We all want to find our dream job. The job that makes us feel energized and excited. The job that helps us live our best life – financially, physically and intellectually. But how do we get that job? By following our passion? Maybe. By being a master networker? That helps. But I believe it comes down to something much more fundamental: having options.
Having options means you can explore different positions and different industries. You can apply your skills in new and creative ways until you find the job that truly fits. When you have options, you have the freedom to control your career.
So, how do you make sure you have options? By creating equity. And by equity, I mean having more career assets than career liabilities. Here’s what it looks like:
Job skills are an asset. When you have more skills than you need to meet the requirements of your current job you have equity. You can then take those excess skills and apply them to new challenges. And then to a new position. Then a new career. As your job equity grows, so do your options.
- Update your resume frequently. Identify areas where you are weak, then focus your attention on building those skills.
- Volunteer for projects that build new skills, even if it means extra work.
- Utilize educational opportunities, via in-house training or through your company’s educational reimbursement program.
- Take on team leadership. Skills in managing people are highly marketable and can be applied across disciplines.
Money is an asset. When you have more money than you need to meet your basic needs you have equity. By living within (or well below) your means, you build a financial cushion that keeps you from being trapped in your current situation. You have the freedom to take a pay cut in order to explore a new field. Or to relocate for that once-in-a-lifetime position. As your financial equity grows, so do your options.
- Create a realistic budget and stick to it.
- Keep at least 6 months living expenses in your savings account.
- Avoid consumer debt. Fight the temptation to use your credit card for things you don’t need.
- Explore the myriad of budgeting and financial planning resources available online.
How about you? How have you created equity in your career?
(Photo by Brenda Clarke via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
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