How do you prepare yourself to leave your current job to do the job you would much rather be doing? Not everyone should stay in their current job, even if it’s a well-paying, enjoyable job. For some it’s not a good fit given their talent and temperament, some want their dream job, and for others it’s time to move on to the next stage of their careers. Many “baby boomers”, who have invested 30 or more years in one career want a change but are not ready to retire (See: Retire Retirement by Tamara Erickson) and, with good planning, do not need to retire.

Mint.edu, a blog for mint.com, offers nine tips for people who want to change careers. These tips are titled:

  1. Diversify your income sources
  2. Develop passive income streams
  3. Pay yourself first
  4. Avoid debt and high interest rates
  5. Live like a millionaire (i.e., Mimic the frugal habits of self-made millionaires)
  6. Invest wisely and regularly
  7. Stay married
  8. Track your finances
  9. Borrow carefully

Tips three through nine are good advice for anyone at any time. One and two, however, sound like late-night infomercials for how easy it is to become rich in your spare time. It’s not that easy. The first “tip” is about moonlighting or starting a freelance or consulting business while continuing to work at your current job. The second “tip” is about earning money for something that doesn’t require your labor (e.g., royalties from books). A small number of people might be able to do a full-time job well and grow another business (e.g., write best sellers) in the off hours. But this takes considerable discipline, time management, and talent, and many end up not doing either job well. I’ve seen many professionals who are physically present for one job while on the phone conducting business for another job. It doesn’t work. Would you want your employees distracted by outside professional work? Would you want them trying to serve your customers while text-messaging a business partner about the next big deal? Working at a full-time job and starting a business on the side is possible but, for many people, a very bad choice.

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