How A Bridge Job Can Help You Make A Successful Career Change

How a bridge job helps a career change
When one door closes another opens but all too often there is a long hallway in between.
Rick Jarow

What do you do when your day job is making you miserable, but you can’t quit because you’ve got bills to pay?

You know what I’m talking about. 

Every morning, you struggle to open your eyes because you dread the thought of spending another day at your office. Every evening, you struggle to fall asleep because you dread the thought of doing it all again the next morning.

Every morning, you tell yourself, today is the day when you’ll finally start looking for a new job. Every evening, you come home and chill on the sofa watching Netflix, too exhausted to do anything else.

Months go by and you’re still there. You’re stuck in a miserable hole you can’t get yourself out of.

You look at other people and think: “how did she do it?! How did she find the time and the energy to land her dream job when I can barely order takeaway at the end of a long day, let alone send out resumes?”

After all, getting a dream job can take months. It’s like a job in itself. And you already have one that’s draining all the energy out of you.

If you stay, you’ll never find the time and energy to get the job you really want. But if you quit, how are you going to pay the bills?

Enter the bridge job:

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What Is A Bridge Job?

A bridge job is a temporary job that provides you the mental space, financial support, and precious time to work on your career change.

Think of it like a bridge that allows you to go from the crappy job you’re in now to the dream job you want to be in.

Sure, you can transition while you’re in your current job. If you’re not too exhausted when you come home after a long shift, maybe you can find the time to send out 10 non-tailored resumes… and then complain you’re not hearing back from anyone.

Or you could save yourself time and energy and get yourself a job that pays your bills while giving you time to network, tailor your resumes to the position you’re applying for and all the other things you need to do to be on top of your job searching game.

The whole point of a bridge job is to get out of your current situation and the pressure that puts on you, so you can think about your next career move with a clear head – and have the time to actually take action towards it.

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What Are The Benefits Of A Bridge Job?

So, what will you gain by getting a bridge job? Here are the main benefits:

  • Confidence: Doing a job you’re not a good fit for or working in a toxic environment can shatter your confidence. A bridge job is by definition something that comes easy to you. Whether that’s marketing consultant, sales assistant, or babysitting your neighbour’s children, you know you can do it easily. And when you spend your time doing things you’re good at, your confidence blooms again.
  • Money: Even if a bridge job often means a pay cut, you’ll still have enough to pay your bills and cover your expenses. Cos you can’t really focus on getting that dream job if you’re panicking about how to pay the rent this month.
  • Motivation: Let’s face it: until you have a safe job to pay your bills, you won’t feel that urge to go after your dream job. Quitting your job before you have the next one lined up will put that fire in your belly you need to go after what you really want. Before you know it, you’ll be out there networking, taking people out for informational interviews, sending out 100 job applications… Anything it takes to land your dream job.
  • Time: A bridge job means more flexibility and shorter hours. You can use the extra time to figure out your next career move and learn new skills you’ll need in your dream job. Maybe it’s finally taking that coaching course, learning a new language, or attending a coding workshop. You know, all the things you didn’t have time to do while at your old, demanding job.

Related: How To Find The Confidence To Follow Your Dreams

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How Do You Recognize A Good Bridge Job?

A good bridge job gives you the time and energy to focus on getting your dream job without the worry of getting your bills paid. 

Here’s what to look for:

  • Something you’re naturally good at – you don’t want to learn any new skills for a temp job
  • Nothing too physically, emotionally, or mentally taxing – you need that energy to look for your dream job
  • Covers your necessary expenses – food, rent, transport and anything that’s 100% essential
  • Its flexible, part-time or has routine hours with no overtime – you need the extra time to focus on your job search
  • Has a positive environment – cos you won’t have the energy to focus on your job search if the vampires suck it all out of you

Bonus points if your bridge job is in the same industry you want to move into. That’s not a must, but it can make the transition easier. 

Related: 4 Ways To Prevent Burnout While Chasing Your Dreams

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What’s The Problem With A Bridge Job?

A bridge job often means a pay cut and a little step back in your career. That’s why so many people are hesitant to take the plunge. 

