Hi! I’m LiveFrugaLee’s evil twin, Manny. Yes, we’re Danny and Manny. Yes, our names rhyme, and our sister’s name is not Fanny.
You may have noticed my facetious comments on his earlier posts as I thought it was rather humorous that my twin brother would start a blog. Now, I’m trying to be supportive as he is looking to eventually quit his day job to pursue his dream, something that I did seven years ago.
Millennials today are too entitled, myself included. We tend to value things like work-life balance, career satisfaction, and social consciousness whereas our parents’ generation may have valued things like stability and having a job, based on survival. What spoiled brats we are! In a way, many of us are lucky enough to have the opportunity to choose what we want to do with our lives. From my experience, most young people don’t know exactly what they want to do when they grow up. Many adults don’t even know, and that’s okay.
Related blog post: 10 Personal Finance Tips for 20-somethings from a 30 Year Old
I quit my day job in 2010 to pursue my passion, and now I want to help you to go after your dream. In writing this post, my objective is to tell my story and hope that it inspires your journey.
Here are 4 steps to pursue your passion!
1. Don’t quit your day job just yet!
Preparation is key in this process. There are three things you will need to consider in this step: have a vision, set goals, make a plan.
a. Have a vision – Close your eyes and think about where you want to be in one year, then five years, and then 10 years. This is not an interview, I promise. Picture yourself there, and consider what it will take to get there.
I saw myself working harder than I ever had to get into medical school. I envisioned the sacrifices of time that I would have to make with family and friends, the risk of running out of money when I quit my job, and the harsh possibility of not getting into medical school. At the 10 year mark, I pictured myself finally becoming an attending physician and having a sense of fulfillment with my career, my accomplishments, and my ability to have an impact on others’ lives in a more tangible way.
b. Set goals – Setting goals and writing them down will make you much, much more likely to achieve them.
My goal was to get into any medical school in the US that would take me. Yea, I was desperate.
In medical school, my goal was to become an orthopedic surgeon. I dropped the ball there, but I’ll talk more about this in step 4.
c. Make a plan – Figure out your escape plan. How are you going to walk away from that high income job? More than likely, your passion does not pay as much as what you’re doing right now.
I continued to work at a financial services company for over three years as I saved up and prepared for my transition. I saved up enough money to survive for almost two years, including living expenses and tuition for the rest of my pre-requisites.
So, figure out what you’ll need and get it.
2. Get some experience before making the jump.
Some people are more fascinated with the idea of doing something than actually doing it. As my co-worker once said, “The devil is in the details!” You might not really understand what this passion requires of you until you start doing it, so continue your day job as you get more experience in your passion.
While I continued to work in IT, I volunteered in a hospital ER once a week, completed an EMT course at night, started volunteering with an ambulance corps, participated in medical mission trips abroad during my vacations, and took night classes at community college to complete the necessary prerequisite courses for medical school.
Immerse yourself in your passion!
3. Quit your day job, and go for it!
When you have made the necessary preparations, just do it. Quit!
You’ll never feel ready for this step. I never did. Why would anyone leave a stable, comfortable, decent-paying job in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions? I definitely got a lot of pushback from my parents, and my dad even called me an idiot when I told him I quit.
It was September 2010, and I quit my day job without even having been accepted to medical school. I had received plenty of rejections at that point, and I had only received one interview. That was probably one of the scariest times of my life as I realized I had gone all-in on an unlikely bet. I waited and waited. Eventually, I received a few more interviews and got into exactly one school, but that was all I needed!
4. Never give up.
Throughout this whole process, I think the most important thing was that I was resilient. I’ve failed at a lot of things in my life, so I was no stranger to failure. But at this point, switching careers completely was one of the biggest risks that I had taken.
I remember talking to my school’s dean of admissions before I applied and being told I had a lot of work to do on my application if I wanted a chance. I remember taking the MCAT and being advised to retake it. I remember applying to so many schools and only hearing back from a few.
Even in medical school, I spent all four years dedicating myself to becoming an orthopedic surgeon, and I didn’t even end up matching into the field. Somehow, I was able to get a spot in an anesthesiology residency, which was a blessing in disguise.
This last step is the most important. It is inevitable that you will fall a few times when you are attempting to do something great. Just remember to get back up.
Image source: Pixabay