Since my struggle graduating from college, one particular anxiety continually creeps up on me: finding a career. My “dream job.” That perfect hole in the jigsaw puzzle where my piece fits in.
This incessant worry over a dream job isn’t necessarily new to post-grad life. I’ve always had troubles narrowing down and deciding what career path to take. My interests swirl around me in a whirlpool, and even if I managed to pick one up, I don’t hold it for long.
Can you relate? Well, have no fear because today we’re discussing how to pin down and hone in on an ideal dream job for you….or why you might not need one dream job at all.
just one way?
Here’s a cliche situation you’ve likely been in countless times: a teacher, parent, relative, anyone asking you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a fun, imaginative pursuit when we’re younger, but as we grow closer to college, in college, and afterwards, this question gets real. Scary. An impending doom if you don’t have a clear, solid answer.
That’s where I’m at. I have a long list of occupations and job titles that interest me, but there isn’t just one that intrigues me more than another. Sure, some seem to fit my lifestyle and personality better, but it’s overwhelming to think that this one decision I make could shape the entire direction my life goes. So yeah, no pressure…
Luckily, these anxieties are exaggerated from today’s reality and labor trends. The average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during their career. While exact numbers of career changes are sketchy (the usual “average” being six to seven), it’s never too late to broaden your horizons and try something new.
You are capable of whatever you put your mind to. Just because you start in one field doesn’t mean you can’t completely do a 180 and try something else. Most employers aren’t even looking at the specific degree you have: as long as you graduated college, the world is your oyster.
It might feel like you’re directionless right now, but in the grander scheme of things, you’re on a specific path and purpose beyond your current understanding. It’s meant to happen. You’ll find your way.
Your dream job is out there. It’s wild how many different opportunities there are that you might not even realize. Have you ever heard of a panda nanny? A Netflix tagger? A fortune cookie writer? Yes, they’re real.
Take a stab at simply researching all the jobs available, and you’re bound to find something that’ll wow you, or at least make you ponder. We often place ourselves in confined boxes of what we see other people doing, or what others want us doing, or what we’ve always known to do. However, this doesn’t necessarily correlate to your passions or desires.
Don’t forget that entrepreneurship and free-lancing are also reasonable options for you. If you have a dream of working for yourself or starting your business, why not do it? Learn about building a business and what free-lance work is available and dive in.
Personally, I want to do many things throughout my life, but my goal is to work for myself through writing, publishing, and sharing creative content. I’ve never been someone driven by pay rates and salaries, which might be naive, but I’ve always assumed that no matter what, I could make money.
Because it’s simple to make money, and much more complicated to make a living. I don’t want to dread going to work every day. I don’t want to sit in a cubicle from 9-5 every weekday. I don’t want to come home every day completely drained from simply “getting by.”
Sure, sometimes we have to be in positions that we don’t care for, but that shouldn’t be our normal, our long-term situation. We deserve more than that.
how to get there.
If you haven’t already, start considering what your short-term and long-term goals are. Do you want to go into a certain career field? Do you want to travel the world? Do you want to raise a family? Whatever it is, write it down.
Is there already a dream job you envision for yourself, but you don’t know how to get there? Do some research. Find others who have taken a similar path and reach out to them. We have innumerable resources and technologies available to us, so utilize them. Do some soul-searching within yourself and be honest with what you could see yourself doing as a hobby, and what could potentially turn into a “dream job.”
Others might stifle us, good intentions or not, from going all-in on what we really want. This is generally true for creative pursuits or really anything that doesn’t seem “realistic” or “stable.” Respect their views and hear them out, but know that you are the one who’ll be venturing and living out these aspirations. You don’t have to settle, nor should you.
Accept failure. That’s what allows us to learn and grow. Rather than dwelling on disappointment and self-pity, take that failure in stride. It’s easier said than done (trust me, I’ve been there), but see what led to that failure and the outcome it presents, and then see what good can come from it. What seems like your worst nightmare could eventually become your greatest blessing.
Be flexible, especially if you’re the planning type. Rarely do things pan out as we expect them to. What we want now might completely change, and that’s okay. Embrace not always knowing every detail. That’s beauty (and inevitable) frustration of life, but rest assured that everything will work out as it should.
A job is about making money, and there usually isn’t much passion behind it.
A career, on the other hand, is making a living by living. You’re doing what you love. You’re waking up in the morning motivated and content with where your energy is going.
Society expects us to follow the traditional path of graduating college, landing an entry-level job right out of the gate, and starting a family. All wrapped up in a neat package. Some people do these things, yes, but many others don’t; they don’t have that distinct path laid out for them, providing certainty of what to do next.
Regardless of your age, it’s okay to not know what you’re doing, or know what you want, or want to change everything and forge a new path. It’s never too late. It’s never impossible.
Have you ever struggled figuring out your “dream job”? What have you learned on your personal journey thus far?
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie