A lot of people, when they think of their dream jobs, imagine some half-thought-out fantasies that involve them lounging around on a beach drinking Pina coladas for most of the day, and then spending a bit of time teaching a surfing class, or checking in with their remote business empire via their laptops, before getting back to the party again.
Everyone should take steps to work towards their dream job. And for that matter, to discover what their dream job might be via an ongoing process of trial and error. But that doesn’t mean that you should be naïve about things.
When you’re looking for your dream job, it’s important to ask yourself certain relevant questions. If you were a registered nurse, for example, and were planning your future. Would you be happy staying in your current role, or would you prefer to become a family nurse practitioner?
Here are a few of the sorts of questions you should ask yourself, on your quest to find your dream job.
Could you fall in love with the work itself, and not just the results?
A dangerous mistake to make when thinking of your “dream job” is to visualize the results and benefits of the work, and fall in love with those, without taking into consideration the nature of the work itself.
When all is said and done, however, money is unlikely to bring you happiness or satisfaction if it comes at the cost of you spending the majority of your waking hours doing something that you more or less hate.
The first question to ask yourself when wondering whether a certain career path could lead you to your dream job is, “could I fall in love with the work itself, or might I just interested in the results?”
Does the job “scale” well?
It’s one thing to think that a job seems meaningful, interesting, and potentially fulfilling in the here and now. But if you’re considering what your “dream job” would be, you also need to consider how your job develops your skills across time.
When assessing a particular career path, ask yourself whether there’s enough of a ladder to climb there for you to keep increasing your level of responsibility, and your pay grade, over the years—or not.
If your would-be career of choice caps out at a pay level that you couldn’t ever be content with, that’s not a great sign.
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Does the job expand your options in different areas?
Here’s a useful thing to realize about “dream jobs”; you’re very unlikely to enter a particular job role in your youth, find that it’s the perfect fit for you, and stick with it for your entire life.
What actually happens, if you’re motivated, is that you keep amassing skills, exploring new and parallel job roles until you find one that is a good fit for you.
An ideal “dream job” should therefore be one which expands your skill set and maximizes your options in different areas, so that you can always expand laterally in your professional development, down the line.
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