“Should I take this short term job that pays really well but is not taking me towards my goals?”
That’s a big question and it comes up frequently at DrivenWoman member meetings. I wish there was one comprehensive, correct answer to this question! But like with any other big question about the direction of your life, nobody can tell you what to do. Neither can we. But we can ask a couple more questions which may help you to get to your own answer.
One member who works as a freelance writer recently asked if she should take a temporary job that will bring in money but is not taking her towards the kind of work she wants to be doing in the long run. She was wondering if she shouldn’t take the money but to stick to her plan, perhaps out of principle. But the money was tempting. It would allow her a bit more freedom and a longer holiday. All good and valuable points. And it wouldn’t be a permanent state of affairs.
Knowing your values and wanting to move towards your goals is paramount. But money is good too. We all must pay our bills.
Nothing stops you faster from pursuing your dreams than running out of money!
The big question was, money or values?
She wanted to take the money, and that was the right thing for her to do. It’s a good idea to start building a buffer of savings for the transition period. The day will come when you can start saying ‘no’ to the work that doesn’t completely align with your values and future goals.
To determine if you should pick the option that aligns with your values and takes you towards your goals or the option that provides short term cash flow, you can consider answering the following questions:
How long can you keep taking the money option and still look yourself in the mirror in the morning without feeling like a fake?
When you are starting your transition into new type of work, it’s perfectly ok to take short term projects that may not be perfectly aligned with your future goals. Everyone needs to keep their lights on! And getting into debt would only increase stress and could ultimately jeopardize your whole plan. But there’s only so long you can do that. It’s a good idea to write down a date when you want your whole (or most) of your income to come from the work you are passionate about.
Are you putting the extra money into a good use that ensures you can follow your dreams later?
If you blow the extra money as usual then there was really no point taking on work that did nothing for your soul, was there? When you are in transition and want to be earning your living from a new kind of work you must put aside both your time (doing the work you love on top of your usual work) and money allowing you transfer to your goals quickly.
Are you using the “financial security option” as an excuse from actually pursuing your dreams?
Earning your living from a new venture is always risky and it for sure takes everyone outside of their comfort zone. It is tempting to postpone starting and to default back to what you already know. But what we have today (money, friends, love..) is based on the choices we have made up to now. If you don’t start making different choices you can’t expect different results.
Would your new venture bring in more money?
Everything you do now prevents you from doing something else. And we can only do so much in a day. The universe is pretty demographic in that everyone has the same amount of hours in their day!
Everything you do today means other things you’d like to do will have to wait.
So if you wanted to write a book, build a business or become a public speaker, the short term jobs that are supposed to be paying the bills will simply push your future earning power further. If you think you are going to earn more as a public speaker then you should do everything you can to get to your goal as fast as possible. Get to that honey pot, don’t wait!
At the end, we all have to find our own answers. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for you. But one thing is for sure, we can’t get there unless we give up something familiar and take risks. And very often it means taking a pay cut and adjusting to a lower income level whilst in transition.
Have you faced a choice between taking the ‘money option’ or going full steam ahead pursuing your dreams? What did you do?
A version of this post previously appeared on DrivenWoman - a supportive network for women who want to lead a bigger life. DrivenWoman is a fast growing movement of women coming together to support one another with their goals, follow their dreams and create the kind of life they really want, either in local groups or in the Doers Academy - an online membership program.