Everyone’s got a dream job, right? Since childhood, our brains have been ingrained with this idea of what we want to be when we grow up – creative director, software developer, engineer, data scientist, etc.
So, the majority of us set out as wide-eyed, bushy-tailed job seekers in pursuit of THE job. And maybe we get it—but then we realize that it’s not the rose-colored role we envisioned all along.
We still have to deal with a few annoying managers and maybe some irritating co-workers, too. We still have to come in earlier and stay later than we want on occasion. And we still need to go to work on days when we just don’t feel like getting out of bed.
What we’re driving at here is that the perfect job doesn’t exist. The reality is that dreams change, and almost every job has an aspect that we don’t enjoy. This doesn’t mean that our idea of a perfect job is a crazy one. However, it means that we have to adopt a practical approach to finding a career that is right for us.
But where did the dream job phenomena originate from?
Who Coined the Idea of a Dream Job?
The idea was first conveyed by the Chinese philosopher Confucius. He shared the perspective that if we opt for a job we love, we would never have to work a day in our lives. While he was certainly onto something, his succinct notion didn’t address the moving parts of a job and how our attitude plays a significant role in determining our satisfaction with a role.
The dream job idea also stems from our:
- Perfectionism thinking: The dream job idea is often grounded in our thinking that there is only one position for us. However, there are many work environments and roles out there that we can grow to love. If we aren’t careful, we can allow the notion of the perfect job to add too much pressure to our lives and leave us feeling unsatisfied until we have found that “perfect” role.
- Future-focused mindset: Dreams typically highlight where we want to be in our future, and the dream job search can take our focus off of the present. The trouble is that what we do in the present is key to getting us where we want to be in the future. So rather than focusing excessively on the future, ask yourself what you need to do now to achieve job satisfaction and grow professionally in the future.
- Habit of leaving things to fate: Many individuals pursuing dream jobs leave things to fate or other people. In doing so, they forget that they are the architect of their careers. If you are productive and bring your creativity and innovation to the workplace, you can turn many jobs into dream jobs. You have the power to carve out your own path to success.
- Bragging rights: Sometimes, we label a certain position as our dream job because it will impress others. If you’re bored out of your skull or in a job that just doesn’t fit your qualifications, it doesn’t matter how impressive it sounds. Other people’s approval is a very risky measure to stake your “success” on and rarely gets you where you want to go.
How to Turn Any Job into a Dream Job
So, what should you do if your dream job doesn’t exist? Your best bet is to create a path that helps you grow and instills a feeling of self-worth. The following steps can get you headed in the right direction.
- Look outside your industry – Don’t limit your job search to one sector. The military requires computer engineers, non-profits need musicians and photographers, and nearly every company has an accountant. Look for broader opportunities that align with your passions and skills.
- Acknowledge the need to work hard – Many individuals work hard in the first few years of their dream job, hoping that they will soon start to enjoy what they do and that things will become easy. The problem with this is that all jobs come with hurdles and challenges that only change shape with time. A certain position won’t magically make things easy for you – you will need to work hard to find systems and methods that streamline the workflows for you.
- Seek a great working environment – If you’re able to find a motivating environment to work in, you won’t feel the need to look for your dream job as you’ll already be living the dream. Such a workplace is conducive to working comfortably and should help you discover your inner talents. Ideally, look for companies with great work cultures, as culture influences the growth and job satisfaction of new recruits significantly. Examples of companies with such cultures include Shopify, Dropbox, Zappos, and HubSpot.
- Use caution when building workplace connections – After you get a job, make sure to build your connections carefully. We say this because the people in our professional networks influence us and our outlook on our careers. Negative habits and emotions are contagious (and positive ones can also be). Co-workers who are determined to grow in their careers can also make your productivity flourish. Just as business owners often say that “good help is hard to find,” it is equally hard to find good connections. Use care when establishing yours.
- If you’re not satisfied with your current job, take some time off – Some jobs are not meant for you, but you’re stuck doing them because you can’t identify a better opportunity. Consider taking time off and doing something different. You can volunteer or try working in a new area (even overseas). As you experience different cultures and backgrounds, you may hit on a possibility that you had not considered for a fulfilling job.
If you’re looking for a job that’s a good fit for you, contact our professional placement firm. We handle everything from administrative staffing recruiting to inside sales, accounting or non-profit recruiting. Let us help you find a position where you can grow and develop and collaborate—something that you can turn into that “ideal job.”