dont get firedOn Tuesday, I published a post talking about why you should be living for more than your day job. It’s my belief that while some of us are meant to chase a crazy dream and do it full time, most of us have a diverse set of gifts that could never be put into one sole job description.

You’re a video guy who loves playing music and investing in others.

You’re a mom with a marketing degree who enjoys baking for others.

You’re a student majoring in business but also have a passion for people around the world.

Whatever it is, your calling – the unique wiring that only you have – can’t fit into a normal day job.

While it’s important to chase after all the things God has called you to do, it’s even more important to do it the right way. You can’t neglect your day job in pursuit of your dreams.

Well, unless you don’t enjoy eating, having a place to live, and semi-affordable health insurance.

To help you be who God has designed you to be and still be able to eat, I’ve put together four quick tips on how to chase your calling while not getting fired from your day job.

1) Learn the house rules.

When I began chasing my dreams outside of my day job, I had a conversation with my boss about what she expected from me and how she wanted me to go about the journey. A small “house rule” she asked was that I not talk about my outside work on social media while I was at work. This helped her (and others) know I was focusing fully on what I’m getting paid for. I immediately agreed to that because I knew the importance of letting her know I was all in while at work.

Your day job is your paycheck. It’s the meal ticket. Because of this, it has to be your first priority. The worst thing for the pursuit of your calling is a boss who can’t trust you. In contrast, one of the most liberating things is when that same boss supports and encourages you in what you’re wanting to do and who you’re wanting to be.

Do whatever it takes to allow your day job supervisor to trust you at work while you chase the other things God has called you to.

2) Work your butt off at work.

This one is two fold. The first and obvious reason to do this is to keep your boss on your side. The second reason is just as important: if you slack off at work, you have to work extra to make up for what you didn’t get done. That takes away from time you could be doing something else.

Is it more important to have the 20-minute water cooler conversation or to run after God’s lead in another avenue? The quicker you get your day job responsibilities finished, the quicker you can move to your other passions.

If you care about chasing your calling, you will maximize your time outside of your day job by maximizing your time at your day job.

3) Use your lunch break.

Your lunch break is one of the most strategic parts of the day. You can use it to hang out with friends at the local burger joint, or you can use it to chase after your other desires. Two quick examples:

I desire to lose weight and get to where I was before my horrible year last year. It’s something I not only want to do but feel I need to do. My gym recently started opening at 8am three days a week. I enjoy and do better working out in the mornings, but I’m supposed to be at work at 9am. I went to my boss, told her the situation, and proposed an idea: I would eat lunch at my desk three days a week if she would allow me to come in 30 minutes late on those days. She agreed to it so now I’m getting to chip away at my weight while still working hard at my job.

I also occasionally do free-lance design work. Two days a week, I’m still allowed to take my full lunch break. Again, I could go to the local burger joint with friends, or I could pack a lunch and sit by myself for an hour to work on a project. I don’t lose any time at home with my wife, I get a break from day job responsibilities, and I get to pursue the projects God brings my way.

You can use your lunch to eat and be with friends or you can use it to chase your calling.

4) Maximize your paid time off.

Vacation time doesn’t always have to be for a vacation. Sometimes you need those day job hours to go after something outside of work.

I’m teaching at a college retreat this weekend. Teaching is nowhere in my job description, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Knowing it would take some time to write and prepare four talks for the retreat, I used two of my PTO days in to do that. I wasn’t going to use all my time this year anyways, and it doesn’t roll over at the end of the year, so why not use it to maximize my time chasing a dream?

Those are the four ways I’ve used my day job to help me chase after my calling. How have you leveraged yours? What are you doing to maximize your paid time to maximize your dream time?

You are called to more than you’re currently getting paid for.

The question now becomes are you chasing after it?

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.