Why I Turned Down a Dream Job to Pursue a Dream Career


Why turn your back on the stability of a 9 to 5" job to pursue your entrepreneurial passions?

Everything had been going well since my layoff over a year ago.

My online consulting business was growing. I felt I was touching lives by sharing a message about how pharmacists can impact patient outcomes.

Through my blog and column on PharmacyTimes.com, I was writing about how pharmacists are an integral part in the health care community. It provided me with a new outlook on my career, and I was more passionate about pharmacy than I had ever been.

And then, the day came when I received the proverbial “dream job” opportunity. They recruited me, it was a short commute, and there was a great opportunity to further my career in management.

In short, it would be the epitome of a successful pharmacy career. It was the perfect job, and if they had offered it to me just 6 months earlier, I might have taken it.

From the outside looking in, it seems crazy to refuse such an offer. Why turn your back on the stability of a “9 to 5” job to pursue your entrepreneurial passions?

This job offered stable hours, benefits, and a chance at a very respectable position as a director. Was it crazy of me to take the road less traveled instead?

No, it wasn’t, because I knew exactly where that position would lead me. The dream job was a fork in the road that would have led me down a career path in the exact opposite direction of where I wanted to be heading.

I fell in love with entrepreneurship because of its challenges and vast rewards. The potential for an entrepreneur is an endless journey towards a purpose. In fact, it leads me in new directions every day.

In my case, my passion for writing led me in a new direction. Sharing my ideas and discussing new trends in pharmacy led me to become a guest host on the Pharmacy Podcast Show. As my business continues to grow, it carries me along on a meandering yet exciting journey.

My consulting business reinvigorated my career. I was happier with being a pharmacist than ever before, but that dream job offer was hanging over my head. It really was one heck of an opportunity.

During the 2 weeks before my interview, I left for work in the morning thinking, “I’d be an idiot to turn this down!” By the afternoon, however, I would exchange a quick e-mail with a mastermind pal/business client/interview subject/LinkedIn connection and would think, “You’re crazy to turn your back on your business! You were born to be an entrepreneur!”

If you follow the route of the entrepreneur, your future can be exciting and unknown. You could end up taking a somewhat “unsecured” journey towards a totally new career.

The thing that scares us most is that we know exactly where the dream job will lead us. It is a well-documented path laid out in front of us time and time again by those who have gone before us.

I got caught in a cyclical reasoning trap by thinking, “If everyone else thinks this job is perfect for me, then it must be perfect for me.” However, those who know my business say that I am already headed in the right direction.

Perhaps, 10 years from now, I will be disappointed that I turned down that dream job. Or maybe, I will have achieved more than I had ever dreamed.

We put ourselves through a decision-making technique that borders on self-cruelty, which I like to call imagining the worst that could happen. When it comes to self-doubt, we have superb imaginations.

This time was different, though. Surprisingly, I found out that there was really not much downside to chasing my dreams.

At worst, entrepreneurship will give me more experience to use in the next dream job. I concluded that 10 years from now, I would regret taking the dream job more than I would regret following what might turn out to be the dream career.

So, what does my Dream Career consist of? Freedom of time and location, a long-term overseas medical mission, and helping to launch a grassroots movement to shift pharmacy to the forefront of modern health care.

Maybe someday I will regret that decision. Maybe I am a spoiled “Millennial” enchanted by the idea of entrepreneurship. Maybe I just believe in myself enough to know that my value far exceeds what working for someone else can offer me.

I told you mine, so tell me yours: what is your dream career, and are you willing to sacrifice your dream job to get it?

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