expertise. Be it a blog or a how-to video, take the time to teach others. Star on YouTube, produce podcasts, record webinars and come up with other content that sells.
Get outside of your comfort zone and create something worth sharing. People will comment and the word will spread. A community will form around your content and you can capitalize on that curiosity: a new job, business opportunity, consulting gig... you name it.
All the while, you’re learning a lot along the way.
Break up to make up
Don’t forget: The expert in anything was once a beginner at something.
To take a chapter from the gospel according to Gordon Gekko, growth is good; it’s the byproduct of progress. Sometimes it means letting go of the past to pursue a new path. Sometimes making up for lost ground requires that you take stock of the things holding you back.
Breakups are never easy, but don’t blame your boss. The fault lies with you. If you want more, take chances and step outside of your comfort zone.
Have late nights, early mornings and weekends full of work. Show up often enough and the result will reveal itself. The cost of ambition is worth the price of admission.
Photo Courtesy: Warner Bros. Pictures/Horrible Bosses