I would have to say that I’m in my dream job. I write this blog post from a hotel room in Pleasanton, California (near the San Francisco/Oakland area.) I had a speaking gig this morning where I was able to encourage a gym full of people to make their lives a little bit more fun an fulfilling. We sold prints and comic books featuring funny pictures I’ve drawn over the past six years. Kim and I will be able to spend the next few days in San Francisco, while collecting some footage for our new project, Escape Plan TV. I draw, write, talk (and travel) for a living. Certainly not a typical job by any standard. There’s a good chance it may not even be that appealing job to many people. But if I were asked what my ideal dream job would be, I’d have a hard time topping this one.
Sometimes people remark about how lucky I am to be in this position. Blessed, yes. But lucky? No.
I remember years ago when I worked for a car dealership while I was in high school and college. It was a pretty good job as far as flexibility goes. But I hated it. I hated sweating my butt off during the summer when I had to vacuum hot cars. I hated cleaning the yellow-filmed interior car windows of heavy smokers. I hated breathing car exhaust because the lazy mechanics wouldn’t always put the hoses on the tailpipes. I hated brushing the snow off the cars in the winter. I hated coming home dirty and smelling like oil. I hated having wet socks from washing cars all day. And I hated one of the shop foremen — he was a real jerk.
I remember working there one day when I made a promise to myself. I decided that no matter what, I was not going to get stuck in a dead-end job I couldn’t stand. I was going to make something of myself. I was going to finish school, chase my dreams, and never give up, no matter how hard it would be.
Well, so far, it’s been a LOT harder than I though it would be. Kim and I have made a lot of sacrifices (a kindergarten teaching salary does not go as far as one might think.) We’ve gone through a lot of air conditionless summers. (Thank God heat is included in our rent!) And I’ll never forget the slew of disappointing craft shows where we unsuccessfully hawked some of the very same prints that now sell like hotcakes at my speaking gigs. (One particular show in Milwaukee cost us over $250 in fees and expenses, and we sold a grand total of three greeting cards in two days. That was good for a whopping $7.92 in revenue. Take that, Trump!)
So what is the point of this long-winded tale? The point is that finding your dream job is more about making choices and being persistent than it is about waiting for the perfect opportunity to fall in your lap. It’s about evaluating your talents, dreaming big, following your heart, and trusting God to guide your path.
Are you in your dream job? If so, I applaud you. But you are in the minority. According to a CareerBuilder.com survey released on January 25th, more than four out of five U.S. workers are still searching for their dream job. One way to begin the search is to look back at your own childhood. I find the comments by one of the CareerBuilder.com representatives interesting:
“What defines a dream job is surprisingly reminiscent of childhood wishes for many workers,” said Richard Castellini, vice president of consumer marketing at CareerBuilder.com. “Workers said they want to enjoy their work experience, apply their talents and feel like they’re making an impact. Having fun at work was the most important attribute of a dream job for 39 percent of workers, which heavily outweighed the 12 percent who said salary was most important.”
Salary was one of the least important factors in determining a dream job. Money ranked third (12 percent) compared to having fun at work (39 percent) which topped the list, followed by making a difference in society (17 percent).
I have been accused of being an idealist, but I can’t help but wonder what our country would look like if EVERYONE was in their dream job. Heck, I’d like to see the effects of even three out of five folks working at their dream job! Are you one of those people who think that it would be impossible for everyone to be in their dream job? Wouldn’t everyone want to be Donald Trump, or Oprah, or a movie star? I’m not so sure about that. (Keep in mind that across all professions in the survey, police and firefighters reported the highest incidence of feeling they have their dream jobs (35 percent), followed closely by teachers (32 percent.) Everyone I know has such a unique mix of skills and interests and passions that I like to think that somehow, everyone would fill a specific need and there’d be plenty of dream jobs to go around.
So what about you? Are you in your dream job? If not, what would it be?
Tony D. Clark says
Great stuff, Jason – as usual. I’m fortunate to be in my dream job (jobs?) too. Drawing pictures, writing, and talking people into following their dreams is a great gig, if you can get it. :)
I spent yesterday morning at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys. I can bet that most of the trainers working there love their jobs. You can tell by how they interacted with the dolphins. They did everything with so much joy and enthusiasm. My mom even commented on how the trainers seemed to love what they were doing! You don’t come across that very often.
