We all want to lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Nothing is promised, so making the most of the short time we have on this mortal coil makes perfect sense. But for some reason, we have attached so much of that happiness to what we do for a living, and have made life a constant strive towards that ‘perfect’ situation known as the ‘dream job’.
But what if you never land what you consider to be your ‘dream job’? Is it possible to still be happy? Of course it is. But we must first tackle the culture that dictates life without said ‘dream job’, is a waste of our time.
“So…. What do you do?”
Small question. HUGE pressure.
I hate this question, especially when it’s straight off the bat from someone I’ve met 5 minutes previously. I hate it because I know exactly why it is being asked. People generally ask it to size you up. We’re told that our ‘networks are our net worth’, and sometimes attach said ‘worth’ to job titles. So in 10 seconds or less, the answer to the question will have determined our worth or how interesting we are to whoever has asked it. Sad, but true.
Someone that has landed their dream job will answer the question in a completely different way to someone that hasn’t. The enthusiasm and passion that comes from talking about something you love is infectious, and keeps people interested even if they don’t know much about the field itself. If you are in a less than ideal situation, you might downplay what you do, or answer the question in a way that suggests you would rather not go into detail. You don’t consider what you do to be important.
But here’s the the thing. If what you did for a living wasn’t important, if it had no purpose, it wouldn’t be a job. Think about how what YOU do helps others to do what they do, and what wouldn’t be able to happen if you were not there. Doing a job well is something to be proud of, whether it’s your so-called ‘dream’ set up or not. So the next time you answer that dreaded question, answer it with pride. If the person you are talking to shows signs of being uninterested, based solely on your response, that person is a superficial dickhead.
Monday mornings on social media are the best. Many are devastated about the fact that the weekend is over, and that they must commute once again to the place they like the least. But every now and again, amongst the usual angst, will be those who seem to be having the time of their lives – #DREAMJOB. Although these people are in the minority, it’s understandable to look on with envy as they post pictures and use every happy emoji under the sun to exclaim just how in love they are with their situation. But even a dream job will have an occasional ‘off’ day, because nothing is perfect. Our ‘fear of missing out’ can sometimes act as blinkers. We become so focussed on that greener grass on the other side, we forget that ours too could be green, if only we watered it more. Which leads on to….
Finding the silver lining
So your job isn’t exactly what you want to do, but can you identify anything good about it? What are your colleagues like? Do you consider any of them to be genuine friends? What have you learned so far? Could you possibly gain any further skills? Could said skills help you in any way should your ‘dream job’ crop up? As appealing as a dream job can seem, there is much to be said for being in situations that we don’t particularly like. Struggle helps us to grow, and growth, no matter how small, is always a good thing. Think about where you were when you started the job, and where you are today. If you can identify how it has changed you for the better, even if it hurts you to admit it (because pride might make admitting it sting a bit!) be thankful for that.
There is more to life than work
As cliché as this sounds, it is always worth remembering. Sure, we spend a lot of time at work, but it’s not ALL your life has to offer. Fill the time outside of work with the things you really love. Even if it’s just for an hour a day, that flutter of excitement that you feel will always be worthwhile. Finding time to feed your passion is important. Not everyone can turn their passion into a pay cheque, but the things you love will be the fuel that get you through the times you’re not truly enjoying.
Hate is a strong word….
But if it’s the word you’re using, there’s a problem. If you find every single minute of your job soul destroying, it’s time for a change. This isn’t one of those unrealistic “Hate your job? Quit!” type suggestions, because those are ridiculous, not to mention reckless. Making a move takes careful planning, and sometimes more time than is ideal. But time spent working towards a more positive direction is time well spent.
Don’t stop believing!
This is not about settling. It is about giving yourself a break and not expecting all your happiness to be tied up in your job alone. But don’t abandon your passions. Find ways to incorporate them wherever you can and appreciate every second that you are able to do so.
You are so much more than the job you do. Your job description is not a description of self. So when you’re not quite where you want to be, identify opportunities to grow. By not being in your dream job, you’re actually in the majority. But there’s no reason why you can’t still be happy. The world is filled with people who do extraordinary things outside of the time they do what some might consider to be ‘ordinary’ or even ‘boring’ jobs. Don’t allow your job to be the definition or the bar that dictates how amazing you can be.
And if you do end up landing your dream job, CONGRATS!
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