Ask anyone about their dream job and they’ll have an answer for you. People looking for a job will tell you what they’re looking for, and people who have a job are likely to tell you something that isn’t what they’re already doing.
See Also: How to Find Your Dream Career
Why? Because they’ve settled for A job and not held out for THE job. There might be several reasons for it; it was the best job they were offered, the first job they were offered, or perhaps they thought it was right at the time. Generally, when you have every third person telling you "this is an awful time to be trying to find a job", it seems crazy not to accept whatever you’re given.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with A job; it’ll keep the electricity on and your resume filled. However, even if you find you have to settle, you should make sure it’s a temporary arrangement while you keep aiming for THE job. Here are a few reasons why:
Your dream job at 5 probably didn’t match your dream job at 15; just because your school thought you were equipped to decide about your future that doesn’t necessarily mean that your dream job at 25 is the same as when you were in school. That’s the problem with dream jobs; they change. Sometimes they just change with us, due to life experiences or changing expectations, but there are times they change because we actually get what we want.
That’s right. Dream jobs are fluid, and getting what you (think) you want isn’t always the answer. If you’re lucky, you’ll get it, love it, and stay there for life. If you’re a little less lucky (not unlucky!), you’ll get it and then realize it’s actually not what you expected. And you know what? That isn’t such a bad thing. At least then you can go back to your old job - or figure out your new passion - knowing that you tried. They say one of the biggest regrets of dying people is that they didn’t go for things: wouldn’t you far rather die knowing you at least tried your dream job than knowing you stayed in A job and will now never know "what if"?
You will never appreciate true job satisfaction until you’ve found your dream job. It doesn’t matter how well you do at the job you do have if you’re constantly thinking "I’m good at this but I could be great at that", because chances are, you’re right. Not only are you more likely to reach higher heights in a dream job that you love, but you’ll be much happier putting in the long hours to excel than you ever will be by working as little as possible at your "it’ll do" job.
Gifford Thomas reminds us that "job" (A job) and "work" (THE job) are two different things; a job is what you’re paid to do and work is what you’re meant to be doing. He says that not only will you never be satisfied if you never do what you’re meant to be doing, but you’ll be depriving future generations of the contributions you were put here to make on their world. He uses a quote from Deepak Chopra to explain the formula for a rewarding and fulfilled life: Make sure that your job = your career = your calling.
Slow and steady wins the race
Yes, that’s a reference to the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. No, I’m not telling you to become a vet or sports referee (unless that’s what you want, of course), I’m reminding you that fables teach lessons, and those lessons aren’t just for children.
- The race is everyone’s race to get to college, graduate and find a job
- The prize is a trophy for Happiness
- Slow and steady means to keep looking until you get yourself your dream job; the hares might laugh at you from their office with a view, but they’ll soon stop when they realize you’re the one who’s nabbed the trophy.
Additionally, taking the time to find the right job increases the chances of it being a job you’ll be happy with; people who rush into the first job that presents itself generally don’t enjoy it. Be happy by finding the job that will make you the exception to the rules: everyone hates Mondays, hates commuting, and hates their boss, the thing that will have you jumping out of bed when the alarm goes off, come rain or shine.
It’s easier to get your dream job
Recruiters can tell the difference between someone with a passion for what they’re applying for and someone who’s either settling or applying for anything they might be suited for. Applying only for your dream job will mean applying with a genuine passion that will be understood, appreciated, and rewarded with a job offer; that’s one successful application rather than a hundred failed ones.
Pete Leibman had a dream of working in a professional sports franchise. He ignored the people who told him to try for something less competitive, and got himself to a workshop where he introduced himself to - and continued to network with- an executive. His passion got him a job and a promotion to manager within the next two years. All by the age of 23. As he reminds us, we shouldn’t worry so much about the state of the economy: there are only 25 jobs out there? Great, I only need one!
Give a man a fish
You’ve probably heard some variation on the saying "give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime." Well, to apply that to jobs: "get A job, work for a while; get THE job, have a career for life." Not only is your dream job likely to be the kind that isn’t temporary, but it will be something you want to do for a long time while you work your way up to higher positions; even if you don’t get to stay with the same company you’ll keep the job, and each employer will happily refer you to the next.
This article on Forbes gives you the five questions you should ask yourself to find your lifetime career, especially if you’re considering starting your own company which is even harder to walk away from than a job:
- What would you be willing to do for free? If we lived in a world where money wasn’t so important, what would you be happy to do for the rest of your life? More realistically, what is the hobby you have that you could use as your source of income if you could?
- What are your interests? Not the answers you give when someone asks you that question, but in your everyday life, what section of a bookshop do you tend to head or? What type of TV channel or show do you enjoy?
- What makes you mad? The next time you’re grumbling to yourself about the terrible timing of your favourite TV show, consider whether your ideas are actually valid enough that you could be a great scheduler.
- What demographic do you connect to? Are you a talkative extrovert stuck in a cubicle job making copies? Have you considered that you probably belong in marketing or social media?
- What would you regret? Similarly to my first point, what are the things you would regret not accomplishing - or at least trying - fifty years from now? You can never truly know what you’re capable of until you try, and you just might surprise yourself.
Are you in A job, or THE job? Do you wish you had waited? Perhaps you wish you had settled? Let us know in the comments section below!