Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dream Jobs and What They're Worth...

Recently a facebook friend posted a link to this article. For those who don't want to take the time to read it, here's a quick summary:

Random dude writes to famous dude and says "Hey, I am trying to figure out what my dream job is, here are all the things I want - list of contradictory needs and wants- got any idea how I can make that happen?" Famous dude writes back, "Nope. You need a job, not a dream job, so try actually working first. What you do for work doesn't matter; people create and destroy their own happiness."

I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that people create their own happiness, and that you are responsible for how you perceive your current condition. I also agree that this guy isn't really looking for his dream job, he's just making excuses for why he can't find it. But, having given a lot of thought to dream jobs in the past year, I think I would have provided him with a slightly different response.

I think what you do every day to make a living does matter. I think that it matters a lot when you have a passion.

That last part is really important. You have to have a passion for it to matter whether or not your pursue that passion. If you don't have a dream, how can you have a dream job?

Do you, as a person, have to have a passion? Do you have to have a dream? I'm not sure. I cannot speak for all of humanity. But if you DO have a dream, then I think it's incredibly important to follow it. It may not impact your career necessarily. Dreams can be very different. My dreams are not your dreams and your dreams are not anyone else's dreams. Some dreams overlap. Some dreams are neighbors. Some dreams exist in separate solar systems.

But in order to have a dream job, you have to have a dream, and that dream has to drive the way you intend to make money. Otherwise, you can just have a job, and you can make your dreams come true outside of your job and still be perfectly happy.

I believe somewhere out there, there is probably a 9-5 office worker who is truly happy, not necessarily because they love their office job, but because they have chosen to be positive about it and because it lets them pursue their other dreams: fly fishing on the weekends, breeding siamese cats, performing beat poetry in New York cafes on Friday nights, or what have you.

Not all dreams need to drive your source of income. Some of them do.

I want to spend the majority of my time writing stories and getting them into the hands of people who enjoy them. That is my dream. In order to make that dream come true, I really need to devote all of my working hours to writing. I have other smaller dreams and I would like to be able to pursue them in my free time. In order to do that I can't be writing in all of my free time. I need balance in my life between playing outside, playing music, creating things and writing. To have that I need to write full time. It is my dream job.

On the other hand, I have been quite happy as a teacher for the last 10 years. I've been writing in my free time and doing a job that I find fulfilling, working with great colleagues and great students, and enjoying all of the benefits that kind of life has to offer.

But now it is time for me to pursue writing with a more single minded focus. Come June I will make writing my first priority, and I will never again feel guilty for writing instead of ______ (fill in other work or housework related item here).

Dream jobs do matter, but only if your dreams matter to your job. People do create and destroy their own happiness, but we also create pathways to our dreams. You can be happy doing just about anything if you choose to be, but if the dream is important enough to you, you need to pursue it. If you have a passion you should feed it.

And if you don't... Well, that's fine too.

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