I was listening to the radio while getting ready yesterday morning. The DJ started talking about how there’s no such thing as a “dream job.” How you can’t expect a job to be without challenges and struggles. And how it’s the struggles that grow us and make us better. There’s a lot of truth in what he said. However, I think he was confusing “dream job” with the “perfect job.”
There’s no such thing as the “perfect job,” just like there’s no such thing as the perfect person, perfect relationship, perfect life, etc. But there is such a thing as a “dream job.”
Granted, the majority of people are not in their dream job (yet!). But there are a lot of people who are. Probably even more so today than in years past due to the changing world of work. Many people now can create their own opportunities through entrepreneurship, “solopreneurship,” freelancing, and the gig economy. Others can now work from home or be digital nomads through remote opportunities.
A Perfect Job Would Be Boring
I feel like I’m working in my dream job. I get to do what I love and use my skills, experience, and gifting doing it. Also, I get to encourage others and see them succeed which is extremely rewarding. And I get to make my own schedule and don’t have to answer to a boss.
But I would not say my job is perfect. There are many challenges and struggles that come with running my own business. And I’ve definitely grown and learned from those struggles. I don’t think it would be my “dream job” if I didn’t have to face any challenges at all. Instead, I think I’d be totally bored.
The 60% Rule
I always tell my clients:
“You can’t expect to love 100% of your job 100% of the time. But if you love at least 60% of your job, you’re in a much better place than most people who are settling for just a paycheck.”
I try to live by my own advice.
And I’m sharing this advice with you today as well. For you, finding this 60% “sweet spot” may mean trying to find ways to be happier in your current job.
Realistic vs. Unrealistic Expectations
The key is to have realistic expectations.
I remember when I was working as a college career adviser. I had a student who was a sociology major who never took the advice on how to gain experience while still in college. However he did register for the career development course I was teaching, but then dropped it two weeks in.
Later, in his last semester on the verge of graduating with a sociology degree and no internship experience, he came to me and said the following (with a serious face):
“I’d like to get a job in advertising in Hawaii. I don’t expect to be making $125K my first year, but do expect to do so by my second year.”
(Feel free to stop and chuckle before reading further.)
I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling this student that even my magic wand has limits.
And trust me, if such a job existed for someone without any advertising experience whatsoever, I would be the first one to apply for it. I could totally live in Hawaii.
Needless to say, this student had unrealistic expectations.
What Do You Value Most?
There’s nothing wrong with having a dream to do work you love. But there is something wrong with expecting everything (including perfection) for nothing. You’ll be continually disappointed if you expect perfection.
Instead, you should expect there to be some things you’ll have to compromise on. You may have to work more hours if you want to make more money. Or you may have to give up some money to have more work/life balance.
You have to decide for yourself what you value most.
You can start by making a list of your “must have” items, a list of the things you’re willing to compromise on, and a list of “icing on the cake” items (things you’d love to have but don’t expect to have). Then be open to opportunities that fulfill at least 60% of your lists.
Need Some Help Discovering Your Dream Job?
Are you in search of your “dream job” but are mistaking it for “the perfect job”? Are your expectations realistic when it comes to finding your dream job?
Remember, there’s no such thing as the perfect job but there can be such a thing as a dream job if you earnestly seek it. The pursuit is a little easier when done with the help of a career coach.
- How to Know if You’re In the Wrong Job
- You Don’t Have to Be a Slave to a Paycheck
- How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave)
- How to Get Experience When You Can’t Get Hired Without It
- With Every Great Purpose Comes Passion…and Challenge
- How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable
- More blog posts on the topic of changing careers