So, let’s debunk some of the fears and worries that come up when you’re considering a bridge job:

Isn’t A Bridge Job A Step Backwards In My Career?

It’s all a matter of perspective. If you believe that your career should follow a linear upward progression, a bridge job can seem like a step backward. But success in life is never linear. Sometimes, you need to take a step back so you can take two forward. That’s what a bridge job will do for you: it’ll take out of your current toxic environment, so you have the time, energy, and mental clarity to focus on your next big step forward in your career. Because if you could do that in your current job, you’d have done it already.

How Can I Explain A Bridge Job On My Resume?

That’s what your cover letter (yep, that little piece of writing everyone likes to ignore) is for. A good employer understands that a career progress isn’t always linear. As long as you have a good explanation for taking a bridge job, you won’t negatively impact your chances of getting hired.

What If I Get Stuck In This Bridge Job?

I’m not gonna lie: this is certainly a possibility. Humans don’t like change, so when you’re happy in a position, your natural instinct will be to stay there. That’s why it’s important to already have a plan of action to look for your dream job, someone to hold you accountable to execute it, and a deadline for your goal.

Do I Need A Bridge Job If I Want To Start My Own Business?

Yes! You need a bridge job especially if you want to start your own business. Take it from someone who did it. Starting your business will take more time, effort, and money than you had initially planned. Having a bridge job to help you pay the bills in the meantime will give you the peace of mind you need to work on your business and succeed.

Related: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started My Own Business

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Who Needs A Bridge Job?

If you’re miserable at work and are constantly dreaming of quitting it to do something (anything!) else, yet you’re too exhausted and unmotivated to look for another job at the end of the day, a bridge job is just what you need.

If your current job is negatively impacting your physical and/or mental health, and you need to get out of there ASAP, a bridge job can help you support yourself while you recover. 

Who Doesn’t Need A Bridge Job?

If your current job doesn’t satisfy you, BUT it does provide you with the time and energy to look for your dream job while paying your bills, staying put is the better option. But do look for that dream job. Never settle!

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How Do You Get A Good Bridge Job?

So, you’ve decided you need a bridge job after all? Great! Here’s what you can do to get one ASAP.

Step 1: Pick Something You’re Already Good At

This isn’t the time to test new career options you think you may like… like trying your hand at web designing when you know that your dream is to have your own marketing agency.

Instead, think of what skills you already have and what jobs you did in the past. If you have good organisational skills and receptional experience, for example, you could try finding a job as a personal assistant. 

Or maybe you’re good at social media and have helped a few friends grow their Instagram accounts. Put together a short portfolio and use it to get a job at a social media agency.

You get the point. Use what you already have. Your bridge job is supposed to be easy for you.

Related: How To Find Your Strengths, Skills, And Talents

Step 2: Tell Your Network About it

Job hunting online is all well and good – and should definitely be part of your strategy. But that’s not enough.

When you’re ready for a new job – even something temporary like a bridge job – tell everyone you know about it. 

And I mean everyone. Even your mom’s best friend. An old teacher. Your old colleagues. 

You never know who has a friend who needs what you have to offer or is working at a company where the ideal position for you has just opened up. 

Don’t miss out on any opportunity. Tell people you need help and they’ll be happy to do so!

Step 3: Nail The Interview

Getting a bridge job is a simple (but not necessarily easy) process: you figure out what you’re good at, tell everyone who’ll listen about it, search for jobs online and tailor your resume accordingly…

And when you get an interview, go on and nail it. You’re already qualified for the job. You know you won’t stay there long. You’re ok with what they offer you – even if it’s a temporary step back.

That takes a lot of the pressure off. Instead than going in thinking you need this job or else, you can relax and assess how this opportunity will benefit both of you.

Go get them, gorgeous.

Related: 3 Non-Scary Ways To Overcome The Fear Of Rejection


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Wrapping It Up

A bridge job isn’t for everyone. But if your current job is hurting your physical and/or mental health, you can walk away. A bridge job will give you the peace of mind and financial support you need to recover and look for a job that truly fulfills you.

Over to you, now. What’s your take on a bridge job? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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