Maybe I’m just horribly lazy, but dream and job aren’t two words I often put together. I usually dream I was wealthy without having to work for it.
On the other hand, I suppose if I could get paid to fish every day, I’d take that job. If nothing else, I guess my family wouldn’t starve.
Glad to hear there’s at least one other person in the world who is in their dream job. I always knew I’d do something with art, but I’m glad I didn’t settle for a standard staff job designing newsletters or web sites. A little imagination and faith helped me find something that incorporates a good number of my talents.
I bet you’re right that all of those dolphin trainers love their jobs. It’s also interesting to note that a job like that most likely required quite a bit of schooling and effort. I (and I would imagine many people), often forget all of the hard work and sacrifice that goes into a job that looks so fun on the surface. I guess that just underlines the idea that dream jobs don’t just land in your lap.
I can’t attest to your laziness (is your wife available for comment? ;) ) However, every time I flip through cable on a Saturday, it seems like there are quite a few people getting paid to fish every day. Not exactly sure how one gets that gig, though…
I would have to point to my husband as someone who is in his dream job. As you know, we own a men’s clothing store, which I’m sure would be pretty far down on most people’s lists of fun jobs. But he enjoys himself so much and is so great to watch on the selling floor as he shows someone (quite likely a guy dragged in by his wife) how good he’s going to look and how many compliments he’s going to get. Before you know it, the guy is getting into it and having as good a time as Jim. The drawback to him loving his job so much is that I’ll never get him to retire ;) Also, our younger son, who’s in college, was supposed to say who his hero was for a particular class. He said he couldn’t think of anyone so the professor had him list what qualities would define a hero. Jake said after he did that, “I decided Dad was my hero, because he started with nothing and worked hard and has made a great life for himself that he’s really happy with.” Which makes for the biggest and best dream job; that of a parent who’s appreciated and loved.
Well said, Marilyn. Great perspective!
Lisa B. says
I am definitely in my dream job, and I created it myself, which is the best kind!
I was accused once of being an elitist for saying that everyone should have a job they love. For people who have language barriers, disabilities, lack of skills, etc., it might be hard to get those dream jobs, because they have fewer opportunities available to them. I understand that point of view.
But I still believe that “taking what you can get” doesn’t have to be a permanent way of life, if you’re willing/able to do the work and make the sacrifices that are necessary to EVENTUALLY have your dream job. In fact, I know several people with developmental disabilities who are making their dream jobs reality.
Lisa, you make a great point. I don’t think that believing everyone should have a job they love is elitist at all! In fact, if somebody believes that someone else can’t be in a job they love because they have language barriers, disabilities, or lack of skills…well, I’d say that person is an elitist!
I’m in my dream job(s) as well — combination of self-employed sign language interpreter & working for Kim & Jason here & there – what can be better?! I love it! But I have to point to my dad as my first source of inspiration on this, my dad is a farmer – always was, always will be – and loved it! Never regretted it a day, even though there were many a days he would have rather not had to go outside in the subzero weather to make sure the livestock were taken care of, water mains frozen, etc. That was part of the dream job – it wasn’t easy, but my dad wouldn’t trade a lifetime to do it different. He always says ‘do something you love, regardless of how much money you make.’ Now, he didn’t mean to not make a living to support yourself/family, but at the same time, if anyone understands the challenges of living your dream & persisting at it, my dad falls at the top of the category with Kim & Jason.
I have rarely talked to a person who didn’t want to have fun and enjoy their job – only people who didn’t believe it was possible.
I am now searching for new options and careers myself. Above all, I started my own blog to fight the overwhelming negativity I see around me. Thanks for your clear and thoughtful articles. Keep them up!
Good point, Shirley. It seems as though people are awfully quick to point out what’s NOT possible, forgetting that the people who made the most impact on human history focused on what IS possible.
Nice blog, too!
Hi, I’m still looking for my dream job. I’m a lawyer with a passion for (and qualifications and experience in) Natural Health and Holistic Beauty therapy. My CV obviously doesnt fit in anywhere because I want to do the two togethher somehow.
I guess I’ll have to create my dream job and run my empire with anyone interested in sharing my dreams. Phew!