Iā€™m here to help you find a career that feels like home. This journal is where I share truths about meaningful work: mine, yours, and how to find it. Come on in for a read, and make yourself at home. 

Hi. I'm Laura.

Discover the meaningful work that's right for you. Finally.

How to Use Your Work to Get a Better Life

How to Use Your Work to Get a Better Life

I was an actor for many years, and then the magic started to fade. Part of it was about the actual job and wanting to do something more service-oriented so I felt like I was making a difference, but part of it was about the quality of life I had in that profession.

I didn’t like what I had to give up in order to advance my career. I was sick over living so far away from my family and seeing them only once or twice a year. I was done having to miss weddings, graduations, and funerals for gigs or auditions. And ask any actor: as soon as you buy a plane ticket to leave town, you will get an audition that you and your agent will resent you for missing. I was tired of being on call and having to reshuffle my schedule at the last minute to make it to auditions, and I was really tired of battling LA traffic to get there.

Funny thing: none of those things bothered me when back when I was in love with acting. They were just part of the package, and the rewards outweighed the inconveniences and sacrifices.

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps it’s not just the content of your work that’s bumming you out, but also the life that’s built around that work. A long commute. Being zonked at the end of the day so you can’t even really enjoy your time off. Having to wear a uniform that makes you feel bad. Bringing your spouse down. Not having the vacation time to see the people and places you care about.

When you find a Homecoming Career, you have the privilege of doing work that matters, and you get to choose a job that helps transform your life.

Yes, I want you to do work that’s going to change people’s lives in some way (I know you want that, too), but your work should also change your life. It should feel like home.

Of course that doesn’t mean that you can just throw together a laundry list of everything you want for yourself and expect the money to roll in. But let’s say you pick one or two things are most important to you and start there. For me, it was time for family and being my own boss.

I could have done lots of things that met those requirements. Guiding people through career change is what jived with my sense of purpose, strengths, interests, and all the other stuff that goes into finding the just-right career.

Now, the grass is greener. I got those two things that I most wanted for myself. I’m the boss, which is a huge responsibility and a thrill; I love the autonomy and being the creator of my work. And I see my family several times a year. I also work from home where I can spend lots of time with my sweet little son.

When Wyatt was born, I took 4 months off work to adjust to life as a parent and to get to know my boyo. It was a beautiful, exhausting time.

Some people have commented that I’m really lucky to have had that time. Here’s where I got lucky: I was born in a time and place where I get to choose my work. I had great parents and an amazing education. The internet exists and makes my business possible. The rest is not so much luck as it is planning and choices.

I feel really fortunate to have had 4 months with my babe, but I want to take credit for making that choice possible. I chose a career that would give me some flexibility because having time for family was a priority. I chose a supportive spouse. We chose to leave behind our friends and old careers to move away from money-sucking Los Angeles. We chose to live a simple life without much travel or stuff.

We don’t live in deprivation, but we do plan for what matters most to us. Me having time with boyo was one of those things. We even planned his birth to coincide with my husband’s summer break from teaching so he could have more time with him. Ok, there was some luck involved there šŸ™‚

My point is that you have an incredible amount of power when it comes to building the life you want. It doesn’t happen overnight. You’ve got to know what you want, put your biggest wishes first, and start building the pyramid stone by stone.

Think about your biggest wishes right now. Do you believe that you can have them?

Work is not just about the work; it’s also about using your work to craft the life you want. You can do that. You have the power to do that, just like the people you see online who you think have it so good. They made the choices they needed to make to build the life they wanted.

Why? They believed they could.

If you think there’s no way for you to have a job you love and a the kind of life you want, let’s challenge that. Today. In the comments, hit me with your “but it will never work for me” thoughts and we’ll take them apart one by one.

Because once you believe it’s possible and make the decision to make it happen, a new life will unfold for you.

  1. OHARA.DELANEYK@GMAIL.COM

    March 12th, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t have the skills/experience/education necessary for a career that would give me the flexibility I crave.

  2. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Katie, I bet that’s not true. But the good thing is that even if it is, skills, experience, and education are all things that you can acquire! For most people, that doesn’t even have to mean going back to school.

  3. leonorewigger@yahoo.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Hey Laura! Thanks for this great post and insight into your own life. The hardest part, I find, is defining which are the one of two most important wishes. As you point out, a long laundry list of wishes does not work.

  4. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Leo, I just read a great book called “Essentialism” that I think you’d love. A good starting point is to do some writing about what you’d like your work and life to look like in the best case scenario, and then look at what one or two things are most central to supporting your vision.

