The Truth About “Dream Jobs”
Do you have your dream job? You might be thinking, “Yes! I love absolutely everything I do at work, and there’s not a single aspect of the role I’d change.”
But more likely, you’re thinking, “Nope. I thought it was my dream job, yet I’ve discovered I really don’t enjoy doing X task, and Y task always puts me in a bad mood, and Z project is stressing me out, and…”
Guess what? Experiencing the second is normal. Experiencing the first, well, put it this way—I’ve never met anyone who feels that giddy about their job.
That doesn’t mean that none of us has our dream jobs. If you work hard and pay attention to which industries, functions, and/or disciplines speak to you, you’ll probably land in a position that’s a great fit for your interests, skills, and personality.
However, the idea that a dream job is 100% enjoyable 100% of the time is completely false. It’s okay to dread 20–30% of what you’re doing. No matter what your job is, there will be manual, boring, unglamorous, unpleasant, frustrating parts to it.
Take celebrities. Their jobs may involve lots of parties, shopping, and press, but it also involves a complete lack of privacy, endless interviews, and a nonstop schedule.
Or astronauts. Going into space would be amazing, but they also have to deal with being away from their family, giving up all creature comforts, and undergoing extremely rigorous training.
Or elite athletes. They get huge salaries, attention from adoring fans, and commercial sponsorships. On the other hand, they also risk serious injuries, must train constantly, and can’t always control where they live.
Instead of becoming disillusioned when your job isn’t perfect, realize it’s not your job that’s the problem—it’s your expectations. If you understand that the dream job as most people define it doesn’t exist, then you won’t feel let down.
It’s worth knowing when a job is actually wrong for you. If you’re unhappy or disengaged from the moment you start working until the moment you end, something is definitely wrong. Even if you’re unhappy or disengaged half of the time, there’s an issue.
Furthermore, there should be some parts of your job you love. Ask yourself, “What do I look forward to at work? Which projects or tasks feel satisfying to tackle? If I could do more of any part of my job, what would it be?” The answers to those questions should come fairly easily. Struggling to think of any responses suggests you’re not finding true pleasure in anything.
Try keeping track of what makes you happy or appreciative throughout your day. Maybe you figure out a hard problem. Maybe you get good feedback from your boss. Maybe you come up with a fantastic idea. Simply being aware of these moments helps you enjoy your work.
And when you’re trudging your way through an uninspiring or downright soul-numbing task, don’t think, “My job sucks.”
Think, “I’m not a fan of X task, but it won’t take forever and it makes my other responsibilities seem far better in comparison.”
You should also look for someone trustworthy who will discuss your job and give you some healthy perspective. That might be an older or more experienced coworker, family member, wise friend, or mentor. When you’re struggling to stay motivated, go to them. They’ll be able to tell you whether your ennui is normal or a sign that you should look for another position.
I have my “dream job,” and I still feel blah sometimes. So don’t worry if you occasionally check out. Chances are, you’re in the right role.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the seventh consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is now the 14th largest IT staffing firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 26 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.