Step 3: Take the “dream” out of “dream job”

Earlier, I quoted the maxim: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. There are a few variations of this quote out there, the most common being: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Although the intent is still there, in my opinion, this variation has lost the most important element of the original message: The word: “job”. You could love the field you’re in, but hate the job you have. Unfortunately, many of us are driven into directing frustration towards our field of work, rather than the job that drove us there.

We need to take a step back and remember why we chose this career. Where did we dream of being? What did we dream of doing? Maybe the job you really want is right there in the company you already work for. It could be a shift in the projects you’re assigned to, a promotion to higher profile work, or a whole new position entirely. The perfect job could be waiting for you at the company down the road, or across the ocean on a whole other continent. The point is, without aiming high and having a specific job in mind (and actually believing you can achieve it), you’ll just continue to spread yourself thin across broad goals that lead you nowhere.

Why do we insist on seeing our dream job as only a dream? Why does it feel so out of reach and intimidating? Well, my theory is: because all jobs require some level of experience; experience in the work you will only be doing once you actually get the job; experience you almost never have due to a lack of overlap in the work you do at your current job. It’s a tricky “chicken and egg” situation, and is why so many of us tend to stagnate on the technologies and domains we started with at our first job. So how do we break from this stagnation? Get back to programming for fun! Your aim should be to eventually land a job doing what you love, and a good indicator of whether you will actually love the job is to see how motivated you are to do it after hours.

Jobs are real, and they exist to be filled. Nobody has ever been turned down for a job because they were perfect for it. The trick is to find a job that will be a perfect fit for you, then get to work on making yourself perfectly fit for it.

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