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Should You Chase a ‘Dream Job’ To Feel Like a Success?

Should You Chase a ‘Dream Job’ To Feel Like a Success?

Almost everybody has an idea of their ‘dream job’ or what success should be like.

For a lot of people, becoming a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg is their standard for success. For others, a ‘dream job’ includes unlimited paid vacation, while you close deals at the Bahamas. Think: Richard Branson of Virgin Group. Right now, you probably feel like you’re not living your passions. You may even feel like quitting your job to chase after a dream career.

But what if you knew that ALL of us can, in fact, have our dream jobs AND feel like a success?

The answer isn’t winning the lottery or becoming a freelancer. It’s actually simpler – and less sexy – than that.

Success by the Numbers

You don’t need to search the deep Web to find ‘success stories’ about people who quit their jobs to chase after their dreams. These tales occupy every blog and news site nowadays. You’ll read about dreary work environments, not fulfilling inner passions, and then finally being set free from these troubles with a letter of resignation.

It’s all good. After all, dreams shouldn’t die just because you’ve become an adult. But if there’s one thing these stories don’t tell is WHAT you do afterward.

You’re not an awful person for wanting to be successful like Bill Gates, or to wish for a career like Tim Cook’s. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY you want these things? If you suddenly become Apple’s CEO, what can you bring to the table?

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chase-after-success-suit-tie

    Some people believe that successful businesses and personalities attained their status overnight. But even Facebook, during their first year, encountered financial troubles. If we truly dissect the path of successful brands and personalities, we’ll see striking similarities in their journeys:

    • Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, but didn’t strike a major deal with IBM until six years later
    • Amazon broke the online shopping bubble seven years after it was founded in 1994
    • Apple didn’t take off until the launch of Macintosh eight years later
    • The famous Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, started selling his chicken as early as 1930, but didn’t earn him recognition until after six years
    • Google beat other search engines for supremacy eight years after it was founded

    Numbers don’t lie: real success takes time.

    Just because you’re Bill Gates doesn’t guarantee that your life will be smooth sailing. Opening an online retailing business is no assurance that you’ll be financially free. And joining the restaurant bandwagon won’t immediately land you 200 franchises around the world.

    The Problem with ‘Dream Jobs’

    In a survey by National Society of High School Scholars, it’s no surprise that millennial participants cited Google, Apple, Starbucks, and Walt Disney as the top companies they’d want to work for. Not only do these businesses boast great company culture, they also offer social responsibility programs.

    To a generation that grew up during the recession, working in an environment that provides purpose, great pay, and flexible scheduling is a dream job.

    But what if you don’t have the necessary skills for the openings they have? Will securing a position at any of these companies really make you happy?

    What if it doesn’t?

    Licensed therapist and Professor of Human Behavior at The City University of New York, Melody Wilding, LMSW, suggests keeping it real when it comes to your ‘dream job’.

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    ‘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.’

    Assuming you’ll instantly be a success or that you’ll be absolutely happy once you work at your ‘dream job’ is a myth. Like in other occupations, there are good and bad days. One of the main reasons people who acquire their dream careers incur big regrets is because they didn’t align it with their skills. How could you be happy in a job you’re not good at?

    chase-after-success-zenith

      Take it from author, speaker, and consultant Simon Sinek. A ‘dream job’ is not exactly a high-paying career or that sleek office with a view of Manhattan. If you keep chasing a ‘dream job’ in the hopes that you’ll be happier or successful, then you might end up on the wrong path.

      ‘And so living your dream job has nothing to do with the specifics of the job. It has to do with the fulfillment that you get from that job.’

      If you’re a writer today but your dream is to become a nurse so you could help others, who says you’re not doing the same thing now? By being a writer, you’re helping to give readers a new perspective. Who knows how many souls your pen has already inspired?

      In Pursuit of Success: What To Do Instead

      Chasing dreams is not bad. But keep an open mind and try not to jump in with both feet in the water.

      If you believe you have what it takes to bag a job at Walt Disney or Google, go for it! However, do it because you know you possess the skills the job will need. Chasing a ‘dream job’ because you want to escape the challenges of your current career is NOT the way to go.

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      Pursue success with both eyes open by:

      1. Identifying what you’re good at.

      Say you want to break into the healthcare industry, but your current experience doesn’t match anything in that sector. But you really, really want to take care of people. First off: be honest with yourself and identify your transferable skills.

      It’s possible to get the job you want even without experience – but you need to at least have the capability. Are you patient towards others? Can you practice grace under pressure? Are you up-to-date with the latest healthcare trends?

      If you’re having trouble, enlist the help of an objective friend or family member to help you. You can also consult a professional career adviser. Looking for online resources? Try the interactive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) toolkit from Jobs.ac.uk.

      2. Putting in the required hours.

      Now that you know what you’re good at, it’s time to sharpen those skills. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos didn’t become successful by just being good. By working long hours, learning from their mistakes, and observing trends, they became great.

      Excellence, after all, is a habit. Something that you repeatedly over long a long period of time that it’s become automatic to you. Consider the example above. Once you’ve established that you have the skills needed to become a nurse, the next logical step is to learn what you can.

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      This may require you to go back to school. Or maybe you need to take a few courses along with your day job. What matters is that you put in the hours needed so you don’t jump into your dream empty-handed.

      3. Steering slowly in the direction you want.

      Finally, don’t chase dreams head on. This is especially true for people with dependents. If you quickly leave your job or jump into entrepreneurship without a plan, you might end up hurting your loved ones more than yourself. Instead, bide your time but steer slowly towards your goals.

      So if you want to enter the healthcare industry, for instance, try a few volunteer opportunities first. For people looking to enter the business sector, look for apprenticeship from companies in the industry you’re targeting.

      Doing so will help you get a feel of what it’s like working at your ‘dream job’. From there, you can assess whether or not it’s a right fit for you.

      chase-after-success-sun-city

        Nabbing your ‘dream job’ is just the beginning. Like the success stories of Oprah, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, you need hard work, failure, and time. You don’t want to become a one-hit wonder. You deserve more than that.

        Go after success that lasts a lifetime. Success that you can give to your loved ones and to your community long after the chase is over.

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        Cris Antonio

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        Published on September 16, 2020

        12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

        12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

        Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

        Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

        Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

        Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

        Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

        Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

        1. Organization

        When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

        When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

        Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

        To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

        To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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        2. Flexibility

        You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

        Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

        For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

        To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

        To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

        3. Collaboration

        As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

        Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

        To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

        To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

        4. Poise

        Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

        When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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        What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

        To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

        To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

        5. Communication

        Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

        When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

        To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

        To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

        6. Good Computer Hygiene

        Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

        Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

        To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

        To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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        7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

        Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

        Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

        To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

        To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

        8. Respecting Feedback

        In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

        Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

        To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

        To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

        9. Project Management

        Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

        To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

        To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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        10. Staying up to Speed

        Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

        To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

        To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

        11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

        “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

        To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

        To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

        12. Teamwork

        Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

        Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

        To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

        To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

        Final Thoughts

        Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

        More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

        Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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