It was a random night this month when I realized “my truth.” I had spent the last two years of my life drudging it out at my corporate 9-6 job wondering when my life would begin. People in power (if we want to go Marxist) or perhaps our well-meaning but coddling Baby-Boomer parents had always told us to go after our dreams. The future of the world depends on those bold enough to pursue their dreams! Or something like that.
Earlier this month I had an interview for a job in an industry that I love. I had always told myself I would stay in Los Angeles if I got a job in this particular industry. Because I would be happy then. My life would start then. Finally my social and work lives would mesh; I wouldn’t be lonely. I would never be without Pelligrino, thanks to the forward-thinking millennial office manager who would stock the fridge at my new corporate home. And it goes on.
And then it hit me. I don’t know if it was a result of setting foot in the building and – by contrast – seeing how much my current place of employment offers me, or if it was an unrelated epiphany, but that night the thought crawled ever so slowly into the conscious part of my mind:
Maybe, just maybe, there is no such thing as a “dream job.”
At first, it feels strangely blasphemous to think along those lines, but soon the idea becomes comforting. Even thrilling.
Heard of Seth Godin? He’s a bespectacled bald man and a prolific writer on all things business and marketing. If you’ve read any of The Icarus Deception (which came out this month), you’ll know that Godin’s work is about you turning what you do into art, no matter what it is. If you are an office manager (ahem), the way you interact with guests or colleagues or superiors or subordinates is in itself a creative act. Fix problems before they show up. Take pride in what you do. Make art. Maybe you can’t get paid for what you love, and that’s a good thing.
It took me two years to feel comfortable where I am professionally. And now that I’m here, I can definitively say that this job and its challenges have been incredible blessings. And I’m still sitting here, butt firmly in chair, and it’s not my dream job.
Millennials want to think it’s for our benefit that we live in a society progressive enough to encourage us to pursue our dream jobs, but ultimately we’ve kind of been sold on the “dream job,” no? If the thing selling it is worth its weight, we should be able to exchange our concept of the “dream job” for something that – ironically – will weigh less on all our minds.