I’ve been given the opportunity to speak to high school and college graduating seniors. The one common question to both groups, I get frequently, is “how can I get my dream job?” It’s a simple question, with about one million answers. Which makes it a tough question to answer in front of a group.
I think I might have found the perfect answer for this question. From current Penn State football coach, James Franklin, when asked at a recent conference how does a graduate assistant move up in the college football coaching ranks:
“It comes down to people and opportunities for growth. I always tell people to stay broke for as long as possible. When you have a car payment and other things like that, it becomes a factor. Keeping money out of it allows you to chase your dreams longer.”
Stay broke as long as possible.
I remember back to when I first got out of college and was making $20,000 at my first job. The reality was, I could have gone almost anywhere and made $20,000. The money wasn’t the draw of the position, the opportunity was. If it wasn’t for me, I could go and try something else. I had a crappy car and $400 per month apartment. I didn’t have life obligations that were going to stop me from chasing a dream.
Fast forward five years and now I have a new car, a new house and a new kid. Chasing a dream would be much more difficult.
You hear it all the time, chasing dreams is for the young. Not because the young necessarily have better dreams or are better equipped at chasing dreams, it’s because the young can ‘afford’ to chase their dreams. They, usually, have little holding them back, financially. The older you get, the more responsibilities you have and the larger tax bracket you’re usually in.
Leaving a $20,000 job to chase my dream wasn’t going to be a problem. Leaving $100,000 job to chase my dream was going to be a problem.
No one really wants to tell you this in their ultra-motivational writings and speakings. “Go chase your dream! Don’t let anything or anyone stop you!…Just be prepared to have nothing for a while!” We never get to hear that last part. Want to be an NFL Referee? It’s a great gig! You just have to put about 15-20 years in at being a referee at every other level where you make peanuts and have to work other jobs to make ends meet. Yes, you can get there. No, you won’t get rich getting there.
You can definitely go out and work towards getting your dream job. Being broke will help you with that. It takes away the fear of failure and losing what you have. If you have very little, losing it doesn’t seem as bad. If you have a nice life, giving it all up, seems extremely hard. Being broke, in a very ironic way, gives you more options, when it comes to dream jobs!