Dr. Marlene Caroselli on How To Recover from Loss of a Dream Job

Dr. Marlene Caroselli responds to a music business professional who asks for career advice after losing his dream job.

Dear Ex-Music Bizzer,

Keep in mind that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” While you were indeed fortunate to have held a dream job for your entire adult life, reality has shifted. And, providing for your family is no doubt more important to you than pursuing a dream that may not be fulfilled — at least not in the short term. By working in a related field, you will still find some of the passion. The peripheral position may not place you in the heart of the music industry, but it will allow you to join the mass of “other men,” who are quietly accepting responsibility for others. (Think of the soldiers who probably do not love war but who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect our country. And they do so for very little pay!)

To illustrate: A dear friend wanted nothing more than to be a movie star. She was talented, but by age 41, had only been in one movie — and a B movie at that. She asked me for advice: Should she continue to pursue her dream (knowing the older a woman gets in Hollywood, the less likely she is to find work) or should she get a real job in a related field. (Despite being a college grad, she had accepted truly menial positions before, so she could go to auditions. If she was fired for taking too much time off, she didn’t care. There are tons of menial jobs around. Her only goal was to be a movie star). She works now in a company that arranges celebrity-appearances at various functions. Not only does she still have her finger in the Hollywood pie, she is earning oodles of money and has had some hefty promotions along the way.

My recommendations:
1. Ask every contact you’ve established in the last several decades for job leads. Pursue all of them.
2. Consider finding a music-related job online.
3. Become an entrepreneur. Begin offering your no-doubt considerable skills to the various firms that you know can use them.
4. Go on a few informational interviews with executives in firms where you hope to be employed at some time in the future. Network to the max. (Note from VocationVillage.com: Here is a guide to conducting informational interviews.
5. Even if you have to take a 9-to-5 job that is not what you love, you can still spend time “in the industry.” For example, write blogs, offer to work at concerts free (registration, ticket-taking, et cetera), give interviews, and so on. Getting your name out there just might create some new opportunities for you.

Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D., Author, Keynoter, and Corporate Trainer


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Read another guest opinion about how to recover from loss of a dream job.