How to Pivot Your Career (without ruining your savings)

One of my favorite authors and creative people I follow on the internet is none-other than Eat Pray Love author Liz Gilbert. We all know a lot about the book right? The woman quit her life and went on a pasta-eating, spiritual, romance-filled adventure. But if you listen to her podcast, read her book on cultivating creativity, or go see a talk she’s given– she echoes one piece of advice:

“Don’t quit your day job.”

Why the hell is a woman who did the thing telling us not to do the thing? Why can’t I just quit it all and follow my every whim?! It’s not fair!! You’re right friends, it’s absolutely not fair. But there are real reasons why it makes it harder to just quit and go write a novel. There are real reasons and things that prevent us just from “doing it right now.” That doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them. It just means it’ll take a few things before we can. So, here are some happy tips on how to get to the point where you can actually follow your dreams.

For starters: expertise. Gilbert was a seasoned author working at GQ and other major publications before she decided to write this book and travel the world. It would be silly to say that you should quit without having a few years under your belt, consider the ways you can work on something a bit before you go all in– volunteer in a field you are interested in, asking for small gigs in the industry you hope to move to. These things do help!

Another real constraint that most us millennials feel: Money and security. Sluggish and uneven wage growth has made it difficult for us to feel comfortable moving industries or just quitting and restarting. I can’t give you all the advice on money saving. BUT I can tell you things I’ve tried:

  • Putting a % of my paycheck directly into a Savings Account (automatically, so you don’t get tempted)
  • Living at home or with roommates longer (sux, I know, but saves so much)
  • Cut those eating-out habits a bit (or give yourself a limit)

Lastly, when you make the jump to another place/job/industry– make sure you have someone to catch you. When I impulsively left my job in LA and moved to the Bay Area, I had a friend’s couch to sleep on, and a few freelance gigs lined up before I was ready to leave. You need to be safe, fed, and healthy before you can ultimately make time and space for following that dream.

The goal now is to continue to invest in the things I love, while slowly but surely moving closer to the thing I want to do MORE of. Because let’s be real, we can’t all quit our day job, but we can follow our dreams.

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