Should you keep your day job?

Bored of your 9-to-5 job? Itching to walk towards your passion? This book might just convince you to do so.

By Julia Migné

Every January brings the usual ‘New Year, New You’ frenzy and its infamous list of New Year Resolutions. From being more healthy to reading more books, many among us use the beginning of the year as an excuse to start afresh, with the hope to become a better version of ourselves.

Learning new skills and spending more time pursuing hobbies are often classic resolutions. But some people take it a step further by pledging to turn their passion into a career. If you belong to that category then brace yourself, we’ve got some tips for you.

© Cathy Heller

“Your ‘day job’ is really a synonym for all the uninspired, routine, and mundane parts of your life.” If that sentence resonates with you, then chances are that you will enjoy what songwriter, podcaster, and now author, Cathy Heller has to say in her book Don’t Keep Your Day Job.

Based on her personal experiences and on interviews she conducted on her podcast, also called Don’t Keep Your Day Job, Heller sprinkles advice on how to turn your passion into your career. Fear not though, she is not advising you to go straight into your manager’s office and drop your resignation letter tomorrow.

Before launching yourself into an all-consuming passion you’ll need to actually learn to develop your calling. This step requires some curiosity, an open mind, and a lot of trial and error. Don’t expect to just discover your calling under a rock, you’ll need some grit to find out what works for you.

As you sail away from the shore, curiosity and a sense of enthusiasm are the most important tools you’ll need to navigate the seas.

Another important stage of the transition to live from your passion is the building of your personal runway, this essential bridge that will help you take the plunge.

Here are some of the key steps Heller recommends following in order to transition and to ultimately take the leap.

  1. Experiment: Pick an industry and start immersing yourself into it. That’s the perfect stage to try things out and “make mediocre versions”.
  2. Educate: Learn as much as you can about the industry you picked. Register for courses, check out YouTube channels on the topic, join Facebook groups.
  3. Evaluate: Test your product or service. Figure out what people like and make it consistent.
  4. Envision: Embody the person you wish to become. Imagine what your day would look like if you were pursuing your passion full-time, make business cards, and register your business on social media.
  5. Execute: Take the leap and start your side hustle. That will help you build up the confidence and security you need to ultimately leave your full-time job if sustainable.

Heller explains: “The key is to cushion the landing with knowledge that you have a product or service that people want, the infrastructure to build a long-lasting business, and a bank of great work already out there living and breathing.”

Overall Don’t Keep Your Day Job is an enjoyable read sprinkled with lessons from people who have pursued their passion with success, from writer and podcaster Gretchen Rubin to Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz. You can also expect to discover stories from her podcast listeners now turned successful entrepreneurs.

If the industry you’re looking to get into is within the music or podcasting sector, the book will provide you with some great specific insights from Keller’s life. However, if you want more detailed advice on how to become a baker, a writer, or even a coffee tycoon then you’ll probably want to go listen to the specific podcast episodes to get more details about what those industries are like once you’re done with the book.

Share the positive!