How Your ‘9 to 5’ Salary Helps You Discover Your Dreams

I was watching The Voice (Australia) last week and the commentator said that some of the candidates were bidding on this competition to leave their 9-5 job so that they can pursue their dreams. Well, I know something about that - before I found my vocation in Personal Development & Budgeting, I spent the first 5 years (straight out of uni) at a Large Global IT firm working in the Financial Services sector. I met lots of people, travelled for work, had a good salary, but I wasn’t happy and 5 years of that was enough. In fact, majority of my work colleagues – on client site as well as consulting staff felt the same. I remember those Friday night drinks, free flowing beverages from the social club – where people drowned their sorrows & dealings from the week with copious amounts of booze. We’d then eat dumplings and noodles at a dingy Chinese place afterwards (to soak up the alcohol in our system) before catching a taxi home.

Does that sound familiar to some of you?

Now I’m not saying everyone was/is unhappy or dissatisfied with their day jobs, there may be those that genuinely love their full-time (corporate) life and that’s great. But I’m speaking to those that innately know their passions lie somewhere else – even though they may not know what it is at the moment (and that was exactly me when I resigned). The fabulous thing about being in this predicament is that you can save heaps whilst you’re still in the system so that you can discover what’s next for you.

Imagine having already saved at least 1 year’s worth of living costs so that you can take a year off to develop your hobby, attend networking meetings, do a few personal development courses, interview entrepreneurs about what running a business is really like, start a blog, or even get a different job in an industry you only dreamt about working in. How cool would that be?

It will be just like you’re an entrepreneur, a taste test, but with financial backing and the “safety net” of a (full-time) role to return to if you like. For some people this is a smart thing to do, for some they rather go all-in and leave their job.  I'm not saying do either, I'm actually saying that you can save a lots whilst working so that you can have a choice to do something about your dreams. 

So how do you begin to save for a sabbatical journey?

1) Understand your Annual Living Costs.    Be it that you download your accounts from internet banking, manually build a spreadsheet, or create a budget (for a free budget planner I recommend MoneySmart - an Australian government initiative). Know how much you require to live on for the next 12 months.

2) Start Saving MORE.    From the above exercise, you’ll build an understanding into what expenses you actually need to survive on. By surviving on, I’m not talking about luxuries such as buying suits, having $200 dinners, or spending $35 each time to go to the cinemas. Decipher your basic bills, your food costs (ie groceries), and keeping a roof over your head.  Start trimming your current expenses, review your investments (if you have any) and put aside as much money as you can. If there is a pending lifestyle change in the future, there may be considerable change in income - so being more practiced in frugal ways now will stand you in good stead.

3) Make a Promise & Commitment to Yourself in Seeing this through.    This is probably the most important step. Because when you reach your savings milestone, life would have happened . You may get a promotion, you may find a better paying job, you may be in a new relationship, you may now have a new car loan!   And then one thing leads to another, and by the time you're fed up & ready, you may be in your 50's.  It's your stand in honoring this for yourself, despite what circumstances turns up which will have your life sing!

Time is of the essence.  I still know of friends in the same hamster cycle, and life keeps on getting in the way. First it was the relationship, then the house, then the kids and still the kids for the next 20years.  Ah but the consolation is that they've got 3 investment properties, plus their house, so it means that their retirement is taken care of.  Regardlesss of your justifications, decide how important this is for you, and yes life does happen but the choice is yours.  And once you’re on that road less traveled, the universal flow is your oyster.

It’s also smart to consider different work options when you begin to dip your toes into that oasis (read my blog here about financially backing yourself as an entrepreneur) . And in your absence from work, if you really do miss it, you can return to your job or go find another one! Nonetheless, by taking this leap it’s a step in the direction towards the bigger picture of your passion & purpose.

If this has peaked your interest into stretching out, feel free to get in touch  for an initial complimentary phone/Skype consultation- believe me, your wings will spread.    My email is