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you have a job that you dream of doing but just know it’s impossible?
Many of my clients talk to me about their dream job as if it were a far
distant fantasy, an unattainable castle in the air. I understand. It can
feel that way when you’re in a profession, climbing the career ladder
or even freewheeling, stuck in a rut or at a dead-end. You’re not 100%
happy but the dream is just a dream.
Here is what my dream job client will normally say: “Well, my dream job would be ….. [fill in the blank with something far removed from current role] but that’s impossible because I can’t afford the pay cut / I’d have to
retrain / I don’t have any transferable skills / I’m too old / etc…”
these clients are quick to dismiss the possibility, when I ask them how
they would feel if they had their dream job, they tell me things like
“light-hearted”, “fulfilled”, “happy”, “energised” and similarly
When I ask them if they’ve ever done anything to explore the possibility, they start listing the buts again.
blog is one of two that will explore how we can use our pipe dream to
either work towards making it a reality (this blog) or use it to inform
us what tweaks and pivots we could make to our current career that will
bring us closer to “working the dream” (next week).
My first challenge to those of you with a pipe dream career is to examine your buts (one T!).
… but I can’t afford to take the pay cut
is by far the most common but. Of course we all need to feed ourselves
and our families. I’m not disputing that and I’m afraid that some dream
jobs will be impossible due to finances (don’t worry, I have a solution
for you in next week’s blog). However, with further questioning I
commonly find that the financial implications have not even been
Do you know how much of a pay cut this change would
entail? How much do you need to live on? Have you spoken to your spouse
or partner about any financial tweaks they would be willing to make to
help you pursue your dream? The answers to these questions are usually
“no” or “I don’t know”.
My husband’s job was made redundant when
he was 40. Whilst looking at what he would do next, he found an
undergraduate degree which was his dream field of study (film and
creative writing). Although mine was the larger salary of the two, it
was daunting to think that we would go down to just one salary. But this
was his dream. We looked at our finances and decided that, as I was in a
secure job that I enjoyed, we would cut back on eating out and overseas
holidays and off he went to Portsmouth University. He still describes
those three years as his most enjoyable ever. He went on to do a Masters
at Kings College and has recently been offered his dream job at our
local independent arts cinema (something he’s dreamed of doing since he
was a boy). Our sacrifices felt easy compared to how much fulfilment he
Do the equation: how would you feel if you were doing
your dream job versus how much belt-tightening would you need to
do. What’s the answer?
Let go of magic wand thinking
other thing that makes us dismiss pursuing our dream job is that most
of these transitions will not happen overnight. I truly wish that I were
the career fairy and that I could wave a magic wand and make your
transition happen overnight. But the truth is that pursuing your dream
job will require effort and time. You might need to retrain, acquire new
skills or build a new network.
Again, have you done your
research? What sort of training is required and how long will it
take? What can you do in the meantime to get more exposure to the
field? Have you spoken to people currently doing this job and taken
their advice and recommendations on how to achieve it?
What to do now
If you have a dream job, I truly hope you think it’s worth exploring. Here are some ideas for what you can do now:
you decide you can’t pursue your dream job, there are other things you
can do to move towards a more desirable version of your career. Next
week’s blog will look at how you can use your dream job concept to
change your career for the better.
At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable. Christopher Reeve.
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