  5. singgod5@hotmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    But Laaaauuuurrrraaaa, I CAN’T turn down a paying job, even if it means going back to soul-sucking, joy-stealing, slow-death-by-cubicle, computer-monkey work. I’m a grownup, fer cryin’ out loud! I have bills to pay; I can’t spend my life chasing sparkly unicorn dreams of being a health coach and motivational speaker! Who do I think I am, Tony frickin’ Robbins?! I’m a NOBODY!!!

  6. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Hahaha, I think you just voiced the inner psyche of approximately 1.2 million people on the internet.
    I don’t do sparkly, and I don’t do unicorns. Part of being a grown up is recognizing that there is a middle path, and that showing up for a paycheck while your soul withers away is not practical.

    We’re all just people. Tony Robbins gets boogers. You start where you are.

  7. erin@erinpauling.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t know what I want. I don’t have a super drive. And I don’t really think that’s a bad thing. I’m interested in a lot. I know what I’m good at for the most part, but there’s a lot I’m good at. Every time I feel like I’ve found my “purpose” it turns out that was just another dopamine rush šŸ˜‰ Or something I had to do but now I’m done with it. (Acting was also one of those things for me. I’d actually like to do it a bit more because tou get t explore so many different things, but I too am not a fan of the lifestyle.) I think what I’m doing now is the closest thing to doing what I want. I just feel like something is missing.

  8. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    The burden of talent! You may think I’m being facetious, but being good at lots of things can really get in the way.
    Erin, you might be experiencing lots of small callings. That’s not really a term I use, but Tara Mohr talks about this. During our life, you may feel many callings. You act on it, and you’re done with it. It was never supposed to stay with you for a lifetime. And you shouldn’t necessarily try to make a calling into a career.

    Can you put your finger on what’s missing? That might be a good next step.

  9. Jen@piercedwonderings.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I’m overwhelmed and don’t even know where to begin. I know I want a change. I have an idea about what I want to do. But I don’t know how to start or put myself out there.

  10. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Jen, start flirting with what you want to do. “Date” your idea. Start a blog. Talk about it with friends. Just get the ball rolling.

  11. marlenapearl@gmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for this post, Laura. I’m afraid I can’t have a job that I want because I don’t know what that job is and I’ve been searching forever. I’m also afraid that once I find a job I love, I won’t be able to reel in the types of clients that I want or maintain a decent source of income. I’m a freelancer in the film industry (in LA…) and everything you say about acting and being in LA is exactly how I feel.

  12. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Marly, have you done this yet? It won’t answer all your questions, but it might help you think about this in a new way: http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/find-your-through-line/

  13. clappertona@gmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I want this life. I cannot figure out what I can do to make it happen. What skills do I have that I can turn into my own business in order to be my own boss and CREATE my life instead of REACT to it oh yes…and pay the bills. My question is: how do I figure out what business/career I may have a chance at pulling of an living an amazing life as per your claims Laura. How do I boil it down? I try to go through the process of figuring it out and I just get overwhelmed and I give up. Yeah. I am one of those people. I give up.

  14. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Adrienne, you can acquire skills. Seriously. What matters to you? What kind of world do you want to live in? What do you want your legacy to be? Above all else, what do you believe to be true? That’s where the good stuff is.
    Don’t give up!

  15. jayneanneammar@yahoo.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I’m afraid. I stop myself taking any real steps because I am afraid the changes I need to make are so sweeping that I can barely do more than start and stop, and I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. I wrestle all the time – in my head – with the doubts of not having enough money, of the training I would need or want not being where I live and having to uproot my family, of actually setting myself down on a solid path towards something else would mean closing so many other doors, and what if I am wrong? And I don’t really want to do the thing I am thinking about? So many fears I stay in my own self- imposed prison.

  16. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Hi, Jaynie. I hear you and respect you on the fear: http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/deep-fear/
    I still get afraid of “big” things that I want to do. Just take baby steps. It would be reckless to try to reinvent your career, move your family, and change your source of income overnight. But you can do it in small, low-risk, incremental measures.

    And so what if you’re wrong? You change direction. There is never a guarantee, but that’s not a bad thing: http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/certain/

  17. esj.leigh@gmail.com

    March 13th, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Jaynie – we are kindred spirits. I have paralyzingly fear every single day. I’m trying to learn push through it but it is so difficult facing my biggest hinderance that I’ve had wrapped around me my whole life.

