Dream Jobs In The USA
You've been told you can achieve anything you set your mind to, right? That's the message that's been ingrained in us since childhood when we imagined becoming astronauts, athletes and movie stars. Most of us come to realize that we can't all be LeBron James or Taylor Swift—and that we don't want to be, anyway! As we get older, we typically outgrow these fantasies of youth and begin mapping out a career that's aligned with our personal goals and values.
Yet, in spite of this seemingly straightforward and logical process, many people still have a number of misconceptions about what a “dream job” actually entails. Career platitudes that we've absorb over time may not only be misleading, they can also be downright damaging.
Let me be clear: There's nothing wrong with aspiring to do something you love. After all, everyone wants a career that is both fulfilling and that pays the bills. The problem is that having an idealized view of what constitutes this perfect job can actually wind up leading you away from work you love instead of toward it. When your expectations don't match reality, you can wind up plateauing, wondering what to do next and where to go.
The key to finding your dream role is being able to distinguish the achievable from the fairy tale, and recognizing what it means to be fulfilled from a practical — not just passionate — standpoint. By becoming aware of the myths surrounding the ultimate fantasy job, you can make sure you don't pass up worthwhile work in a hopeless pursuit of an elusive ideal.
It's a tough pill to swallow, but passion alone doesn't pay the bills—at least not for most of us. Just because you care about something doesn't mean you can earn a living from it. In order for any venture to be successful, the market has to have a willingness and ability to pay for what you're offering. For example, you may love working with college students on resume prep, but students are typically cash strapped, and universities often offer free career development support in response to this.
That doesn't mean, however, that you should give up on doing what brings you excitement. Instead of diving head first into anything new, take small steps toward establishing yourself. Focus on your side projects and work on getting them to a place where you can survive on them alone.
It's a strategy author Jeff Goins calls “building a bridge” in his book The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do. Rushing things along won't pay off in the long run. Considering the case above, you could start helping college students by volunteering in the career services department or providing free advice on your blog. Over time, you can assess your success and determine when and how to monetize your endeavors.
There is no such thing as a model career. No job has zero downsides, and it's unrealistic to expect perfection from a particular role, employer, or yourself. There will always be tradeoffs and compromises you'll need to make in any position no matter how great the organization is or how awesome your boss is, and that's OK; knowing this ahead of time can help you make smart decisions that get you closer to the job you want.
The trick is to be clear with yourself about what your values and priorities are. Having a solid grasp of this will likely make the unsavory parts of your job more tolerable. Often, you have to be willing to put up with a lot in order to follow your passion. You're the only one who can decide whether it's worth the compromise.
I work with people who desire to be entrepreneurs, and while running your own business is a worthy goal, I remind them that there will still be elements they don't 100% enjoy. You might love sales and working with customers and hate managing a budget, but until you grow and scale the company, you're going to be responsible for tasks that bring you joy and others that don’t.
Many people make a short-sighted decision to work in a position that isn't up their alley, believing if they just work hard enough, it’ll lead them to future success. The employee who victoriously rises from the mailroom to the C-Suite is a Cinderella story that fuels this dream-job myth.
And, it’s a pattern I frequently see with well-intentioned clients, who often fail to research whether there's an explicit connection between the job they take and the one they want. Even if they discover that a path does exist, they don't approach getting into their dream role in a proactive and effective way. They rely on working harder and longer hours, praying their boss will notice and reward them with a promotion that will suddenly make everything better.
To side-step this trap, seek out mentors and see how you can model their career trajectory. Conducting informational interviews can give you peace of mind that you're heading in the right direction and ensure that once you do get promoted, you'll be as content as you expect (which sure beats investing years in a dead-end job). Be clear with your employer about your expectations during the hiring process and throughout your tenure. Make your career goals known, and work together with your supervisor to establish defined objectives and milestones that put you in line for promotions that’ll have you doing work that drives you.
Your dream job isn't an exact destination; rather, it's constantly evolving. The ideal career when you're in your 20s may be a poor work-life fit by the time you turn 35. It's OK to change your mind and then change it again, but avoid constantly striving for some elusive professional fantasy. Instead of getting caught up in false truths about what defines a perfect job, keep your options open, and embrace the many opportunities that you encounter on along the way.
What is actually considered a crime now? The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer, building his house and laying in supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and he laughs, dances and plays away the summer. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ants should be allowed to be warm and well-fed while others are cold and starving.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission drafts the `Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act,' retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ants are fined for failing to have an affirmative-action program for green bugs and, having nothing left with which to pay retroactive taxes, the ant city is confiscated by the government.
Intent on cutting costs, businesses outsource a lot of functions - employee compensation and benefits, accounting, customer complaints - to those countries in which they can achieve the same results with much lower cost. Those are the facts, and they have nothing to do with greed, and everything to do with discovering how to serve the customer cheaper and better.
In 2004, the cost of regulation is approaching $1 trillion. To understand this gigantic cost of regulations, we need only to take a look at the Federal Registry, a book which lists all the federal laws and regulations. In 1950, it consisted of 9,500 pages; in 1970 it grew to 20,000 pages; in 1990 it went up to 50,000; and finally, in 2003 it contained a stunning 75,000 pages.
Regulations incur several different types of costs: the cost of creating the regulations (a political process in the case of laws, and an administrative process in the case of regulations), the cost of publishing the books that contain them (hundreds of thousands of copies so that we all may be able to access it, since ignoratio iuris non nocet [in English, "the ignorance of the law is no excuse"]), and finally, in enforcing the laws and regulations (thousands of government agencies employ hundreds of thousands of people whose jobs consist of seeing to it that we live by those regulations).
