You know the old saying “you can’t get everything you want in life”? Unfortunately, it’s true, and it especially applies when it comes to going after your dream career.
Most people spend the bulk of their lives at work—even more time than sleeping, in fact. People try to find a career that makes them happy and fulfilled, but the sad truth is, more than 90 percent of the world’s workers feel unsatisfied with the job they’re in.
Why should you spend the majority of your life in a job you don’t enjoy? In order to achieve career happiness, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.
Here are four things you may have to sacrifice in order to get your dream career. It may be tough to give up some of these things, but you’ve got to look at the big picture—the level of happiness you find by being in your dream career is, more often than not, worth the sacrifice.
For many of you, the chances are very good that your dream career is not in the city in which you currently live. Whether it’s across the state or across the country, your current living situation is in jeopardy should you decide to pursue it.
Friends, family, neighbors—you’ll have to leave them all behind in order to start your new career in a new city. This is possibly the largest sacrifice, since you’re not only leaving behind your old town, but also the people who live in it.
Your decision depends on how badly you want the job, but the consequences might affect you emotionally for the first few weeks. But after you go through the strenuous process of moving and getting situated in your new position, you’ll find yourself happier than ever.
When you’re happy in your career, it tends to have an osmosis effect on the rest of your life. The distance can often bring families closer together, and good friends will keep in touch. You’ll find yourself meeting new friends, having new experiences, and making new memories that you’ll cherish forever. Think of relocating as a positive, exciting new chapter in your life.
When most of us think of our dream career, it often involves a fairly large salary. But the truth is, you don’t need a bunch of money to find happiness in your work. If you have a family, then the cash does play a substantial factor. But focusing on money narrows your options and, more often than not, leads you to an unfulfilling job. Sometimes, your dream job is one that doesn’t offer a ton of money (at least in the beginning).
Maybe you’re currently in a job that pays more than the career you’re trying to get into. It may seem enticing to stay put, but that decision comes with serious long-term side effects that could leave you depressed and regretful.
When you think about your dream career, think about the future and the various opportunities that could arise from doing something you’re truly passionate about. The possibilities could lead you to make more money than ever, and you’ll be living with a new sense of purpose, which is more valuable than anything.
Going after your dream career takes a lot of courage, but it also takes up a ton of time. You get out of it what you put into it, and when it comes to making a career out of your passion, there’s a whole lot that’s required of you.
Free time is almost nonexistent throughout a job search that requires you to constantly be networking, applying to companies, and interviewing. Especially if you’ll be moving to a new city, the amount of time and energy you need to spend getting everything in order seems endless.
Your nights and weekends are also at a huge risk, since working those hours might be the only way to get hired into your dream career. If you’re looking to get promoted to your dream position, working those additional hours will cause your reputation around the office to be drastically improved, and your employers will take notice of the fact that you’re willing to put in the extra miles to reach your goals.
Sometimes, you might have a respectable position at a small/mid-size company, but your dream career lies somewhere else. In many cases, you’ll have to accept a lower-ranking (which means lower-paying) position and work your way up.
While you may think it’s degrading or “beneath you,” you’ve got to start somewhere if you want to move closer to your dream. Sometimes that involves demoting yourself in the short term in order to find new and better opportunities.
Keeping your ego (and pride) in check is key when looking for your dream career. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this article is to stop thinking about the short-term impact of pursuing your passion and to think about the lasting effect it will have on your career and on your quality of life overall. You may start out with a low-ranking title, but if you prove yourself in your work—which, if you’re passionate about it, you will—you’ll be promoted quickly within the organization and find yourself with a prestigious title, fulfilling work, and a meaningful life.
What other things might you have to sacrifice in order to get your dream career?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and HR technologies. She’s also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle, and career and recruiting adviser for numerous outlets.