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Your Dream Job - Make it a Reality


Do 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…”

Although 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 positive adjectives.

When I ask them if they’ve ever done anything to explore the possibility, they start listing the buts again.
This 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

This 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 investigated. 

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 now enjoys.

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

The 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:

  • Do some research in the field: reach out to people and find out what it’s like, how they got there, what training is required, how they would recommend you explore further.
  • Visualise yourself doing the role: really put yourself in that position and engage with your emotions. How would it feel to really be doing your dream job?
  • Really work out your finances: what do you need to live on and who else is involved in the decision? Get the support of other family members.
  • If you’re really going to do this, make a plan.What is your first step?

If 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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