Why You Need to Stop Believing in the Eternal Myth of the Dream Job
Throughout my childhood, people would always say that I could do anything I set my mind to. Be a singer, an actor, an astronaut—every kid’s dream.
Some people, true to their word, became these things. However, I let go of those dreams in my adulthood, and I started dreaming up a different career path for myself.
Even though it didn’t seem logical and I managed to leave childish dreams in my past, I still struggled with letting go of the idea of the “dream job.” Now, don’t get me wrong—there is nothing wrong with dreaming or having a career in something you are passionate about. However, there is something wrong with believing that once you start working, everything will be dreamy.
I always dreamed of becoming a writer: a professional, money-making writer. I had many jobs, but I always longed to do what I loved.
Until I finally did.
That’s when I realized that there is no such thing. Every job has its perks and its downfalls. My job certainly did. There were days when I actually hated waking up to having work. And I came to a few realizations.
We don’t know what will make us happy
Honestly, people can never predict what can make them happy. Just think about it: Buying a candy at the checkout or getting a haircut, for example, are some things we think will make us happy in the long run. But then, when it’s over, we regret our decision.
When I started working as a writer, I thought that I was going to be happy all the time, every day. It was my dream job, after all. But after a while, I realized that it was just like any other job. You have ups, you have downs. Some days, you just want to quit. While I still love writing, doing it as a job sometimes makes me all but happy.
There is no such thing as a “dream job”
Imagine this: You always wanted to be a designer. Finally, after years of hard work, you get that job. You believe that from that point on, your life will be easy. After all, that’s what you wanted, right?
But then, reality hits you. That is, you have to work 15 hours a day, be on the phone all the time, and deal with diva models and magazine editors who just won’t represent your collection, and so on. Not so dreamy, right?
The saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” doesn’t seem so true now, does it?
I read this quote on my happy days, and it seems plausible. And then I read it on my bad days, and it seems like a scam for the gullible.
For instance, I always thought that my writing career would be like one of those movie montages where I just happily type away on my keyboard in some quaint coffeeshop. But (and there is always a but), no one showed the poor writer dealing with clients, writing and rewriting pitches, advertising their services, or tweaking their website.
And that’s the truth of my life as a writer. While the writing part is fine, everything else makes you want to scream a little.
I admit it: The dream job doesn’t exist.
Passion for something is not enough to pay the bills
Just because you love something, it doesn’t mean it can pay the bills. And again, the movies tricked me. All it takes is passion and that’s it—you’ll be a billionaire in a few months.
But those were lies.
(Maybe I should start watching different movies?)
Passion certainly helps in getting you through the day, but it’s not enough. I had to put in hours and hours of work into cold pitching, writing, building my website, and so on, before I made any money. And even then, those were small amounts in the beginning.
The linear path is a myth
When I got my first writing gig, I thought that all my troubles were over. The only direction left to go was up.
After that first gig, it took me months to get another one. I was about to quit and go back to my old job. The same thing happened to me recently. And then I realized that there is no linear path in any job. Sometimes you do great. Sometimes, not so great. Bottom line: If you want it, you have to work hard for it…and even then, it might not work perfectly all the time.
So, I’m saying goodbye to my dream job. Instead, I’m embracing this crazy, imperfect, excruciatingly non-dreamy job.
And I must say, I love it.
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