The Case for Being Unproductive

Yesterday I took a three-hour lunch. Which sounds excessive and luxurious (and not to say it wasn’t), but I’ve also worked an average of 50 hours a week for the past three months. I’ve worked every weekend, hunched over my laptop, forking oatmeal into my mouth,...

read more

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

I grew up in Houston, the most diverse city in the country, and lived here until 2010. In those two decades, the first decades of my life, I met so many people from so many different countries, backgrounds, and cultures, all with different beliefs, opinions, and...

read more

You’ve Blown Your Budget. Here’s What to Do Next

You've finally learned how to budget. It’s Friday, it’s payday, and you’ve budgeted $100 to last the whole weekend. That should be plenty for a couple of nice meals, a trip to the museum, and maybe even a cocktail or two. Then you get a text from an old friend....

read more

Where Have I Been?

On January 1st, as I hopped on my bike to ride down to the Rose Bowl parade, I got an email on my phone. It read, “I would very much like to represent your book."  A million thoughts raced through my head. Thoughts like: There must be some mistake. Really? My book? Oh...

read more

How I Budget With a Variable Income

Freelancing is great, but there are some things I miss about full-time employment: Free coffee Mingling with coworkers Cheaper health insurance And a steady paycheck. For the most part, my income doesn't vary too much from month to month, but it does vary. Even though...

read more

How to Stay in Vacation Mode Once It’s Over

In one of my favorite episodes of Frasier, Niles is so reinvigorated after a trip to Belize that he develops a persona when he returns to day-to-day life: Island Niles. Unlike day-to-day Niles, "Island Niles" is carefree, non-judgemental, and relaxed. He wears board...

read more

Hey! I’m Kristin, a freelance writer and journalist (you can find my stuff at Lifehacker, NY mag, the NY Times, and more). Here, I share what I learn about the freelance life, from managing money to digital nomading to figuring out why the Wi-Fi isn’t working.

What You're Saying

A Guide to Switching Careers

If you’ve thought about switching careers, you’ve undoubtedly encountered this classic dilemma:

Pursue dream but struggle to pay bills vs. Pay bills but stay in a mediocre job

Switching careers is easier said than done, but it's not impossible. If you want to make it happen, you need a game plan. Here's a template.Wow, those are some lackluster options. Should you give up on your dream so you can afford a roof over your head or live like a starving artist so you can feel fulfilled? Either way, you have to give something up.

I know it sounds crazy, but what if you didn’t have to choose? What if you could pursue your dream and not worry about struggling to get by? Consider a third option: strategizing your career switch.

As tempting as it may be to storm into your boss’s office and yell, “I’M OUT, MIKE!!!!” you don’t have to make a drastic move. If you’re working full-time and want to make the switch, you don’t have to quit your job immediately. It may work for some people to take the leap without a safety net, but having that net in place will save you from setbacks. When you switch careers without a plan, you make yourself more vulnerable to failure. Again, jumping without a parachute works for some people, but there are so many things that can go wrong.

These things can cause you to stress the hell out and give up on your dream altogether.

Balancing Support Work With Dream Work

When I was employed as a technical writer, I was happy. I loved my coworkers. We had free breakfast every Friday. I made good money, and I was grateful.

Still, I knew I wanted to pursue a different kind of writing career. My writing goals have changed over the years  — I wanted to be a journalist, then a novelist, then a screenwriter, then an essayist  — but regardless of the medium, it was always my goal to write creatively for a living. Despite the fact that I liked my job, I knew I had to leave it.

You don’t have to quit your job, either. I’ve met plenty of people who have a “support career” and a more creative career on the side. They do what they love and they pay the bills. Eventually, switching careers may be an option, but in the meantime, they’re happy doing both.

However, if you do want to quit your job, consider strategizing an exit plan. It comes down to a few steps:

  1. Look for side work while you’re employed in your support career
  2. Save up money to support yourself when you DO decide to quit
  3. Set an end date in which you would like to leave and launch your switch

Here’s exactly how I followed each of those three steps to craft my own career switch. read more…

Hey! I’m Kristin, a freelance writer and journalist (you can find my stuff at Lifehacker, NY mag, the NY Times, and more). Here, I share what I learn about the freelance life, from managing money to digital nomading to figuring out why the Wi-Fi isn’t working.

What You're Saying

The Case for Being Unproductive

Yesterday I took a three-hour lunch. Which sounds excessive and luxurious (and not to say it wasn’t), but I’ve also worked an average of 50 hours a week for the past three months. I’ve worked every weekend, hunched over my laptop, forking oatmeal into my mouth,...

read more

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

I grew up in Houston, the most diverse city in the country, and lived here until 2010. In those two decades, the first decades of my life, I met so many people from so many different countries, backgrounds, and cultures, all with different beliefs, opinions, and...

read more

You’ve Blown Your Budget. Here’s What to Do Next

You've finally learned how to budget. It’s Friday, it’s payday, and you’ve budgeted $100 to last the whole weekend. That should be plenty for a couple of nice meals, a trip to the museum, and maybe even a cocktail or two. Then you get a text from an old friend....

read more

Where Have I Been?

On January 1st, as I hopped on my bike to ride down to the Rose Bowl parade, I got an email on my phone. It read, “I would very much like to represent your book."  A million thoughts raced through my head. Thoughts like: There must be some mistake. Really? My book? Oh...

read more

How I Budget With a Variable Income

Freelancing is great, but there are some things I miss about full-time employment: Free coffee Mingling with coworkers Cheaper health insurance And a steady paycheck. For the most part, my income doesn't vary too much from month to month, but it does vary. Even though...

read more

How to Stay in Vacation Mode Once It’s Over

In one of my favorite episodes of Frasier, Niles is so reinvigorated after a trip to Belize that he develops a persona when he returns to day-to-day life: Island Niles. Unlike day-to-day Niles, "Island Niles" is carefree, non-judgemental, and relaxed. He wears board...

read more