12/09/2012 12:09 EST | Updated 02/08/2013 05:12 EST

Newsflash: The Lottery is Not a Career Plan

North Carolina Education Lottery

There was a lot of anxious hysteria in my neck of the woods recently. People were lining up in the hopes of hitting it big on the Powerball jackpot. As I was in line to spend my $10 on tickets, I heard everyone talking about what they would do with so much money. Most would quit their jobs. One person even went so far to say he would not quit right away because he wanted to come back in tell off his boss, slap a couple of coworkers, and tap dance on his desk naked. Not a pretty image, I can assure you.

Office pools everywhere popped up. Entire departments bought tickets in the hopes of a mass exit from working. As a talent strategist, my first thought was that none of my clients have workforce contingency plans to account for this happening.

People were pinning their next career move on winning. But why? And what does that say about your current job? Well, I am guessing you don't like it. But I have news for you... the lottery is not a valid career plan. By now, if you have been reading my blog, or read my book -- you know how I feel about the wait and hope method of career success. If there's something out there that you love to do, that you have been dreaming about, find a way to go do it.

Do not gamble your career away by waiting on odds that are one in 175 million to make your move. You have better odds of getting hit by lightning, or being bitten by a shark. It is just not a sane career plan. If you're waiting on the big bucks to make your move, they may never come. So quit waiting and start moving!

The fun of the lottery is dreaming about what you would do if you were not inhibited by money. But, interestingly, I did not hear anyone talk about starting a hedge fund, or investing in rocket design. What I heard were people that would start a non-profit, go back to teaching, or run their own small business. Sure, they would buy boats and homes, but almost all said they would keep working in some capacity.

All of the ideas I heard for what they would do for work did not require a lot of money. They simply required lifestyle choices, sacrifice, and a little bit of guts. And they were all attainable.

So the next time you start thinking about what to do with your career, let yourself dream. Think about what is possible and then wake up, get up, and get moving!

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