Dream job or steady paycheck? Here’s how to land both

Pursuing your dream job full-time might feel like you’ll have to sacrifice a steady paycheck along the way, but it’s possible to find a balance.


It’s no secret that passion and success often go hand in hand. 

Gold medallist and tennis grand slam champion Dylan Alcott OAM spoke at a recent RMIT sport leadership series about how finding his purpose helped to define his personal determination for success.

“If you’re passionate about something, you’ll be good at it. If you’re good at it, you’ll be successful,” Alcott says. “We worry about cars, houses, clothes and holidays, but we don’t genuinely ask ourselves ‘Am I enjoying doing what I’m doing every single day’. Why waste your life doing something you don’t enjoy doing?”

For many, however, pursuing a passion full-time can also be financially daunting. At RMIT, you’ll gain the knowledge and experience to apply the following tips and find a balance between your purpose and paycheck.

Use Ikigai to find the perfect balance

The Japanese concept of Ikigai can be loosely translated as a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a balance found at the intersection of where the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for, meets your passions and talents. 

You can make three lists: one for your values, the things you like to do, and things you are good at, and the cross section of the three lists is your ikigai. 

RMIT offers a range of jobs and career advice to help you find balance in developing your career, with workshops, events with industry professionals, leadership forums and mentoring available.

Do the job before you get the job

Getting a taste of your dream job before you commit to doing it full-time is one way to ease into the field and ensuring it’s for you, while being able to pay the bills. 

At RMIT, we want our students to feel work-ready so we embed practical experience in all of our courses, making our graduates highly employable even before they graduate. Undertaking industry-supported projects, global study experiences, placements, Work Integrated Learning and internships in your studies at RMIT will give you insights into your future field while you’re still at university. 

Boost your employability with our resources like Job Shop and Career Hub, where you can find career help and apply for jobs, internships, and graduate positions.

For Beatrice Preston Zly, internships in her Honours year of the Bachelor of Industrial Design at a ceramics studio and a digital agency gave her skills that led her to the coveted position of Product Packaging Designer at Aēsop. 

“Studying at RMIT gave me the practical skills to become a good designer and my professors taught me new methods of critical thinking,” Zly says.

Form a network of industry connections

Building your professional network is another way you can work towards landing your dream job while maintaining your day job. Attending events, connecting with guest lecturers on LinkedIn, and tapping into the networks of the well-connected people you know by asking for introductions to their contacts are all great ways to network. 

When you study at RMIT, you’ll form a network of classmates, teachers and industry experts in the same field as you, who’ll be a valuable support system when you start working in your field.  

Journalist Luke Mitchell was a radio presenter before he discovered a love of PR and decided to study an Advanced Diploma in Business (Public Relations)

“The RMIT alumni I knew told me that they got great opportunities and real-world experience working with actual clients,” Mitchell says. “I wanted to get as much out of the experience as I possibly could, so whenever there was an opportunity to do something outside of classes, to network, challenge myself and get my name out there, I did it.

“I was lucky to get the opportunity to go overseas for my internship. I learned so much in my time interning at a PR company in Scotland, which then led me to an ongoing role with them in their Melbourne branch.”

Explore your flexible options

Deciding to pursue your dream job can feel daunting. You might need to continue working in your current field while you pursue your passion, which is when studying part-time can be a great solution.

Many of RMIT’s postgraduate courses are held in the evenings, with intensives on weekends, available part-time or online. Vocational and undergraduate courses are also online enabled.

When Joanne Osbourne-Taylor decided to return to university for postgraduate study, she looked for a course with flexible, online study options and an emphasis on research. 

“I wanted the opportunity to study online; I was working full-time and I have a family, so I needed flexibility,” Osbourne-Taylor says. “The Master of Design Futures at RMIT focused on in-depth knowledge and practical experience, and it fit around my life with online study.”

Deciding to pursue your dream job can feel scary at first, but with flexible options, passionate teachers and great support at RMIT, you’ll be taking a big step towards making your dream job a reality.


Story: Hilary Jones



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