How The Hell Are You Supposed To Know What Your “Dream Job” Is?

All of these articles talking about finding your dream job, interviewing for your dream job and landing your dream job are inspiring and all, but how do you even know the job you’re vying for is your dream job?

Dream jobs, I imagine, are the equivalent proclivities to the concept of “success.” Both look different to everyone. Dream jobs, much like success, can mean a manifold of things depending on what you perceive to be most important in the business world (wealth, flexible schedule, ability to wear silk kimonos to work, etc.).

While the definitions of “dream” and “success” are implicative of the individual chasing after them, how does one know what their version of a dream job looks like, unless they have already held it?

(A Child’s) Life is But A Dream

Some people say they have always known they’ve wanted to be a writer, a dancer, a chemical engineer, a teacher, a dolphin trainer.

Growing up from child-like states of mind into adolescence, we realize the opportunities that lay at our feet truly are endless. But then we realize those opportunities don’t come looking for us — we have to work to find and obtain them.

As we get older, we change our minds about a lot of things — career paths included. And we shouldn’t feel bad about that. I think wavering from here to there is normal and healthy — essential, actually, to finding out what your destined “dream job” may be.

Instead of driving ourselves to drink trying to figure out what we are supposed to be doing with our lives (money-making speaking), shouldn’t we be trying to figure out who we are, instead?

If living a successful, meaningful, purpose-driven and fulfilled life is what we are all after, doesn’t it make more sense to understand who we are personally, in the deepest sense, before positing ourselves in roles of retail, sales and whatever else we think might bring us professional satisfaction?

Our personalities should be congruent with the job titles we seek and hold. If we aren’t sure who we are yet, we have to do things that makes us uncomfortable. We have to travel to other parts of the world to better understand ourselves and others, and we have to go through struggles and hardships in order to accept the people we are.

Doing things unconventional to what society deems as “normal” provides a clearer idea of how we can be of service to the world — living outside of the traditional career trajectory, in my opinion, is the only way we can make the unimaginable, imaginable.

While portrayals of fascinating movie characters and attractive people in magazines may give us that feeling of “Yes! I could totally see myself doing this,” we’re only getting a glimpse of what’s on the surface of that lifestyle. We don’t stop to think, “They must have worked for 5, 10, 30 years to get to where they are today.”

I think a lot of cultural influences we read about are false perceptions, which is why so many people end up quickly disappointed when their “dream jobs” don’t work out.

We have ideas of what we want. We know what we’re good at, what we like and what we believe will bring us true happiness. But we don’t really know how all of that comes together in one profession when figuring out what this desirable dream job is or represents until we have actually worked it. Do we?

Making Career Mistakes is A Good Thing

You know the part in Sweet Home Alabama where Jake (actor Josh Lucas) asks Reece, “Do you have to make all of the wrong decisions before you make the right one?”

I love that line not only because that is precisely the way I have lived my entire (professional) life, but because I believe you have to make a million wrong choices before you figure things out for good. And her response is reminiscent of my own (and I assume many others’) justification of trying, quitting, getting rejected, succeeding, and so on:

“At least I fight for what I want.”

If you don’t fight for what you want in life, how will you ever get it? No one else is going to fight for you.

And if acquiring our “dream job” is our mission of one day carrying out our “dream life,” shouldn’t we be trying everything out for size instead of assuming a cookie-cutter role based off of someone else’s success story?

While there is definitely something to be said about finding inspiration from those we admire, I believe we should be writing our own stories, and ignoring society while we do it.

Thanks for reading!

Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great.

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