Financial Literacy - How to Prosper
Pursue your passion for great rewards

First determine if your bank has an in-house marketing or advertising department. Talk to people within your company and let them know what you'd like to do.

If there are no opportunities where you work, then you need to research what it takes to break into advertising.

Finding answers to these questions can help you get started.

  • What skills does this job require?
  • Are classes going to be necessary?
  • Can you take these classes locally while working?
  • If not, where can you take them?
  • Are there any professional organizations where you could find a mentor or at least someone to grill with questions?
  • Can you arrange an "information interview" with someone who works in your desired profession who can describe all that it entails?

The research phase helps you gather information that will allow you to work slowly toward your goal while mitigating the risk to yourself.

Creative alternatives

One option is to look for compromises in what will satisfy you at the end of the day, but also make some money. This could mean volunteering, working part-time or doing something in the field, but not quite what you dream of doing.

For instance, you might love sports, but the ship sailed on your professional athletic career in high school.

"Look beyond the immediate activity. A lot of people say, 'My mad passion is basketball, but I can't make money at it.' So they bail on it. But if they take the extra step and look at the greater community that surrounds the activity -- there is a huge community around pro ball that loves to talk about it, to plan all sorts of events and buy and sell basketball-related products," says Fields.

"You may be happy running a basketball-related Web site," he says.

It doesn't have to be Web-based, though. Maybe you've always loved the ballet. There may be opportunities within theaters or ballet companies for administrative work.

"Find an intersection between what you like to do and what people will pay you for. Connect yourself to a cause or activity that has great meaning for you, and use the marketable skills that you already have," says Mangelsdorf.

Or find a practical entry into what you love to do.

Mangelsdorf interviewed one artist who began painting pictures of houses. Real estate brokers would buy them to give to buyers when they closed on a house.

"At this point he and his wife have recently bought an art gallery," says Mangelsdorf.

Taking on risk

Change is risky. But you don't have to just chuck everything and leap off a cliff into the unknown. In fact, you shouldn't do that.

In writing his book on careers, Smith found that when people went through this kind of transition, it took a while, typically a minimum of two years in the research phase, followed by "very low-risk experiments," he says.

"For almost all iconic, daredevil entrepreneurs, the whole initial process of their success was about mitigating risk, taking low-risk steps to explore whether an opportunity might work. And then saying, 'OK, that's working. Now I'll try a little more,'" he says.

Workers with big ambitions should look for practical ways to make their dreams a reality. Staying in your own little rut guarantees that you will never fail at something you really love, but you'll also never succeed at it.

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