Your dream job, a fulfilling and challenging career — it’s a goal for many workers, being paid to do something they enjoy or in a role that gives them a sense of purpose. But with bills to pay, a family to feed, and debts to eliminate, pursuing a dream job can be elusive for many. In fact, only 1 in 10 Americans say they’re working their dream job.
How can you achieve your dream job in this busy, stressful world? These tips might help.
Is Your Dream Job Rooted in Reality – Or Is It a Fantasy?
A dream job starts when you fall asleep and ends when you wake up. Like the “American Dream,” the idea that a job — any job — will fulfill you, give you purpose, and never feel like work is a fantasy. Use your ideal of a dream job to help you focus on what’s most important to you when choosing a job, but make sure that your vision is grounded in reality. Your goals should be achievable but still align with your values and priorities.
Your Dream Job May Not Be in a Dream Environment
With such a diverse job market, there are likely several occupations that line up with your vision and skills. But, the company offering the dream position may not offer ideal working conditions. Don’t let pursuing your dream position blind you to a company culture or expectations that are more in the “nightmare” realm.
Many employers strive to offer their employees the right workload and responsibilities, with achievable goals and promotion opportunities. Be wary when looking at your dream position, and consider the drawbacks to the job. For example, the job may require a 50-60 hour per week commitment or have a lower starting pay than you desire.
Worse, the perfect job may be in a toxic workplace with out-of-touch upper management or a micromanaging team leader. The experiences at the company may sap a lot of the joy out of working in your dream job.
You May Not Have the Company’s Dream Skills
Although you may have the passion and enthusiasm for your dream job, the company may have other ideas about their dream candidate. Hiring managers may not have listed everything they want for someone in this position. Or, you may have the hard and soft skills needed to do the job, but the hiring manager may not see you as a good fit for the current team you’d be a part of.
Your abilities aren’t the sole criteria hiring managers consider – many times, especially in higher-level positions, they’re also considering how each candidate will blend into an existing team or department, so they’re hiring not just to fill that role but hiring for the team. You may have felt confident in your abilities and aced the interview, but at the end of the day, you just aren’t what the company is looking for.
Right-For-Now Isn’t Right Forever
Your dream job at 22 may not be the same as a dream job at 32, or 42. Expectations and priorities change, and your career dreams may become less about the job itself. Instead, you may find yourself looking for a job that will best facilitate your pursuit of other dreams, like being more present with your family, traveling, or allowing you to retire early.
We all want to feel valued and fulfilled in our jobs, but sometimes focusing too much on a dream job can keep us from shifting our focus to a reality that allows us to fulfill all our dreams.
Last modified: January 10, 2023