Downshift To Your Dream Career

Salary trapping you in a job you hate? Here’s how to find a job you love without falling into debt.

Earning a lot of money doesn’t sound like a problem, but a fat pay cheque won’t make up for a job that leaves you feeling drained, as 31-year-old Sam Thomas can testify. Until three years ago, she earned R300 000 a year working in the city. ‘Then, I went to the Chelsea Flower Show and realised I wanted to do something creative. Within four weeks I’d resigned and started a floristry course. I now earn a lot less, but I’m much happier.’

Jeremy Clare, life coach and director of careers coaching service ‘Whatever Next…?’, explains how to find your dream job, regardless of salary.

‘Focus on your personal values, whether that means more time, increased creativity or helping others,’ says Clare. ‘Making a list of the real reasons you’re doing this will motivate you when times are tough.’


‘Before you even think about quitting your current job, research the practicalities of your dream profession so you don’t have unrealistic expectations,’ advises Clare. ‘What’s the salary? Will it increase over time? Do you need specific qualifications? If you need to retrain, do you have savings to tide you over?’

Less money won’t just affect your bond or rent repayments. ‘There are lots of things to think about, such as job satisfaction, financial commitments and work/lifestyle issues. How will it affect your relationship? What about your holidays? Many people don’t consider these things when changing careers.’

‘You may need to downsize your living standards, so get a housemate,’ suggests Clare. ‘If you have a bond, renegotiate a better deal.’ Downshifting your career means stepping out of personal and professional comfort zones – but it’s worth it to follow your dream.