And let's not forget the costs incurred by firms in complying with regulations: hiring lawyers that can read and make sense of the regulations and explaining them to those in charge, the labor costs of filling out thousands of forms and ensuring that forms are filed in proper ways with appropriate agencies, etc. And, of course, in addition to the federal regulations, businesses are also subject to state and municipal regulations, which add significantly to the total cost of regulations.
American workers must realize that government interventions cannot help. In a globalized economy, the government's "help" will only produce a ticking time-bomb. The American politicians and workers can continue to blame "free trade" and "greed" and whatever else they wish for their predicament, but the real culprit for the loss of jobs in America is still the government, its short-term-oriented economic policies, and its complete lack of economic understanding, has not led to dream jobs in the USA.
We are always rolling the idea of a "dream job" around in our heads. Whether you're sagging your head on a slow workday or sweating bullets during a hectic one, thoughts of your perfect job will cross your mind. What is a "dream job" anyway? It's different for everyone, but it usually comes to us as an ever-changing counterpoint to our current job. If you're bored by your current job, you dream of an active, fulfilling one. If you're overloaded with work, you dream of a slower, simpler workday. If you have no autonomy at your current job, you dream of being an entrepreneur empowered with control over your own destiny.
But, despite all of these passing, changing thoughts, few of us have paused and allowed our dream job the consideration it deserves. Ask yourself: Have you given any real thought or definition to your dream job? Would you recognize it if you saw it? Would you be ready to pursue it if it appeared? If you struggle with any of the answers, perhaps you should stop, sit down, and give the matter your full attention.
First, be honest with yourself. Don't just regurgitate some generic version of an ideal job to yourself. Those clichéd versions of dream jobs are certainly not for everyone: Would you be ready for the punishing daily workouts and strict diet of a pro athlete? Would you enjoy getting up at 3:30 am seven days a week as a news anchor? Would you really want to be a rock star if you have stage fright? Probably not. So, instead of grabbing a shrink-wrapped "dream job" off the shelf or cobbling disjointed fragments like "high pay" and "lots of travel" together, think it all the way through.
Second, Don't let short-term events have too much of an influence on your version of "the perfect job." The question is not "how could your week be better?," it's "how could your career be better." If this week was stressful, it doesn't mean that your "dream job" is being a yoga instructor. If you struggled with some unbearable clients and coworkers recently, it doesn't mean that your ideal job is void of all interpersonal contact. You'll need a long-term perspective to envision your true dream job.
Many quickly conclude that they want to be an executive of some sort. They see all of the perks of the executive level, but they never see the hardship or risk involved in such a position. While you may want some more autonomy at your job, an executive might want less at his. An executive will never admit it, but they may be envious of those in the company who have clear, distinct duties and a supervisor to make all of the difficult decisions. I'm sure you want the big office and the expense account, but do you want the rest of it as well?
Many of us look around our current workplace and see a lot of room for improvement. We think: "This could be better. I would do things differently." This naturally leads to visions of starting a similar business that runs flawlessly, complete with brilliant, happy employees, healthy profits and great prospects on the horizon. If you are going to take the plunge, it's certainly a good vision to strive for. But, are you ready for the hurdles and headaches along the way?
Starting a business can be seriously stressful. You have to put your whole livelihood (and your pride) on the line. If you fail as an employee, being fired is basically the worst-case scenario. But, if a business owner fails, they're usually deep in debt, jobless, demoralized and reeling from the aftermath. Starting your own business is a noble pursuit, but you have to pursue it wholeheartedly. Is it truly your "dream job"?
At particularly stressful positions, the "dream job" becomes no job at all. If your workload is ballooning out of control and your duties barely fit into daylight hours, you might crave large amounts of downtime. This need for personal time can affect your idea of a "dream job" for obvious reasons; your ideal scenario is a blank schedule. The question is, is your dream job truly "nothing"?
A few days, or even a few weeks of "nothing" is almost always welcome. But, in larger doses it can be worse than your all-too-busy job. Gallup polls show that busy workers are generally more satisfied than bored ones. Boredom is also used as a punishment in prison. Are you sure you want a long, sustained period of "nothing to do"? Give it some real thought before you settle on "nothing" as your dream job.
Dream jobs don't always miraculously appear, but you've got to be able to recognize yours if it does. Defining your dream job may yield a new understanding of your long-term plans and your career path. After all, it's hard to know if you're "going in the right direction" if you haven't picked out a point on the horizon.
|Questions? Anything Not Work? Not Look Right? My Policy Is To Blame The Computer.|
|Oneliners, Stories, etc. | About Just For The Fun Of It | Site Navigation | Parting Shots | Google Search|
|My Other Sites: Cruisin' - A Little Drag Racin', Nostalgia And My Favorite Rides | The Eerie Side Of Things | It's An Enigma | That"s Entertainment | Just For The Fun Of It | Gender Wars | Golf And Other Non-Contact Sports | JCS Group, Inc., A little business... A little fun... | John Wayne: American, The Movies And The Old West | Something About Everything Military | The Spell Of The West | Once Upon A Time | By The People, For The People | Something About Everything Racin' | Baseball and Other Contact Sports | The St. Louis Blues At The Arena | What? Strange? Peculiar? Maybe.|