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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

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

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        Last Updated on January 13, 2020

        Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

        Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

        Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

        Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

        Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

        Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

        How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

        The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

        You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

        Physical Signs

        Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

        It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

        In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

        Mental Signs

        One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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        I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

        Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

        • The tension in your neck
        • Difficulties with sleeping
        • Unable to concentrate
        • High anxiety
        • Depression

        If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

        Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

        Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

        The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

        Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

        Desire for an Increase of Salary

        The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

        At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

        Overnight Decision

        Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

        Rejected for a Promotion

        I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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        Bored at Work

        Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

        A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

        • How long have you worked in your career?
        • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
        • Do you receive recognition?
        • Can you consider working in a new department?

        If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

        How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

        I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

        One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

        It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

        A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

        You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

        • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
        • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
        • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

        How to Make a Career Change Successfully

        The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

        1. Write a Career Plan

        A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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        You can learn how to set your career plan here.

        2. Weigh Your Options

        If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

        You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

        3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

        It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

        A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

        • Economic factors
        • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
        • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
        • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
        • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

          A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

          4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

          A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

          • What is required to be successful in the role?
          • What certification or educational development is needed?
          • What are the challenges of the role?
          • Is there potential for career advancement?

          A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

          Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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          5. Research Salary

          Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

          It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

          6. Be Realistic

          If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

          For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

          Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

          7. Volunteer First

          A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

          Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

          Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

          8. Prepare Your Career Tools

          I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

          • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
          • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
          • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
          • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

          Bottom Line

          It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

          Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

          More About Career Change

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

          [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
          [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
          [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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