The Perfect Career? Why There’s No Such Thing as a Dream Job

sign board saying 'Dream Job This Way'
Dream job don’t exist. | iStock/Getty Images

After graduating from college, you may have had high hopes of finding the perfect job. You’ve probably heard friends and acquaintances brag about how dreamy their jobs were and how they can’t believe they’re getting paid to do what they do. You wanted what they had, so you embarked on a search for your own perfect job. However, your hopes were quickly dashed after working at a series of crappy jobs and dealing with one too many horrible bosses. A job may seem perfect in the beginning, but that feeling usually doesn’t last long. Here’s why there’s no such thing as a dream job.

Your job satisfaction is up to you

A job is what you make it. It can be a truly miserable experience, it can be just OK, or it can eventually turn into a dream job. It’s all about your attitude. You can make small changes to make your job as close to a dream job as possible, but it will take some effort.
Career expert Allison Chesteron says we are each authors of our careers. It’s up to you to carve out a satisfying career path. She had this to say on her blog:

A “dream job” sounds like a fantasy. It belies the true messiness, the yearning to wander, the serendipitous nature of what it means to author a career. The term seeks to tie all the frayed ends up in a perfect little bow, failing to acknowledge what it means to take your future into your own hands and create it from scratch. It’s a fatuous term that doesn’t belong in the lexicon of career discovery and job search. It’s a fallacy. Don’t let it fool you.

All jobs have flaws

Female worker with hands covering face
Nobody’s perfect. | Thinkstock

There are no perfect jobs because there are no perfect people. You’ll encounter people from time to time who will make your workday miserable. They may even make you question your chosen field. You aren’t perfect either. Your feelings about your work will likely change from day to day and from week to week. These feelings can (and often do) color the way you view your job.
Dr. Alex Lickerman, Psychology Today contributor and founder and CEO of ImagineMD, said our imperfection is the reason why our jobs will never be ideal. “The real reason no job can ever be perfect is because we won’t ever be perfect,” Lickerman said. “We’ll always have a constantly shifting life condition that makes today seem awful even though yesterday we felt great doing the exact same thing; we’ll always keep making new mistakes; we’ll always on occasion fail in a big way; and we’ll never be able avoid having others dislike our work.”
There will always be something wrong no matter where you work. So if you’re job hopping in search of the perfect job, you’ll never find it. Once you let go of the idea that there is a perfect job out there, you’ll be able to find happiness at work or at least be somewhat satisfied.

You’re setting yourself up for disappointment

Unhappy man at work
Lower your expectations from perfection. | iStock/Getty Images

Holding on to the idea that you will one day find your dream job is a quick way to set yourself up for disappointment. You’ll never be happy if you continue to believe this. Instead, you’ll be tired, frustrated, and bitter. And these feelings will eventually become evident when you go on job interviews, further diminishing your chances of finding the right job.

You’ll miss out on opportunities

Man climbing stairs
You never know what the future holds. | Thinkstock

Putting your happiness on hold until you find the perfect job will also cause you to become overly focused on the future. Consequently, you could miss out on good opportunities right now. Maria Tomaino, job search strategist and associate director of alumni career development at Florida International University, said focusing too much time and energy on the future is almost as bad as living in the past. It’s just as important to focus on your current moves.

There’s no such thing as a dream job. The mentality of ‘if I was just doing ___, then I’ll be happy’ is not only untrue, but dangerous thinking. Why? Because it’s a hypothetical. It lives in the future. It’s not reality. That’s a lot of pressure that you are putting on yourself. That’s a lot of power you are putting into a job. It’s precarious thinking; always looking to the future and not being in the present. It puts our blinders up: To think the only path is that “dream job” path and makes us miss other opportunities that come our way.

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