I’ve been a believer for a long time that a “dream job” really does not exist.
Dream jobs don’t exist, because we cannot clearly define them. Many people will tell you to imagine a job that you could get up every morning and be excited about. Well, I could be excited about taking my kids to school in the morning, but that would not suffice as a “dream job”.
Many others will say to find a job that allows you to earn a lot of money with little to no work. While that sounds more like a fantasy than a dream, the concept has flaws. A high salary should be the result of hard work, in my opinion. I’ve heard of too many people getting duped by get rich quick schemes to accept that there are jobs out there who will pay you millions for little to no work.
So where does that leave us?
We want to find our dream jobs but we don’t know where to start.
First: Clearly define your Dream Job
I’ve spent the past few days walking around the city of Chicago and I’ll have to admit that I am a people watcher. I enjoy a good park bench, and watching the people stroll by.
What I have noticed here in Chicago is that nobody is happy. My hotel is in the South Loop, in the financial district, and I’ve been rubbing shoulders with people working for E-Trade Financial, Chase Bank, Bank of America, the Fifth Third Bank, and about a dozen others.
I imagine that the majority of these folks have high salaries, but they appear to be miserable.
I actually got into a conversation in my hotel lobby with a bank executive here on business. He was lamenting the fact that he travels the country inspecting the operations of the other banks in his network. He said he typically works 70 – 90 hour weeks, and is away from his family 5 -6 days a week. He does it to support his kids private school education and their lavish vacations.
I asked him if he had ever considered doing anything else, and he said simply that “I can’t”.
For many people, a dream job equals freedom above all else.
Freedom to do work you are truly passionate about.
Freedom to set your own schedule.
Freedom to be your own time keeper and determine how much or how little you will work.
Freedom to make your own decisions.
Second: Find others who are already doing your Dream Job
More than likely, the dream job you have imagined is not unique. There will be other people who have already paved the way, and are doing the job of your dreams (even though it might not be their dream job!).
These folks can be invaluable resources to help you evaluate whether or not your Dream Job is truly what you thought it would be. Just like a college internship, this interaction with someone already employed in your Dream job, will give you an inside perspective into the reality of the job.
Often times, dreams don’t become reality.
I dreamed of being a lawyer, until I took my first law class.
I dreamed of being a veterinarian until I learned that they had to castrate dogs.
I dreamed of being an archaeologist until I realized they traveled for 10 months out of the year.
Talking and interacting with people who are already doing the job you dream of is one of the best ways of evaluating that career. The more personal the connection, the better the feedback.
Finally: Create your own Dream Job, if it does not already exist!
I have a good friend who is passionate about missions and volunteering in third world countries. He just recently got married, and is trying to figure out how he can turn this passion into his dream job. He had considered signing on full-time as a volunteer with the Peace Corps, or with a missions agency, but he did not like the multi-year time commitment.
He also wants to be able to travel to more than one country over the next few years with his new wife.
His solution? He established himself as a trip guide. He now leads the teams of people who go into third world countries and complete their missions or volunteer work.
He quickly realized that the job he dreamed of did not exist, so he created it.
This is the best solution for most people. Often our dream jobs are not a cookie cutter type position.
Most dream jobs are not recruited for at career fairs and you won’t find them listed on Monster.com.
As with most of the good things in life, if you want it you have to work hard to get it. Your dream job won’t likely appear out of thin appear and offer itself to you.
You need to clearly define what your dream job is, then make actionable steps to make it happen!