Is the idea of a “dream job” dangerous?
I recently came across an article titled “The Danger of the Dream Job Delusion” that made the assertion that believing in “dream jobs” is not only a distraction, it’s downright dangerous.
The author states:
“The more you’re bombarded with messages promoting the dream job path to happiness, the more likely you are to ossify your view of the working world into normal, boring jobs vs. exciting dream jobs. Once you’ve made this division, you’re much less likely to start investing the hard, unsexy, longterm work into your current career needed to grow it into something deeply fulfilling. You’ll instead save this mental energy for your vague day dreams of starting a small town wine store or teaching surfing in Cabo.”
Here’s the thing – everyone’s idea of a dream job is different. I have a friend (Matt) who is obsessed with numbers and analytics. He majored in mathematical science and loves nothing more than being locked away in an office all day long, building financial models. While many people would not consider the idea of spending 8 hours of one-on-one time with their computer “dreamy”, Matt does and frankly, isn’t that all that matters?
Dream jobs do not have to be unrealistic, unattainable or based in fantasy. Some dream of being a fashion stylist to the stars and others dream of being pilots. I’ve coached people who dream of being professors, event planners, and even credit counselors! The point is that these are THEIR dreams.
What the author fails to mention is that there are scores of people who are honestly unfulfilled with their current positions for many reasons. They feel stuck in their jobs. They feel guilty about pursuing their dream jobs because they feel grateful for having a job (any job) in this economy. Their education led them to their current jobs. They are getting paid very well. The list goes on and on.
What’s dangerous about pursuing something that will leave you fulfilled? What’s wrong with living your passion? What’s delusional about actually looking forward to going to work every day? Have you ever heard of someone that “worked themselves to death”? Someone that continuously plowed away at a job that left them empty and with nothing left to give. I have. Who wants that future?
So again, I ask – You don’t have to LOVE your job, but shouldn’t you??