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Calculate if Your Dream Job is Within Reach

Did you always dream of becoming an astronaut, Olympic runner or world-renowned surfer? Then you went on to become a lawyer, an accountant or civil servant instead?

If you're like most, at some point in your life, you've considered just quitting your work and starting your dream job. Maybe even starting for yourself. Here is the big question: If you could start doing your dream job now, would you?

According to a global LinkedIn survey, there is good news. About one third of those surveyed said that they work in their dream job and many have settled into jobs within the same industry. So from yoga teacher to pilot and firefighter, to starting your own company, for many of you your dream job is within reach.


Sounds Like Fun, but Does it Pay Enough?

From Chief Flamingo Officer (CFO) at a Resort in the Bahamas to Cross Word Puzzle Writer for the New York Times, some dream jobs seem pretty hard to believe. You probably didn't even know that these jobs existed. All sound like they would be a ton of fun to do, but do they pay well?

Can I Afford my Dream Job?

Like many of our generation, you were raised with the notion that, "You Can Do Anything." The big question you're probably wondering is, can I afford the switch?

The reality is that many dream jobs don't pay enough to make a living on.

If you're ready to take the plunge, good for you! That's a big step. So now that you know that you're really going to do this, it's time to do a few calculations. Here is how to calculate if you can afford to quit your current career and start your dream Job:

1. Create a budget prognosis for your present career and your career move. Then compare.

First is to make a budget of your current living situation. Write down what it costs to live exactly the lifestyle that you are living now.

The next step is to make a different budget that reflects the new situation that you are considering. Now that you have a forecast of your present situation and of your new situation, you can compare the two.

2. Factor in saving for retirement

Make sure that you think of your retirement. Often people pay later for choices made earlier on in life, and if you don't really want to be working as a Barista when you're 95 (which could be pretty cool in and of itself), then you are going to need to start planning for your retirement, as in saving money for your retirement, while you are in your thirties. That means now.

3. Calculate your burn rate and quick ratio

Next if you're starting a new business as your dream job, planning to take a sabbatical first or will start out making less money initially, then you'll need to calculate your Burn Rate and Quick Ratio.

A Burn Rate is the amount of money you expect to spend every month, from your total equity. This is money you have saved or on hand (equity) and if you take out a loan (debt).

Here is an example: if you are spending $1000 per month, then you have a burn rate of 1000. The burn rate is measured until you begin to have a positive cash flow, so money coming in from your new job or your new business.

Essentially this is the rate at which you "burn" through your money, before any is coming in.

A Quick Ratio shows if you can meet your financial responsibilities, even if something unexpected happens.

Here is an example: Your car breaks down and you have to buy an expensive part to fix it.

This is how you calculate it: money you have directly available to you / liabilities, like a line of credit. In business a healthy rule is to have a Quick Ratio of 1.0 or more. You can use this as an indicator in your own situation, to tell how risky it would be to make a career switch even if it means less money, and to check if you can handle unexpected expenses, even in your dream job.

4. Make a list of non-tangible Pros and Cons

Create a list of the non-financial benefits and drawbacks of both the current and the new potential situation. These have value too. Know what you value and what you don't. Be prepared to sacrifice.

Look at your spending in your present situation, too. Perhaps those long traffic jams to and from work are something that you don't value and that's one of the few times you use your car anyway. Do you really even need a car?

When it comes right down to it there is likely a lot of spending that you do in your current situation, that is just a way to cope or a necessity of that job. Find out what they are and get rid of them, so you can cut costs and create less demand on your spending and thus pressure to earn a lot of money.

You might even need less money than you think. See this as an opportunity to decutter your life.

5. Adjust your budget to fit the lifestyle you want to live

Being able to compare these two with each other, you can now make a well-informed decision of what you will gain and loose in both financial and non-financial terms.

6. Maybe you are already doing your dream job

Also, know that it is okay to decide to stick with your career and grow in it. A friend of mine was recently playing with the idea of a career switch. She was seeking autonomy and recognition in her career and wanted to grow.

Instead of making the switch she started a volunteer board position on the side. This led to a big career jump because her boss saw her taking initiative and excelling in the skills needed at the next level in her organization. Now she has moved up in the management tiers and loves her leadership roll and job.

This little story illustrates that, maybe you are in your dream industry and with a few adjustments to your situation, you can turn your current job into your dream one as well.

Ultimately, do not throw away everything you have built up for yourself, until you realize it's value and how much that switch would cost. You are the only one that can decide if it's worth it.

7. Plan your next steps

A life changing career move, doesn't have to happen overnight. You can take years to prepare for your career move. So go easy on yourself and make a timeline that includes your revised monthly budget that includes a plan for saving and spending in your new situation, while you are changing careers and consequentially incomes as well.

Do I Want To Start for Myself?

Is your dream job to start for yourself? Maybe you have a great idea and think that you can make millions with it, or you want to make a difference in the world. Or maybe both. Either way, that is a very exciting step.

Realize however that most businesses fail in their first 3 years. Many people don't even make it past the idea phase because of fear. Fear of failure, fear of success even, but you are different and once you push past all of that, you'll realize that even if you're running a non-profit organization, or a charity, you need to be making money. At least enough to sustain yourself.


You may have other responsibilities to consider as well, like a partner, family or otherwise.

It's always a good idea to factor in all aspects and responsibilities in your life that will be affected by your decisions, before making them. These should never be excuses for you not doing what you want in life. There are more ways than one to get something done, and that's true of taking your steps. Be aware of your financial impact and responsibility to others, and factor that into your budgets and plan.


Getting There

Ultimately the different parts of your life - career, finance and lifestyle are all tied together. A decision in one will affect the other. That's why in reaching your goals, you need to regularly check and review their compatibility with each other. Especially at times when you're considering big changes.

As Oprah Winfrey says, "You can have everything. Just not all at the same time." Your goals may need to be slightly different, or timed at a slower or faster pace, but ultimately, if you want something, pretty near anything is possible. Remember, doing nothing is also a decision.

This is why creating your budget and doing the calculations is key in making your decision. This will help you realize what you want and take the step, either now, later or in a slightly different way than initially envisioned.


Get the Tools

Download your free tools and worksheets to take your next step and support your career moves and decisions.

Do a Personal Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - Personal SWOT Analysis. Take the test for yourself.

Are you in the process of applying for your dream job? Get the Ultimate Job Interview Cheatsheet.


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We are Olivia & Morgan

So both in our 30's, with exciting careers including fast track to CEO positions, we met at RSM Business School during our MBA in The Netherlands. 

Always afraid to drop the ball, we quickly figured out life after 30 is not about having everything together, but more about developing yourself, knowing who you and what your goals are and ESPECIALLY  knowing how to get there.

Because we can all dream, but turning that into action and reality is a huge challenge.

So we created this platform to develop and achieve your goals step-by-step.

We truly believe that if you can dream it, you can make it happen. Anything you want, you can achieve.  

This is the philosophy of Eve & Elle and the core concept behind every article we write and product that we develop.

Everything we do is about helping you make it happen.