Redefining Your Dream Job

From a young age, the narrative of discovering your dream career is embedded into your conscious. Elementary schools have career days that urge children to think about their future jobs and high school curriculum is focused on taking the next steps towards a college education, where youth are expected to declare their majors right away. Not only is education centered around success in the labor sector, but dialogue from friends and family increases the pressure of knowing your path. “What do you want to do with your degree?” is a commonly asked question that forces young adults to define themselves early on in life. Although these efforts are well-intentioned, many young adults find themselves pressured to choose a career prematurely. Students will accept internships that they aren't wholeheartedly interested in for the sake of having experience on their resume and will remain in workplaces for extended amounts of time to portray commitment and loyalty. Although participating in the workforce is valued in today’s society, finding a job that aligns with your values and brings you pleasure is imperative to good mental health and wellbeing. Instead of perceiving your career status as something you need to define as soon as possible, finding jobs that fit your lifestyle and provide satisfaction could lead to a more productive labor force.

In an article published by Forbes in October of 2019, more than half of U.S. workers reported that they were unsatisfied with their job. Although there are several contributing factors, the pressure to decide on one path of success is definitely a large component. Many people struggle with feelings of guilt when leaving a job, feelings of unworthiness when they aren't successful, and feelings of hopelessness when looking for another form of employment. In college, most students attune to the narrative that your degree equals your job prospects. Most engineering students become engineers, but what do English majors become? The fact of the matter is that your degree does not equal your job prospects — so does a dream job really even exist? Does what you go to school for define what you will do for the rest of your life? No. In fact, most people end up branching into different sectors and become multifaceted individuals. The redefining of dream jobs within the education system and social dialect is crucial for future generations. 

Instead of looking for jobs that align with your degree, try looking for jobs that align with your values. Most people feel joyous when they're engaging in enjoyable activities. If you enjoy being creative, look for jobs that allow you to express this creativity freely. If you like assisting others, look for employment in the non-profit sector. If you value flexibility, look for a job that allows you to make schedule changes and take time off. There are plenty of innovative ways to approach the job market; if you orient your job search to your values and passions instead of limiting yourself to your degree, the opportunities naturally increase. Of course, looking for a job based on your degree is not inherently a bad thing, but I believe that a lot of people could find more pleasure in their jobs if they were not subscribing to the limiting beliefs of a "dream job."

The narrative of finding your dream job is outdated and constricting. Although many people may have one idea of success in their heads, there are others that struggle with defining our passions and feel immense pressure to establish our career path early on. If you're one of these people, try to remember that there is no individual pathway to success — rather, there are infinite ways to be prosperous. If you're unhappy at a current job, quit. If you're having trouble finding a job that fits your degree, try searching for jobs that align with your abstract values. It can be incredibly rewarding to find a workplace where you have the ability to embody authenticity and gratification. Don’t limit your opportunities because you feel pressured to become successful, but become successful by breaking subconscious belief systems and pushing yourself towards joy and fulfillment.