At some point you just have to make the call, stop hemming and hawing and decide that it’s time.

At some point you have to stop getting ready to get ready to make the career change that you fully intend to do once you’re ready. You have to stop telling yourself that you will do it…once you’re not so busy/once you graduate/once the kids graduate/ once your closet is finally organized and life is perfect.

Consider one study that showed that 70% of white collar professionals are either dissatisfied or highly dissatisfied with their current jobs. Might be because many of us fall into careers accidentally – and it isn’t until we’re in the job, up to our eyeballs with life responsibilities that we realize we don’t like what we’re doing.

Too many of us are walking down career paths that we don’t like. Why?
- We grew up only thinking there was one path. We didn’t know there were others.
- We’d rather be miserable on this familiar path than risk walking down a new one.
- It’s too hard to get off this one.
- It’s too tough to figure out how to get on a new one.
- We don’t trust that the new one will be better than this one.
- We don’t know what other paths exist.
- Path? I wish I had a path – I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

Life is too short to spend wondering when you’ll have the time/money to go for your dreams. Instead, put the cart before the horse and tell yourself that if you pursue your dreams, you’ll have more money. Stop waiting for something to happen and just start taking action. For instance:

▪ The only thing worse than having a dream and not pursuing it is pursuing it and realizing it was the wrong dream. Sometimes, our current career misery can cloud our judgment and make us act hastily – like quitting jobs prematurely, or deciding that our idea is fabulous, without doing due diligence, running the numbers, or actually talking to a bunch of people (informed, intelligent people who have some expertise in our dream area) first.
▪ If you’ve got a dream, then you’ve got some serious networking in your future. Reach out to people living your dream. Talk to them and see if what seems so terrific/appealing/cool from afar is really all it’s cracked up to be. Ask if you can shadow them around the office for a day or two. Step into their world and see how you really like it.
▪ If you’re still reading, then take your ‘dream’ research one step further. ‘Try on’ your dream job like you’d try on a pair of jeans. Students can become interns – but those of us out of school can volunteer/consult and take on an actual project for low/no fee. This helps us see at a deeper level if our idea will work for us – and enables us gain skills and create a body of work in our new career field in the process.
▪ Smash your big dream up with a huge hammer. Big career goals can be inspiring…and intimidating. In fact, big dreams can seem so big, they’re overwhelming. Where to begin? How to get started? For many of us, it’s easier to stay in bed. Give yourself a break and spend a day imagining you’ve got a big hammer in your hand. Take that hammer and smash your big dream up into little, teeny pieces. Commit to tackling one of those pieces each day/week/month so that pursuing your dream is doable, achievable – and will actually happen.

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Freedman is an expert in career and workplace issues. She is the author of Work 101: Learning the Ropes of the Workplace without Hanging Yourself and The MBA Student’s Job-Seeking Bible, and was a 2005 finalist for College Speaker of the Year, awarded by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. Elizabeth runs a Boston-based career-development and coaching firm; clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Reuters and The Gillette Company. To bring Elizabeth to your next association event or workplace meeting, please visit