I Don’t Have A Dream Job: Here's Why I’m Okay With That

Envision this: You’ve finally gotten through four years of college, pouring countless dollars and hours of time devoted to studying, scavenging for the perfect internships to build your packed resume, and finally, you’re here. This is everything you’ve worked for. This is exactly what you want to do for the rest of your days. This is the culmination of all your dreams, goals, ambitions and passions coming together. You have finally landed the job you’ve always wanted. What do you see?

Here’s what I see: Nothing.  Shridhar Gupta / Unsplash

If you’re one of the people who actually does have an image of yourself in this dream job, there’s nothing wrong with that. I genuinely hope you not only achieve that, but find that it brings you as much fulfillment as you always thought it would. On the flipside, I don’t think there's anything wrong if you cannot settle on a “dream job.” 

For too long, I have tied my life’s mission to finding my purpose, but only if it was a purpose that could bring me a stable income. At various points, I thought that purpose was being a professor, a leader of an NGO, a journalist, a screenwriter or an author. Now it's not to say that those aren’t great professions that could provide me with fruitful experiences, but to never have to work a day in my life? To feel as though that is exactly what I was destined to become?

The overwhelming question of “What do you want to do after college?” got tied into “What is going to make you happy?”, and I could never find anything that fit both criteria. It made me question quite literally everything I was doing, whether that be my major, extracurricular activities, what internships I was looking for, what classes I was taking and what kinds of papers I was writing, because I was worried that every step I took could be in the wrong direction to lead me further down a career path that wasn’t fulfilling. Nothing was clicking the way I was told it would, and not being able to find this "dream job" consumed me.

After lots of contemplation, I realized that the issue wasn’t with me, but rather, with tying my happiness to a job. The fun thing about jobs is that we live in a capitalist society that prioritizes production and money over people. Just to feel less miserable about having to make countless sacrifices of our health, our mental state, our ability to rest and invaluable time to spend with our loved ones in order to survive, we have collectively decided to romanticize these jobs that will overwork the majority of us for the rest of our lives.

Money, a calculator, and a notebook sit on a table. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

It’s not as devastating as it may sound. This isn’t to say that I’m this lazy, pessimistic person who has no hope in the world and no preference as to what I do. If I didn’t, I certainly would not be in college to open up opportunities to do things I personally wouldn’t hate doing for a living. I am extremely ambitious, hardworking and proud of the successes I have achieved thus far and all those I will achieve in the future. While academia has allowed me to partake in exploration of my new and existing interests, not everything I am doing brings me complete joy, which again, breaks down the idea that it is a dream. 

But that all settles perfectly well with me. The beauty of letting go of the idea of the dream job is that I can allow myself to conceptualize goals, my self worth and purpose of existing that don’t pertain to my monetary value to society. 

When I finally decided to let go of that anxiety of never finding a dream job because it does not exist, I could finally let myself feel at peace. Every move I made no longer had the weight of “What if you tried this instead?” or “Do you completely love what you’re doing?”. In the one life that I am granted on this earth, I don’t want to define it by my labor, but rather, what makes me happy in my everyday life.

valentines day conversation heart candy Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

I dream of healing to become a much more well-rounded person who can appreciate the beauty in this world every single day. I dream of strengthening the relationships I have with my friends, family and even those I have yet to meet, to become affectionate, supportive lights in each other’s lives. I dream of making art that comes from my soul and allows me to get in touch with my imagination. I dream of being a mother, bringing life into this world and nurturing it with all the support and love I have. 

But I don’t dream of labor, and that is valid.