  18. craftingfingers@gmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    At the end of 2012 I felt really burnt out and hated how uncreative my day-to-day life had become. I challenged myself to get more creative in 2013 with a goal to learn a new craft every month. I started a blog to follow my progress. I never thought anyone but my husband or mom would read it!
    A few months later I got work as a magazine editor for a crafts special and have since worked with a bunch of brands through my blog. I was “lucky”. If I hadn’t decided to change my life and work towards the type of lifestyle I wanted, that “luck” would have never happened.

    It’s always easy to see the privileges of others. It’s hard to see (and take advantage of!) the privileges we have ourselves.

    Really thoughtful and provocative post!

  19. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Anna, PERFECT example of starting small. Doing *something*. Congratulations on creating your own luck.

  20. qttiff0@gmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I know the general direction I want to pursue, but it would be a 180 degree turn from my current corporate career and the fear is paralyzing. What if I discover I’m rubbish? As the breadwinner I’m also consumed by the fear (and possible subsequent soul-crushing guilt) of letting my family down financially. How can I overcome my cowardice?

  21. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Tiffany, I don’t think this is cowardice. I think you’re asking (harsh) but good questions. Answer your own questions: What if you ARE rubbish at it? Also, you do this stuff gradually. With a plan. And safeguards in place. You may need to take some risks, but you don’t need to be reckless and put your family in harm’s way. You build bit by bit.

  22. dpelletier03@gmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I took this plunge last year and left a well paying job in the corporate sector to strike out on my own and I haven’t looked back. I read some of the comments here and fully understand it’s difficult dealing with uncertainty and all the “what if’s?”. I am currently single so there is no financial backer in my picture either! What sealed the deal for me was when I asked myself “Which of two scenarios had the highest cost? 1) Was it the emotional, mental and physical cost of staying employed where I couldn’t be my true self nor feel valued for who I am? 2) Or was it risking the uncertainty that came with striking out on my own, moving in a direction where I could follow my passion and be authentic?” It became simple for me to see that my health and well-being were/are worth so much more than a regular pay check. And I have been amazed with all the doors that have, and will continue to open, in my new path!

  23. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    And she lived to tell about it! Thanks for sharing your story, Denise. Great questions you asked and I obviously love the one you sided with.
    For others reading, having a meaningful job you love doesn’t have to mean striking out on your own like Denise did. It can mean working for a company that shares your values, supports you, and gives you a platform to do your best work.

    And I agree–once you get going, doors open up! You “lucky” person, you šŸ™‚

  24. wickeddeluxe@gmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    I cannot possibly make enough art to make a living and be homeschooling mom, or I can’t be myself, a witchy, do-gooder, unschooling, gypsy, poor girl, and be taken seriously as an artist instead of a caricature.

  25. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 13th, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Hi Elizabeth! Have you read Anna’s story above? How could you start small?

  26. ashleyoneill_@hotmail.com

    March 12th, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    I feel like I have been searching for a career forever. As most people dream about being a mom. I used to dream about having a career and making 80 000 dollars a year. LOL not sure why 80 000?! I do think I want to be a mom but I want to have a career. I am 30 and I still feel like I need to go back to school to get my degree and then have a career first. There are things I want to do before having kids including start a career and recently my mom and sister said i am not getting any younger. A degree in what? Not sure. I think a degree makes me feel like I would feel more accomplished (I have a certificate and a diploma)
    I want to travel and be able to finacially support myself (right now my partner is but I not sure he is who I should be with forever). I feel very stuck because I know the type of life I want ( happy, dog, career, house, travel, excitement, flexibility, free, stable, finacially abundant) but I don’t know how to get it. I want to be able to take time off when I want. Being able to finacially support myself and buy myself what I want is really important to me.

    My confidence has taken a hit too. I haven’t been happy in my job for years and recently I went off work after having an anxiety attack at work. How am I supposed to have a career that I love when I can’t even go to work everyday?

  27. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 13th, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Ashley, your health comes first. Start here: http://yourcareerhomecoming.com/3-ways-to-prepare-for-career-change/

  28. allisonbcarter@gmail.com

    March 13th, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    This is a beautiful post. I am so happy you shared this with me. Thank you. Just beautiful.

  29. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    March 14th, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Thank you, Allison. Hope you enjoyed your time at the library šŸ™‚

  30. Anonymous

    March 16th, 2015 at 12:03 am

    […] How to use your work to get a better life […]

  31. Anonymous

    March 16th, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    […] How to Use Your Work to Get a Better Life from Laura […]

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