Growing up we all dreamed of successful careers as movie stars, novelists, professional athletes, fashion designers, or becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg and inventing a billion dollar social media platform.
However, the reality in adulthood often doesn’t even come close to those childhood aspirations. The next ‘Brad Pitt’ ends up running his own plumbing business; the next ‘J.K Rowling’ ends up managing a fashion retail store; and the next ‘Harry Kewell’ ends up working for Telstra installing phone lines for a living. All of these people may well be very satisfied with their careers, or as most of us do, change careers several times before we retire at some time in the future. This raises a very important question that I’m sure everyone has wrestled with at some stage in their lives…
“Should we aim for our dream jobs and risk the disappointment of never making it, or lower our sights a little and pursue a career we’ll enjoy that is far more attainable?”
Yes – Dreaming and achieving is what life is all about
What would life be like without thinking big, having aspirations and being ambitious? Going through the motions can be soul destroying for most of us. What happens in retirement when reflecting on your life and you realise you’ve coasted your way through without really giving your dreams a chance?
There is a good argument to suggest it’s actually easier to get your dream job than any other. If you already know what you’re passions are, then it’s much easier to identify and target which people and businesses will give you the best chances of success. By having genuine passion and enthusiasm you’ll stand out from the crowd and be far more attractive to prospective employers than someone simply applying for a job.
If we realise all jobs are never totally free from frustrations and issues and we don’t put to much pressure on ourselves that our dream career MUST be our ONLY career, then the pursuit can be very enjoyable. Whenever anyone mentions the term ‘dream job’, we automatically think of something high profile, or pays incredible amounts of money. This doesn’t actually have to be the case and in many instances it isn’t. Some people want to be an investigative journalist for a huge media outlet, or run and own their own small business from home, or build websites and Smartphone applications for a tech company. These careers and many more like them are competitive, because many people want the same things, but they certainly aren’t unattainable. Whatever your dreams are, don’t give up because it might be a bit hard. Make sure you give them a realistic chance of success because you never know unless try.
No – Aim for career satisfaction and you’re more to likely get it
How many times have you come across those memes on Facebook telling you that if you want something bad enough, work at it hard enough and wait for it long enough, eventually you’ll get everything you’ve ever dreamed of? What about the theory that if you send out positive thoughts into the universe, you’ll be rewarded with your dreams becoming reality (anyone read ‘The Secret’)? We see people realise their dreams all the time, with traditional and digital media awash with examples of people achieving extraordinary accomplishments. Who hasn’t thought to themselves that if they apply themselves the same way, then that could be them to one day?
The reality is many psychology experts believe it’s healthy to give up on your dreams and focus more on what you can achieve now with the skills you have. The obsession with the thought that achieving a lifelong goal will make you happy can result in people not enjoying the journey. Often what we think our dreams are and the reality when we achieve those goals, are two very different things. The British Medical Journal has stated that much of life’s pain comes from the pursuit of unrealistic dreams and the reality of not achieving them, or realising it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. What happens if you never reach your goal? Could you be passing up fantastic opportunities along the way?
Now it’s your turn to decide
The reality is there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to give up the security of your current job to pursue your passion and turn it into a career. Maybe you’re job isn’t so bad after all and it just needs a tweak with some additional training? Or maybe you hate it and have to get out as soon as possible? Only you can work out what decision is best for you in your current circumstances.
To do that, you need to think clearly and objectively about where you are now, and where you want to go. You need to do a lot of planning and research, and realise the impact such decisions will have on your family. There are many things to consider such as how long it will take to get qualified, financial implications such as course fees and changes in salary, and where you’re new career will take you in the medium to long term. A good idea is to objectively discuss your ideas with someone who you trust to give you an honest opinion, and not just someone who will either instantly crush your dreams, or encourage you to give up everything to be the lead singer of the world’s next big rock band without really thinking about it. If you’ve decided a career change is for you, make sure you read The Complete Guide to Changing Careers.
We spend much of our adult life at work, so it seems reasonable to pursue a job that is fulfilling and meaningful. The question is, will you find what you’re looking for in your dream job, or will life be more enjoyable in a satisfying job? There are many courses available across a wide range of employment industries for you to consider. Take a look through them with an open mind, and you might be surprised how easy it is to discover the career that will give you the most happiness.