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How To Bridge Job Your Way To Your Dream Job

Woman crosses a bridge with her suitcase

I knew I was ready to leave the world of corporate retail to start my own career coaching business.

But I wasn’t ready.

I no longer wanted to work in a stressful, ill-fitting, toxic environment.

But I also liked security and money.  I didn’t want to start my business cold-turkey with fingers crossed that it would all work out.

What’s a girl to do?

This girl took a temporary job title down, with less hours, in a less intense industry.   

My new job allowed me to leave at 4:30 pm so I could spend my evenings training to be certified as a career coach (my dream job!)  

It freed up time to script my website and ramp up building my business.

And it allowed me to squirrel away cash to fund my career transition into my dream role.

DO YOU NEED A BRIDGE JOB?

Listen, in the ideal world, we hop directly out of our unfulfilling job into our dream role.  

And make no mistake, I certainly have seen that happen with the majority of clients I coach.

But sometimes life has other plans.

Consider the following scenarios:

You want to transition to your dream job (or build your own business) BUT…..

Scenario #1:  You need to get out of your current job NOW because you’re in a toxic work environment or you have a toxic boss, BUT your dream job might take up to a year to achieve.  You are finding yourself physically or emotionally ill just from showing up to work each day.  You’re on the brink of a burnout and your current job is doing you more HARM than good.

Scenario #2:  Perhaps you wouldn’t classify your current job as “toxic” but it IS totally draining.  You are working an insane amount of hours, so much so that you don’t have it in you nights and weekends to chip away at your dream role.

Scenario #3:  You just got fired.  Or you got laid off. Either way, you need cashflow ASAP.

But just because life happens…… does this mean you need to go out of the frying pan and into the fire?  Are you forced to jump from one bad job (or series of ill-fitting jobs) into another bad job because you feel desperate or scared?  

Or perhaps simply stay stuck in your current bad job because your dream job will take too long to land?

Hell no.

May I present to you…. “the bridge job.”

The bridge job is a temporary position that gives you the breathing room to make a career change.  

And by breathing room, I mean the gift of time, energy, sanity, AND a financial buffer.

This is about strategically positioning yourself to achieve your dream role.  

A bridge job mitigates the perceived risk of going after a dream role. It’s an empowering, confidence-booster allowing you to explore what’s possible when you have a safety net.

HOW TO DECIDE ON YOUR BRIDGE JOB:

I work with women to help them define their dream job “non-negotiables.”  You know….. the “deal breakers.”

Now if you opt for a bridge job, you need to decide on a whole new set of non-negotiables.

Here are some common bridge job non-negotiables:

1) Pays basic bills

A bridge job isn’t meant to get you rich or finance your love of international travel.  It’s meant to pay your baseline bills while you are bridging yourself into your dream role.

2) Less hours   

The less hours you work, the more hours your can spend focusing on your transition. If you are currently working 50 hours per week, perhaps you move to a hard 40.  If you are currently working 40 hours, perhaps you go part-time.

3) Less stress

Your bridge job frees up mental and emotional space so you can shift your energy to your career transition.

4) Naturally skilled at it 

If you are naturally skilled at your bridge job, you can hit the ground running without a ton of time, energy, or training. (This time and energy can instead be devoted to your career transition.)

Not only that, but if you’ve been emotionally beaten down by your last job, this is a nice way to regain your confidence.

5) No toxicity

I get it, no job is perfect. But the last thing you need is another toxic work environment while you are trying to focus on the dream role.  You don’t have to love your bridge job boss and co-workers like family but you shouldn’t dread them either.

Bridge Job Bonus Points!

And then there are the bridge job “nice-to-have’s”

  • Allows you to obtain skills that will be useful in your dream role.
  • Allows you to be mentored by someone who would be helpful with your dream role.  For example, one of my clients wants to open up her own card shop and is considering first working in a store for another small business owner who could teach her the ropes.
  • Allows you to build a network you could potentially tap for your dream role.  Or, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a bridge job could be the source of potential clients.

BRIDGE JOB IDEAS

Are you drawing a blank on what kind of bridge job might be right for you? Let me help you get the juices flowing with a couple ideas:

Consulting 

Especially for my corporate career changers out there, consider consulting in your area of expertise.

Remote Work

Check out flexjobs.com for remote work you could tranition into quickly in areas such as admin, sales, bookeeping, creative, etc.

Family/Friends Network

Leverage your “easy in’s” versus going through an intensive job search process.

Teaching  

No, not becoming a grade school teacher, but teaching the role you currently do. For example, perhaps you are transitioning out of the role of a graphic designer.  Teach an entry level course on graphic design.

Take a title down

If you have a director level job, consider moving into a manager or individual contributor role to decrease your stress, hours, and responsibilities. The beauty of this strategy is that you are already qualified so it won’t be as painful, difficult, or time-consuming to land the role in the first place.

Temp Job / Contract Jobs

Contact outsourcing and contract employment firms in the fields that interest you.

BRIDGE JOB EXIT STRATEGY

“But Betty….. I don’t want to take a Bridge Job, because I’m afraid I’ll get stuck there….”

My response: The key to successfully leveraging a bridge job is knowing your exit strategy for the bridge job.

  1. You need CLARITY on the dream career you are ultimatley going after.  (What are you working towards? What is your North Star?)
  2. You need a strategy for achieving the dream career.  (What are you doing with your freed up time on nights and weekends to propel you closer to your dream role?)
  3. You need a financial plan.  (How much money do you want to save?  How long will it take you to achieve this with your bridge job salary?) 
  4. Once you know the above 3 points, you need an exit DATE.  Mark it on your calendar. This is your Dream Career Count Down.

NO MORE EXCUSES

Shed the excuse “I can’t afford to transition to my dream role.”  You CAN if you are strategic about it.

Allow the bridge job to provide you a financial buffer while you make the switch.

HAVE I LIT A FIRE UNDERNEATH YOU YET?

Start the discovery process to uncover what your dream career truly is.

CLICK HERE to download your Free Surefire Guide to Finding Your Passion.

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Let’s do this.

Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP, is an executive career coach helping mid to senior-level corporate women transition out of unfulfilling jobs and into their dream careers. 

Visit:   bettykempa.com

Contact:  coachbetty@bettykempa.com

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