A stepping stone is anything that, within reason and hopefully guided by a decent moral compass, gets you closer to your goal. Such as:
Dialing Back. Slowly but surely, you take on less responsibilities and duties at work. You come into the office at an appropriate time, leave at an appropriate time, and donate your BlackBerry to a worthy cause.
Cloisters. Each day you carve out some space for peace and quiet. Leisure becomes a good friend. Maybe you also explore ways of spending time in a cabin in the woods or at an artists’ colony. In this space of leisure, you start taking stock of your life and your work.
Austerity, Epicurean Style. Epicurus’s question was, “How can I do more with less?” Today he would have asked, “Can I cut my expenses to the absolute minimum? That is, are the things I desire really that important or would I be better off without?” To ask these questions is to open up breathing room. With less pressure and less anxiety weighing you down, you can really get busy with thinking about where your life is headed and how to get there.
Moonlighting. Get more work; do more gig projects on the side. The extra money will be a buffer for you as you, Prefontaine-like, make your move.
Halfway House. So to speak: A better job than your current one but not the ideal job in the end. Between everything and nothing: that is, something. The idea being that you’d have some room to think more clearly about the next step.